Dialectical vs. Experimental Method: Marcuse's Review of Dewey's Logic: The Theory of Inquiry

Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 46 (2):242 (2010)
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This introduction contextualizes and evaluates Herbert Marcuse’s the accompanying, previously untranslated review of John Dewey’s Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. Marcuse’s critique of pragmatism is indebted to Max Horkheimer’s claim that pragmatism is an example of “traditional” theory and reduces thought to mere instrument in service of external ends. Unlike Horkheimer, Marcuse concedes that Dewey, unlike the logical positivists, attempted to develop a material logic of ends. However, he concludes that the attempt was ultimately unsuccessful. I place this conclusion in the context of Marcuse’s critique of technological reason. Lastly, I defend Dewey from the charge of crude instrumentalism and delineate Marcuse’s and Dewey’s critical disagreement on science’s capacity for self-reflection.

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Phillip Deen
University of New Hampshire, Manchester


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