Individual and Education in John Dewey


  • Teodora Pezzano


After the fundamental essay of 1886 Soul and Body, in which Dewey affirms that there is continuity between body and soul and a specific dualism does not exist -as he demonstrated since the first publications on Materialism and Spinoza- the philosopher questions himself concerning democracy in the essay The Ethics of Democracy of 1888, which represents the presupposition to understand Democracy and Education of 1916.
In this essay, Dewey affirms that the development is of the individual must have an ethical space to realize himself/herself. The individual is an expression of social development, then, he/she is a social organism, who tends, in a platonic way, to the construction of Goodness.
But, Maine’s theory denies a fundamental concept, which is central for Dewey: the concept of organism. The significance of organism is intercourse and exchange. For Dewey, as for Plato, democracy must be a harmonic community based on justice, and on the relation between the individual and the state, in such a way adapting the individual in an organic way to the state.
This essay, in my opinion, is the presupposition of Democracy and Education, in particular referring to chapter IX, Natural Development and Social Efficiency as Aims. Democracy is a way of life, which develops through the individual who must be considered as a social organism within a specific ethical space.



How to Cite

Pezzano, T. (2017). Individual and Education in John Dewey. Formazione & Insegnamento, 15(1), 47–56. Retrieved from