Two years after matriculating, Dewey completed graduate school in 1884 with a dissertation criticizing Kant from an Idealist position (“The Psychology of Kant”); it remains lost. Hegel afforded Dewey personal and intellectual healing: Hegel’s synthesis of subject and object, matter and spirit, the divine and the human, was, however, no mere intellectual formula; it operated as an immense release, a liberation.
While scholars still debate the degree to which Dewey’s mature philosophy retained early Hegelian influences, it is clear that the influence on Dewey was profound. Hegel’s treatment of human culture, of institutions and the arts, involved the same dissolution of hard-and-fast dividing walls, and had a special attraction for me.
Two of the boys died tragically young (two and eight).
Chipman had a significant influence on Dewey’s advocacy for women and his shift away from religious orthodoxy.
He grew up in Burlington, was raised in the Congregationalist Church, and attended public schools.
After studying Latin and Greek in high school, Dewey entered the University of Vermont at fifteen and graduated in 1879 at nineteen.
He sought to reconnect philosophy with the mission of education-for-living (philosophy as “the general theory of education”), a form of social criticism at the most general level, or “criticism of criticisms” (, MW9: 338).
Set within the larger picture of Darwinian evolutionary theory, philosophy should be seen as an activity undertaken by interdependent organisms-in-environments.
At Michigan, Dewey developed long-term professional relationships with James Hayden Tufts and George Herbert Mead.
In 1886, Dewey married Harriet Alice Chipman; they had six children and adopted one.