Democracy as Culture

Deweyan Pragmatism in a Globalizing World

Edited by Sor-hoon Tan & John Whalen-Bridge

Subjects: Philosophy, Political Science, Political Philosophy, Asian Religion And Philosophy, Education, Philosophy Of Education
Paperback : 9780791475881, 232 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475874, 232 pages, November 2008

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Table of contents

On Richard Rorty
Bruce Robbins
1. Introduction—Pragmatism’s Passport: Dewey, Democracy, and Globalization
Sor-hoon Tan and John Whalen-Bridge
I. Universalizing Democracy Pragmatically
2. The Genesis of Democratic Norms: Some Insights from Classical Pragmatism
Larry A. Hickman
3. Reconstructing ‘Culture’—A Deweyan Response to Antidemocratic Culturalism
Sor-hoon Tan
II. Imposing Democracy
4. Globalizing Democracy—A Deweyan Critique of Bush’s Second-Term National Security Strategy
Sun Youzhong
5. Can Democratic Inquiry Be Exported? Dewey and the Globalization of Education
James Scott Johnston
6. Jane Addams: Pragmatist-Feminist Democracy in a Global Context
Judy D. Whipps
7. War Without Belief—On Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America
Bruce Robbins
III. De-centering Dewey
8. Dewey’s Difficult Recovery, Analytic Philosophy’s Attempted Turn
John Holbo
9. Descartes, Dewey, and Democracy
Cecilia Wee
10. Nonduality and Aesthetic Experience—Dewey’s Theory and Johnson’s Practice
John Whalen-Bridge
11. When Dewey’s Confucian Admirer Meets His Liberal Critic—Liang Shuming and Eammon Callan on John Dewey’s Democracy and Education
Jessica Ching-Sze Wang
12. Tang Junyi and the Very ‘Idea’ of Confucian Democracy
Roger T. Ames
Works Cited
List of Contributors

Explores the significance of Dewey’s thought on democracy for the contemporary world.


Using a multidisciplinary approach, contributors to this volume explore the significance of John Dewey's Pragmatism for the contemporary world. They examine such issues as whether Classical Pragmatism justifies global democracy, whether Dewey's idea of democracy—so intimately linked to American culture—has any relevance for other cultures, and whether democracy can take other forms than those found in Europe and America. Contributors focus on Dewey's cross-cultural experience and affinities with Descartes and modern Neo-Confucians to provide a glimpse of how Dewey's influence outside America has stimulated other cultures, heralding a new stage in the growth of Pragmatism.

At the National University of Singapore, Sor-hoon Tan is Associate Professor of Philosophy, and John Whalen-Bridge is Associate Professor of English Language and Literature. Tan is the author of Confucian Democracy: A Deweyan Reconstruction, also published by SUNY Press, and editor of Challenging Citizenship: Group Membership and Cultural Identity in a Global Age. Whalen-Bridge is the author of Political Fiction and the American Self.


"It is high time, the editors suggest, that we stop bundling democracy with Western political systems in the way that Explorer has been automatically bundled with the Windows operating system. There is much valuable material in this book to aid the project of reconstructing democracy as an open-source conception—a conception applicable in many cultural architectures to guide the realization of a better quality community." — J. E. Tiles, author of Dewey

"This book as a whole exhibits the fresh thinking Dewey called 'experimental intelligence': exploratory not dogmatic, boldly imaginative not clichéd, constructive not nugatory." — George Allan, author of Higher Education in the Making: Pragmatism, Whitehead, and the Canon