If Ideas Had Shapes

A quoteblog ranging from philosophers in bathrobes to galaxy-rises

Tag: john dewey

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

…the best thinking occurs when the easy and the difficult are duly proportioned to each other. … Too much that is easy gives no ground for inquiry; too much of the hard renders inquiry hopeless.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

To be playful and serious at the same time is possible, and it defines the ideal mental condition.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

The working over of a vague and more or less casual idea into coherent and definite form is impossible without a pause, without freedom from distraction. We say ‘Stop and think’; well, all reflection involves, at some point, stopping external observations and reactions so that an idea may mature.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

All thinking—so be it is thinking—contains a phase of originality. This originality does not imply that the student’s conclusion varies from the conclusions of others, much less that it is a radically novel conclusion. His originality is not incompatible with large use of materials and suggestions contributed by others. Originality means personal interest in the question, personal initiative in turning over the suggestions furnished by others, and sincerity in following them out to a tested conclusion. Literally, the phrase “Think for yourself” is tautological; any thinking is thinking for one’s self.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

For teacher or book to cram pupils with facts which, with little more trouble, they could discover by direct inquiry is to violate their intellectual integrity by cultivating mental servility.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

Insistence upon avoiding error instead of attaining power tends also to interruption of continuous discourse and thought. Children who begin with something to say and with intellectual eagerness to say it are sometimes made so conscious of minor errors in substance and form that the energy that should go into constructive thinking is diverted into anxiety not to make mistakes, and even, in extreme cases, into passive quiescence as the best method of minimizing error.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

…adults and children alike are capable of using even precise verbal formulae with only the vaguest and most confused sense of what they mean.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

When it is said, however, that thinking is impossible without language, we must recall that language includes much more than oral and written speech. Gestures, pictures, monuments, visual images, finger movements—anything consciously employed as a sign is, logically, language.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

That the elementary curriculum is overloaded is a common complaint.

John Dewey – How We Think (1910)

Truly practical men give their minds free play about a subject without asking too closely at every point for the advantage to be gained; exclusive preoccupation with matters of use and application so narrows the horizon as in the long run to defeat itself.