Dewey on language

elements for a non-dualistic approach

Roberta Dreon

This paper reconstructs the merits of John Dewey’s conception of language by viewing it within the context of communication as the act of making something in common, as social and instrumental action. It shows that on the one hand this approach allows us to avoid the problems of the linguistic turn: the self-entanglement of language, the overemphasizing of language at the expense of the plurality of our world experiences, and the unquestioned, but sterile, supremacy of interpretation. On the other hand, the paper supports the thesis that Dewey’s perspective on language does not produce a new form of foundationalism – according to which language itself is founded on experience, liable to be independently designated – by providing some arguments to interpret the relationship between language and experience in non-contrastive ways. In particular, the essay suggests a non-dualistic interpretation of the distinction between immediate qualitative experience and language, that is knowing in actu, by arguing that language cannot be reduced to the ordered discourse of inquiry since it also structurally includes qualitative and aesthetic aspects.

Publication details

DOI: 10.4000/ejpap.309

Full citation:

Dreon, R. (2014). Dewey on language: elements for a non-dualistic approach. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 6 (2), pp. n/a.

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