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(born Oct. 20, 1859, Burlington, Vt., U.S.died June 1, 1952, New York, N.Y.) U.S. philosopher and educator who was one of the founders of pragmatism, a pioneer in functional psychology, and a leader of the Progressive movement in U.S. education. He received a Ph.D. (1884) from Johns Hopkins University and taught 10 years at the University of Michigan before moving to the University of Chicago. Influenced by G. Stanley Hall and William James, he developed an instrumentalist theory of knowledge that conceived of ideas as tools for the solution of problems encountered in the environment. Believing the experimental methods of modern science provided the most promising approach to social and ethical problems, he applied this view to studies of democracy and liberalism. He asserted that democracy provided citizens with the opportunity for maximum experimentation and personal growth. His writings on education, notably (1899) and (1902), emphasized the interests of the child and the use of the classroom to cultivate the interplay between thought and experience. At Chicago he created laboratory schools to test his theories. His work in psychology focused on the total organism in its efforts to adjust to the environment. In 1904 Dewey joined the Columbia University faculty. In 1925 he published his magnum opus,
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