In this article, we argue for the importance of the notion of conflict in John Dewey's philosophy. Indeed, many criticisms have been leveled against Dewey regarding his political philosophy and his philosophy of education based on the idea that he underestimated the conflict inherent in human affairs. These criticisms are compelling because they link the two sides—educational and political—of Dewey's philosophy. Critics simultaneously address their criticisms to one side vis-à-vis the adverse consequences caused as a result of the other side. In response to this analysis, we want to argue that conflict is indispensable for understanding the theory of inquiry and its validity in the search for knowledge as well as in confronting social and political tensions. In this way, we will first see the criticisms of Dewey's lack of emphasis on the notion of conflict in his philosophy. Then we will see how, in response to these criticisms, it is possible to determine three uses of conflict in Dewey's work. Finally, we will turn to the role that this notion can play in developing a pedagogy of compromise based on Dewey's educational philosophy. Thus, we hope to respond to criticisms of Dewey's work without discarding either side—educational or political—of his theorizing.

Project Muse URL


Available for download on Saturday, December 11, 2021