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In this program, world-renowned author and professor Bryan Magee and Columbia University professor Sidney Morgenbesser discuss the nuances of pragmatic philosophy as expressed by three of America’s finest thinkers. Morgenbesser examines Peirce’s theory of meaning and the concept of fallibilism that supports the changing nature of truth. James’s concept of meaning, knowledge, and truth is examined within the context of the usefulness of particular conceptual schemes. The discussion of Dewey focuses on the human quest for warranted beliefs, and his philosophy of education—a bottom-up approach that bases instruction on a child’s real problems and experiences.
Dewey earned a philosophy PhD. at Johns Hopkins and taught at the University of Michigan. His wife encouraged his interest in social justice, and he developed a pragmatic notion of truth, influenced by William James's doctrine that beliefs are habits.