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ERIC Number: ED187627
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
John Dewey and the Problem of Authority.
Cassidy, Keith M.
The ideas of John Dewey illustrate the American conflict between democratic principles and authority. Dewey denied opposition between freedom and authority and suggested that the issue was the union of the two principles. He defined authority as stability of social organization which gives direction and support to individuals. For Dewey, any new system of authority had to be voluntary and cooperative, internal to the individual, and not imposed on him. He suggested that the search for a new kind of authority should be modeled after the field of science. An examination of Dewey's educational philosophy reflects the difficulty of his theory. Dewey rejected both the internalization of moral absolutes and the teaching of automatic subordination to bureaucratic control. The role of the school, however, was to manipulate the child to ensure a uniformity of outlook and a widely accepted authority. The school was to function as an instrument of social change and the teacher as a social engineer. He assumed the superiority of his standards to those of parents. While the sincerity of Dewey's devotion to democracy is obvious, it must be pointed out that while he calls for teacher participation in educational decision making, he does not devote equal time to the public's right to control the schools. In conclusion, despite his efforts to transcend the conflicts of the American tradition, the conflicts were evident in his work. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A