By David Hildebrand
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Extra info for Dewey : a beginner's guide
Since knowledge is the spell that can take us beyond the world of sense and illusion, it must be more than illusion itself. Knowledge conveys our minds to the really real, and so it too must be really real. ‘The commonest assumption of philosophies’, Dewey writes, common even to philosophies very different from one another, is the assumption of the identity of objects of knowledge and ultimately real objects. qxp 4/21/2008 2:43 PM Page 46 46 Dewey: A Beginner’s Guide usually not expressed; it is taken for granted as something so fundamental that it does not need to be stated.
T]he “stimulus” emerges out of this coordination; it is born from it as its matrix; it represents as it were an escape from it’ (EW5:100). qxp 4/21/2008 2:45 PM Page 17 Experience 17 an act. It is not just a ‘reaching’ but a reaching-guided-by-seeing. These acts take place in and because of an environment, which contains the problems and surprises that spur us to grow. As every non-specialist knows, once burned, the child never sees the candlelight the same way again. He is changed by the experience and therefore never experiences the exact same stimulus again.
A bitter taste), this bitterness exists as it exists only given a slew of ‘fringe’ conditions: what I have just been eating, what I expected to taste, etc. Such fringes of feeling are indispensable guides to how we characterize our more prominent perceptions and even how to act. Third, perception is never simply the mind’s instantaneous, passive apprehension of stimulus. Perceiving is an activity undertaken by an organism already functioning with sensory-motor coordination. A new sight (sound, taste) is encountered by a living creature involved in the give-and-take of life; therefore, when it directs attention to this new portion of its sensory field, it acts not merely to receive, but to adjust.