John Dewey's Radical Critique of the New Deal

21 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 2 Sep 2010

Date Written: 2010


John Dewey argued that the philosopher’s task was less to consider the problems of philosophers, and more to focus on the problems of men and women living in society. This paper will assess Dewey’s success in addressing the social problems confronting his society. In what ways was Dewey’s version of pragmatism, or what he called “instrumentalism,” a useful methodological approach for addressing the issues of his day? This analysis will consider Dewey’s political, methodological, and occasional writings during the period between the world wars, with an emphasis on Dewey’s critique of the New Deal. By placing Dewey’s method in its context, we will be better able to discern what aspects of his methodology are suitable for addressing the issues in contemporary society.

Keywords: John Dewey, New Deal, Pragmatism, Radical Liberalsim

Suggested Citation

O'Connor, Daniel J, John Dewey's Radical Critique of the New Deal (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

Daniel J O'Connor (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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