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What is a Situation?

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This paper examines the role of 'situations' in John Dewey's philosophy of logic. To do this properly it is necessary to contrast Dewey's conception of experience and mentality with views characteristic of modern epistemology. The primary difference is that, rather than treat experience as peripheral and or external to mental functions (reason, etc.), we should treat experience as a field in and as a part of which thinking takes place. Experience in this broad sense subsumes theory and fact, hypothesis and evidence, reason and observation, thought and perception. Logic in this view is a formal study of the generic features of all possible kinds of experience in this broad (thick, deep, wide, multifaceted) sense. The goal of this paper is to explain what Dewey thinks a situation is in the context of this view of experience, and to argue for the fundamental importance of that idea for logic and philosophy in general.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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