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The Making of Modern Liberalism$
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Alan Ryan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148403

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.001.0001

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Staunchly Modern, Nonbourgeois Liberalism

Staunchly Modern, Nonbourgeois Liberalism

(p.456) 23 Staunchly Modern, Nonbourgeois Liberalism
The Making of Modern Liberalism

Alan Ryan

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines John Dewey's liberalism, arguing that his social and political theory expressed the self-understanding of modern society—“modern” being no more precise in its denotation than “postmodernist,” but certainly meaning at different times both the society that lived off and built on the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century and the society that came into existence with the capitalist Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. After expounding on Dewey's views on the demands of modernity, the chapter considers his belief in the need for industrial democracy as a complement to political democracy. It also discusses postmodernist bourgeois liberalism, Dewey's views on idealism and naturalism, his Democracy and Education and its references to freedom and equality, and the impact of World War I on Dewey's poise. Finally, it describes Dewey's non-Marxian radicalism and argues that Dewey was a philosopher rather than a political activist.

Keywords:   liberalism, John Dewey, political theory, modernity, democracy, bourgeois liberalism, idealism, naturalism, Democracy and Education, non-Marxian radicalism

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