McClay May From all appearances, it is now back in style to be critical of American individualism. Indeed, that critique has never gone entirely out of style, and for very good reasons. But views on these matters also seem to follow cycles which, if not of Schlesingerian predictability, are nevertheless fairly regular; and for the past three decades the language of individual rights, entitlements, and self-realization has nearly always prevailed in the field of public discourse. This is not always easy to do.
For this line of criticism, classical liberalism envisages the individual as an independent entity in competition with other individuals, and takes social and political life as a sphere in which this competitive pursuit of self-interest is coordinated. By contrast, the Idealists rejected The ideal societies of edward bellamy jane addams essay view of social and political life as the aggregation of inherently conflicting private interests.
Instead, they sought to view individuals relationally: Freedom in a positive sense consisted not merely in the absence of external constraints but the positive fact of participation in such an ethically desirable social order. While it is important that voters can reject their rulers and so control them to some extent, democracy is not simply a form of government defined by the distribution of the franchise or majority rule.
Rather what matters, as Dewey puts it, is the way that the majority is formed. Democracy is a form of moral and spiritual association that recognizes the contribution that each member can make in his or her particular way to this ethical community.
And each of us can contribute to this community since we each only become the individuals we are through our engagement in the institutions and practices of our society.
Other important themes also appear in these early statements. Through democracy in this expansive and ideal sense, the incarnation of God in man … becomes a living, present thing … The truth is brought down to life, its segregation removed; it is made a common trust enacted in all departments of action, not in one isolated sphere called religious.
The goal of an inquiry is not to arrive at a certain picture of the nature of things, but to come up with an inevitably provisional solution to the practical and intellectual problem that sparked it — to resolve problematic situations.
Inquiry should be understood as part of our struggle with an objectively precarious but improvable environment.
These challenges prompt us to step back, identify the problem we are confronted with, and reflect on what to do next. Modern societies have an awesome exemplar of successful inquiry, in the natural sciences which, Dewey argues, have been progressive and cumulative, giving us greater and greater understanding and control of the natural world.
This has above all been the result of their experimental character, in which no intellectual element is taken to be beyond rational scrutiny. Theories and hypotheses are invented, used, tested, revised, and so on.
At the same time, new methods for the invention, use, testing and revision of theories and hypotheses are developed and refined, and so are new standards for evaluating theories and hypotheses. In this way, the methods used by science are not fixed but themselves have a history and develop progressively and sometimes in unexpected ways.
A crucial dimension of the experience that has established these standards and practices is social or communal, as we must look to the community of our fellow inquirers for testing and confirmation of our findings. Accordingly he rejects non-cognitivism about values and holds that values can be true or false in his pragmatic sense, responsive to reasons and corrigible in the light of experience.
Practical inquiry encompasses instrumental reasoning about means: But it also includes reflective criticism of ends: Inquiry as practical judgment involves reflecting on, and revising our ends, in the light of what is involved for us in achieving them, and this often leads us creatively to transform our values and to develop new ends.
Moral theories are generated in contingent historical circumstances, are responsive to the particular needs and conflicts of those circumstances, and reflect their prejudices and assumption. Ideas that were functional for a particular social order can cease to make sense or become dysfunctional as that order changes.
Mistaking contingent social products for unchangeable features of human nature or psychology is one of the core occupational hazards of moral philosophers. Rather, he sees it as as a repertoire of conceptual resources and tools that we have for dealing with the problems of value judgement in a world of plural and changing values.
In Ethics, Dewey and James H. Tufts offer an interpretation of different canonical value theories, teleology, deontology and virtue ethics as providing contrasting methodological orientations for identifying, describing and solving problems.
Instead, these provide standpoints from which agents can identify and analyze problems, sift important from unimportant considerations, and appraise our raw preferences and alternative plans of action. Reconstructing Liberalism Values, Dewey suggests, can be viewed as constructs to solve practical problems.
Like an outmoded piece of technology, a past value which was once constructed to address a problem in one set of circumstances can outlive its usefulness, and become a hindrance to the capacity of those in the present to deal with their practical needs and worries.
This, Dewey believes, is the case with values of classical liberalism. He develops this thought in discussing the relation of individual and society, the character and value of freedom, and the scope of legitimate social and political action.
This is the tendency to divide up experienced phenomena, and to take the distinct analysed elements to be separate existences, independent both of the analysis and of each other. Instead, he argues, a genuine: It is something achieved, and achieved not in isolation but with the aid and support of conditions, cultural and physical: If the individual is thought of as existing prior to social institutions, then it is easier to envisage securing freedom for the individual in purely negative terms as solely consisting in the removal of external impediments on individual action, such as legal restrictions on freedom of speech.
By contrast, Dewey argues that, while removal of external constraints may often be important for supplying the conditions of liberty, liberty in the sense in which it is a value for liberals does not consist in the mere absence of external constraint. The first point is that freedom is held to consist in the capacity and willingness on the part of a person to reflect on her or his own goals, aims and projects, and to revise them as a result of this reflection.
This is not a matter of arbitrarily or whimsically plumping for one option rather than another, for Dewey. Rather, choice that is expressive of individuality in the strong sense involves intelligent criticism of options.The more communitarian outlook suggested by Bellamy and Ward reached a culmination of sorts in the first two decades of the twentieth century, especially in the social vision of Progressive writers like Herbert Croly, Jane Addams, and John Dewey.
Jane Addams Religious movement that advocated the application of Christian teachings to social and economic problems. The ideals of the ______ inspired many progressive reformers. The Ideal Societies of Edward Bellamy & Jane Addams. The search for the ideal society. Over the course of our collective history, so many philosophers, sociologists, political analysts, and other great thinkers have dreamed of the perfect social order that would address the problems and issues that have plague every society since man’s earliest .
Rule Of Law Essay The rule of law initially seems a simple and straightforward idea, concisely articulated by Aristotle in his view that the laws, not men, should rule in a well-ordered polity. This aspirational prescription for good government unites thinking about the rule of law from the ancient Greeks down to contemporary theorists.
Jane Addams opens Hull-House. Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, The ideal of reform, in short, is the attainment of zero" (p. 30). Redirecting the energies of the public reform movements that began with Reconstruction and later fueled progressivism, Brooks argued that the only serious approach to society is the personal.
Advent of Industrialization Essay Words | 5 Pages The advent of industrialization in the early nineteenth-century had wide reaching impacts on economics, politics, society and demographics.