The Grace and the Severity of the Ideal
John Dewey and the Transcendent
Kestenbaum argues that to Dewey, the pragmatic struggle for ideal meaning occurs at the frontier of the visible and the invisible, the tangible and the intangible. Penetrating analyses of Dewey's early and later writings, as well as comparisons with the works of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Michael Oakeshott, and Wallace Stevens, shed new light on why Dewey regarded the human being's relationship to the ideal as "the most far-reaching question" of philosophy. For Dewey, the pragmatic struggle for the good life required a willingness "to surrender the actual experienced good for a possible ideal good." Dewey's pragmatism helps us to understand the place of the transcendent ideal in a world of action and practice.
1. Under Ideal Conditions
2. The Pragmatic Struggle for the Good
3. "In the Midst of Effort"
4. Humanism and Vigilance
5. The Rationality of Conduct: Dewey and Oakeshott
6. The Undeclared Self
7. "Meaning on the Model of Truth": Dewey and Gadamer on Habit and Vorurteil
8. Faith and the Unseen
9. Dewey, Wallace Stevens, and the "Difficult Inch"