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DEWEY, ECOLOGY, AND EDUCATION: HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY DEBATES OVER DEWEY'S NATURALISM AND (TRANSACTIONAL) REALISM

Authors


DERON BOYLES is Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3977 Atlanta, GA 30302-3980; e-mail <dboyles@gsu.edu>. His primary areas of scholarship are school commercialism, epistemology, and pragmatism.

Abstract

In the early 1970s, Thomas Colwell argued for an “ecological basis [for] human community.” He suggested that “naturalistic transactionalism” was being put forward by some ecologists and some philosophers of education, but independently of each other. He suspected that ecologists were working on their own versions of naturalistic transactionalism independently of John Dewey. In this essay, Deron Boyles examines Colwell's central claim as well as his lament as a starting point for a larger inquiry into Dewey's thought. Boyles explores the following questions: First, was and is there a dearth of literature regarding Dewey as an ecological philosopher? Second, if a literature exists, what does it say? Should Dewey be seen as biocentric, anthropocentric, or something else entirely? Finally, of what importance are the terms and concepts in understanding and, as a result, determining Dewey's ecological thought in relation to education?

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