Below is a quickly drafted introduction to what will be my first book. One thing I learned from my dissertation defense and subsequent journal articles is that I need to reframe the entire project, and do so within invoking phenomenology at the outset. I have spent months doing so on this blog.
John Dewey’s theory of valuation is inseparable from his theory of experience. This is a point often missed, and even when captured, its ramifications deserve more consideration from scholars. We human creatures value first and consciously experience second, yet we mistakenly believe the reverse—that the reflect first and value second. This is an instance of the psychologist’s or philosopher’s fallacy, wherein one reverses a natural history and takes its outcome as most real, certain, stable, etc. Dewey dealt frequently with this problem, but his work is insufficient, in part because of his characteristic unwillingness to theorize on the darker aspects of this theory. Some defend Dewey by pointing to his awareness of the problems, but neither Dewey’s awareness nor scholarly reminders are sufficient to solve the lingering problems.
I propose to elucidate and begin resolving the problems not for the sake of historic Dewey scholarship or from a sense of “saving the Master,” but towards the aim of systematizing a basis from which to launch neoDeweyan scholarship that traces its roots in the now quiescent discourse on the intersection of pragmatism, phenomenology, and valuation that roared in the 70s and 80s.