John Dewey and the Artful Life

Pragmatism, Aesthetics, and Morality

By (author) Scott R. Stroud

Hardback - £61.95

Publication date:

30 September 2011

Length of book:

240 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271050072

Aesthetic experience has had a long and contentious history in the Western intellectual tradition. Following Kant and Hegel, a human’s interaction with nature or art frequently has been conceptualized as separate from issues of practical activity or moral value. This book examines how art can be seen as a way of moral cultivation. Scott Stroud uses the thought of the American pragmatist John Dewey to argue that art and the aesthetic have a close connection to morality. Dewey gives us a way to reconceptualize our ideas of ends, means, and experience so as to locate the moral value of aesthetic experience in the experience of absorption itself, as well as in the experience of reflective attention evoked by an art object.

Scott Stroud’s fine volume is the most complete and wide-ranging treatment of Dewey’s aesthetics ever to appear. In the best pragmatist spirit, it uses its comprehensive scholarship to help us reconstruct not only art but many dimensions of our shared human experience.

—Crispin Sartwell, Dickinson College