October 7, 2012
John Dewey: “The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy”
John Dewey is seen as one of the early pioneers of the philosophy pragmatism. This philosophy models existence on the basis that the relationship between science and nature is dynamic rather than static. A static relationship refers to a relationship that is fixed, lacks motion or unchanging and a dynamic relationship is one that does change and grow. In his essay “The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy,” Dewey uses Charles Darwin’s scientific philosophy to further demonstrate the intellectual abilities of humans and how philosophies can change over time.
With the publication of Charles Darwin’s book, Origin of Species, came controversy between science and theology. Dewey states that theology was not the issue, rather it was science. The religious aspects from theology gave passionate feelings to the controversy but they did not incite it. Dewey writes, “Although the ideas that rose up like armed men against Darwinism owed their intensity to religious associations, their origin and meaning are to be sought in science and philosophy, not religion” (Dewey 40). In the above statement Dewey credits religion for bringing passion to arguments made by those against Darwinism, but the source of their arguments arose from science and philosophy. I believe Dewey credits religion for bringing passion to anti-Darwinist arguments to help further the beliefs of science and philosophy as being the origin of anti-Darwinist. By giving religious communities some credit Dewey acknowledges their issues with Darwinism and is able to focus his efforts on science and philosophy.
In his essay, “The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy,” Dewey articulates that before Darwinism the standard of knowledge was based on theology. The Greeks used nature to explain the existence of heaven and earth. Darwin dismisses this philosophy in his book Origin of Species. The experience within living...