Review: Dewey’s Liberalism and Social Action

Liberalism and Social Action (Great Books in Philosophy)
John Dewey

Ah John Dewey, oh voice of reasonable engagement with Hegel and logic. Why does no one talk about you much anymore? Perhaps because his view of government as a agent for the promotion of individual freedom and social good is too milk toast for today’s polarized political landscape?

Well, at the risk of sounding old fashioned, I will say that I think there is lot to be said for Dewey and his brand of pragmatism. Maybe we can blame Richard Posner on him, but I still think there is something there. This is the only book of his I have read, and frankly, it was a little while ago now. Maybe I should go back and revisit the guy, maybe we all should.

Recommended.

Review: Fichte’s Vocation of Man

The Vocation of Man (Hackett Classics)
Johann Gottlieb Fichte

A standard text in the world of undergraduate classes in European philosophy*, Fichte is a bridge of sorts between Kant and Hegel. If memory serves, we read this book not for its thoughts on the nature of faith, but for its use of the dialectic. My memory of this is vague, but the class I read it for was one of the most difficult of my undergraduate curriculum. This and the other troublesome Germans we read had a lot to do with that.

Not a major work, for pleasure reading or self-improvement, I think you’d be better off with some of the other Germans.

Not Recommended.

*by professors unconcerned with Fichte’s reputation for anti-Semitism, something I didn’t know about when I read this.