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John Dewey as User and Critic of Thorstein Veblen's Ideas

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 June 2009

Extract

John Dewey (1859-1952) is easily the most influential philosopher America has produced and Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) is arguably the most influential American heterodox economist. Although scholars have often pondered both their intellectual and personal relationship, until recently no firm conclusions could accurately be drawn. Due to the lack of correspondence between the two men and the brevity of Veblen's comments on and citations of Dewey, it is difficult to know what the former thought of the latter both in terms of personality and economic ideas. But, fortunately, Dewey cited Veblen and commented on his economic thought on many occasions so it is possible to at least partly reconstruct one-half of the relationship. This reconstruction will be the focus of this article, emphasizing: (1) their biographical intersections and convergences; (2) Dewey's ideas about economics and the economy; (3) Dewey's explicit use of Veblen's economic ideas in his own published work; and (4) Dewey's critical comments in his correspondence regarding Veblen's interpretation of pragmatism and his development as a social theorist.

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Articles
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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1998

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