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American Educational Research Association

Realism, Deweyan Pragmatism, and Educational Research Author(s): Jim Garrison Source: Educational Researcher, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Jan. - Feb., 1994), pp. 5-14 Published by: American Educational Research Association Stable URL: Accessed: 27/10/2008 18:02
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and Deweyan Pragmatism,

Educational Research

RorIn a recent (1992)opposed exchange,CleoH. Cherryholmes realism"of ErnestR. House to the "scientific tyan pragmatism (1991, 1992). In my article,I hopeto find a middlegroundbeand Housethat might be moreattractive to tweenCherryholmes some the article in the education. emphasizes of My many fieldof his social mostimportant including aspects of Dewey'sphilosophy, behavioristtheory of meaning, his naturalisticmetaphysics, and transactional philosophyof nature, social constructivism, realism.Forsomereason,mosteducational theorists,researchers, and practitioners have almost entirely ignored these crucial I will conconsequences. Deweyanthemes,oftenwith disastrous clude by trying to show how all of these themesconvergeinto as not only the bestformofgovernof democracy Dewey'sdefense to conmentbutalso the bestwayfor the community of educators research. duct and consumeeducational
Vol.23, No. 1, pp. 5-14 Educational Researcher,

we can get beyond the legacy of John Dewey in the field of education by listening carefully to his own words. Rortyan Pragmatism and "Scientific Realism" House (1992) notes the following points of agreement between Cherryholmes and himself: the rejection of positivism/empiricism, non-foundationalism, the use of stories and metaphorsin science, and the existence of a world priorto and independentof our minds, wantto create thoughourmindsarea partof it. Pragmatists desirable communities, be concerned about values and politics,and spend moretime askingquestionsaboutways of life. I agree. (p. 18) House then goes on to enumerate some significant differences between scientific realists and pragmatists. The latter, he writes, * do not know when they are closer to or fartheraway from knowing reality, or how realists would know this either; * abandonthe idea of knowingwhetheranythingis real and refrain from asking questions about the nature of reality; * focus on consequent phenomena rather than antecedents; "* have no conceptionof causation; "* choose explanation,theories,and decisionby desires; "* maintain thatinquiryshould aim at makingbeliefsand desires coherent; * want to replacethe desire for objectivityin scientific researchwith a desire for communitysolidarity.(House, 1992, p. 18) Becauseit is a kind of realism,Deweyan pragmatismfinds the first, second, fourth, and last items untenable, although for reasons very different from those offered by the scientific realist. Regarding the next to last item, Dewey was not content with coherence as the final aim of inquiry,although he certainly thought it a desirable theoretical trait: Who wouldn't? I do not think Cherryholmes (1992) said that theory choice is by desire alone, but only that it played a larger role in theory selection, and inquiry, than positivists will acknowledge. Postpositivism rejects the theory-value dualism, for ratherDeweyan reasons. We desire things that we value. The third item is the sine qua non of any pragmatism, Dewey's included. Charles Sanders Peirce (1878/1965)first and instruction, is professor GARRISON College of curriculum Jium and StateUniversity, Institute Education, Polytechnic Virginia of VA 24061-0313. He specializes in the 304 WMH, Blacksburg, of education. philosophy

tween Ernest R. House (1991, 1992)and Cleo H. Cherryholmes (1992) as to which philosophical of paradigm scientific inquiry, "scientific realism" (House) or Rortyanpragmatism(Cherryholmes),would better serve to inform educational theory and research. We have not yet reached the aftermath of the paradigm wars predicted by N. L. Gage (1989),and the entranceof new combatantsinto the fray might well alterthe happy outcome he prophesied. One reason for writing this article is to further confound prophecy by suggesting yet a third paradigm that lies between House and Cherryholmes. Although this alternative is old, it remains ill understood. I am thinking about the realism of John Dewey's pragmatism. Understandably, few educational researchers have the time to make a careful and systematic study of Dewey's philosophy, so they are often left with a false impression. Cherryholmes,following W. V. O. Quine (1981),helps clear things up by noting that a "behavioristic semantics" and "the doctrine of man as truth-maker"are "more or less at the center of the web of pragmaticbeliefs" (Cherryholmes, 1992, pp. 16-17). Many in the field of education have not recognized that Dewey held a constructivistview of knowledge, and almost no one seems aware that he held a behavioristtheory of meaning. Dewey developed his doctrine of humankind as truth maker into a theory of research, and his behavioristicsemantics into a theory of communication. I will conclude by showing how Dewey called on democratic political theory to connect realism and research practices to the larger discourse practices of the whole community. My article seeks to recover the past of educational philosophy into a present that anticipates an unexpected future for educational research. Failing that, then perhaps

y articleis situatedwithinthe recentdebatebe-


formulatedpragmatismas follows: "Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practicalbearing, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object" (p. 258). All that pragmatism can be is located in the alternative possible interpretations of Peirce's original formulation. The pragmaticmaxim refers all fixationsof meaning to their consequences. As Peirce (1878/1965) put it, "there is no distinction of meaning so fine as to consist in anything but a possible difference of practice" (p. 257). Dewey's Behavioral Semantics That Dewey was a semanticalbehavioristis beyond dispute. Quine (1969) himself makes a great deal of the fact, as do Rorty (1979) and Sleeper (1986) among others. For Dewey social experience was social interaction and, therefore, simply a continuation of natural experience and existence. Dewey (1925/1981)insisted that "the interactionof human beings, namely, association, is not different in origin from other modes of interaction" (p. 138). Of these various interactions, the most important by far are those that comprise linguistic behavior. Dewey (1925/1981) indicated, "Meanings do not come into being without language, and language implies two selves involved in a conjointor shared undertaking" (p. 226). Quine (1969, p. 27) calls attention to the following passage in which Dewey (1925/1981) remarked: a mode of interaction is specifically of at leasttwo Language it presupposesan organized beings, a speakerand a hearer; group to which these creaturesbelong, and from whom they have acquiredtheir habits of speech. It is therefore a relationship.(p. 145) Dewey believed that all meanings originated in language, and that language originated in cooperative behavior. The foregoingobservationsbringus to the core of Dewey's semantical behaviorism. Dewey (1925/1981)declared: The heart of language is not "expression"of something antecedent,much less expressionof antecedentthought. It is communication; the establishmentof cooperationin an activityin which there are partners,and in which the activityof each is modifiedand regulatedby partnership. To fail to understandis to fail to come into agreementin action;to misunderstandis to set up action at cross purposes.... Meaningis not indeed a psychicexistence;it is primarilya propertyof behavior.... But the behaviorof which it is a qualityis a distinctivebehavior;cooperative, in thatresponsesto another's actinvolvescontemporaneous response to a thing as enteringinto the other'sbehavior, and this upon both sides. (p. 141) The idea here is that communicationis a cooperativeactivity that involves individuals orienting their behavior,including linguisticbehavior,to events in externalrealityin which they in such a manner that both partiesdesignate are participants and fix the event(s) in a common way; that is, they assign the same essences, identities, and definitions. "To understand," commented Dewey (1925/1981), "is to anticipate together, it is to make a cross-referencewhich, when acted upon, brings about a partaking in a common, inclusive undertaking" (p. 141). Meanings, for Dewey, were socially constructed; they were the consequence of socially shared behavior. The result is the social construction of reality and of shared social practices for dealing with it. The position

explicitly rejects the notion of psychic entities (cognitive structures) of the type typically championed by cognitive psychologists. Dewey would condemn this line of thinking for committing a modern version of the infamous mindbody dualism. Indeed, the epistemologicalbehaviorismthat Rorty takes from Dewey leads Rorty himself to take a very dim view of cognitive science (see Gardner, 1985, p. 86). For Dewey all meanings had several familiarrealistproperties although, as a consequence of his social behaviorism, they have them in an unusual way. First, for Dewey (1925/1981): Everymeaningis genericor universal.It is somethingcommon betweenspeaker, hearer and the thingto whichspeech refers.It is universalalso as a means of generalization. For a meaningis a method of action[behavior], a way of using things as means to a shared consummation.(p. 147). Second, Dewey (1925/1981)affirmsthe objectivityof meanings: "Meanings are objective because they are modes of natural interaction;such an interaction,although primarily between organic beings, as includes things ... external to living creatures" (p. 149). "Things," for Dewey, had external and realreference, fixed, for a time, between organic beings. Dewey (1929/1981)stated: Meaningis objective.... it indicatesa possibleinteraction. ... A meaning may not of course have the particular objectivity which is imputed to it, as ... the ceremonial of waterindicates rain.Butsuch magical sprinkling imputations of external reference of meantestifyto the objectivity the meaningof someings as such. Meaningsarenaturally the right thing. thing ... difficultylies in discriminating It requiresthe disciplineof orderedand deliberateexperimentation to teach us that ... meanings communally developed do not represent the polities, and ways and means of nature apartfrom social arts. (p. 148) The putative realobjective reference of a meaning, for example, sprinkling water, is given in the intersubjectivecoreferencing of the object that is the consequence of shared activity.Dewey's socialbehaviorismhas many sources. One way of appreciating Dewey's behavioralsemanticsis to think of it as emerging out of Dewey's reconstructionof his two pragmatic predecessors. Dewey's Reconstruction of the Realism of Peirce and James In his response to Cherryholmes, House (1992) noted: "There are many versions of pragmatism, with significant differences among Peirce, James, Dewey, and Rorty. Some analysts consider modern pragmatism difficult to characterize because it is essentially negative" (p. 18). Rorty is the only "modern" pragmatiston House's list. If Rorty's pragmatismis negative, it might well be because, unlike the others mentioned, he is not a realist. Peirce (1903/1965)advocated "Scholastic realism" (see, e.g., pp. 64-67). This position is not easy to explicate. Suffice it to say that Peirce believed in the reality of universals, for instance, fixed laws of science. The predetermined end of scientific inquiry for Peirce was correspondence to the fixed and final structuresof externalreality.As Peirce put it: The progress of investigationcarriesthem [scientists]by a forceoutside of themselves to one and the same conclusion ... embodied in the conceptionof truth and reality.


The opinion which is fated to be ultimatelyagreed to by all who investigate,is what we mean by the truth, and the object representedin this opinion is the real. (p. 268) Peirce's realism and theory of truth is a direct extension of his pragmatic maxim first articulated in the same paper. William James was a nominalist, that is to say, he only affirmed the reality, as Dewey (1916/1980e)himself put it, of "the particular sensible consequence" ratherthan universals (p. 76). While Peirce's Scholasticrealismtended toward objectivism, James's nominalism inclined toward subjectivism. In a chaptertitled "The Perceptionof Reality,"James (1890/1950)wrote that "all reality,whetherfrom the absolute or the practical is ourselves" point of view, is thus subjective, (pp. 296-297). James departs from Peirce in another important way. For James there were no permanent antecedent fixed essences, no final end of inquiry. Instead, James (1890/1950)insisted: Theonly meaning is teleological, and thatclassificaof essence tionandconception arepurely teleological of themind. weapons The essence of a thing is that one of its propertieswhich is so important that in comparisonwith it I for my interests may neglect the rest. (p. 335) James'sexample is water. He argues that the "real essence" of water is no more the chemists' H20 "than it is a solvent of sugar or a slaker of thirst" and that the only reason H20 is primaryfor the scientist is that "for his purpose of deduction and compendious definition ... it is the more useful" (James,1890/1950,p. 335). Essences, categories,logical rules of inference, methods of data collection are all, on this account, constructed for our purposes; they help us secure what we desire, (e.g., higher test scores); they are teleological means for solving our problems (e.g., high dropout rates)and achievingwhat we value (e.g., alleviating the lack of multicultural understanding).Jamesfelt that reality was more made than found. Dewey's own gloss on Peirce and James is instructive. Dewey (1916/1980e)wrote: BothPeirceand Jamesarerealists.... Peircemakesclearer the factthat ... "reality"means the objectof those beliefs which have, after prolonged and cooperative inquiry, become stable, and "truth" the qualityof these beliefs is a logical consequenceof this position.... Do not a large difficulties arisefroman attempt partof our epistemological to define the "real" as somethinggiven priorto reflective inquiryinsteadof as that which reflectiveinquiryis forced to reach and to which when it is reachedbelief can stably cling? (pp. 77-78) There are three importantthings to note about this passage. First, Dewey endorses some kind of realism. Second, Dewey, like Cherryholmes, understands objectivity as involving solidarity in cooperative inquiry. However, the influence of Peirce leads Dewey, unlike Cherryholmes, to preserve a notion of "objective reference." Finally, Peirce, like House's scientificrealist, believed that there were real, fixed essences that are given prior to reflective inquiry. Dewey (1925/1981) called such a belief "the philosophic fallacy" (p. 34). Dewey's own version of pragmatism is a reconstructed combination of the philosophies of Peirce and James. From Peirce Dewey took, as all pragmatists must, the pragmatic maxim that says all meanings are fixed by their conse-

quences. Dewey also understood the outcome of socially shared inquiryto be knowledge, truth, or what he preferred to call "warranted assertability." What he rejected was Peirce's objectivism, his allegiance to the existence of fixed eternal structures, for example, essences and necessary naturallaws, "fated" in advance to be found by continued inquiry. From James, Dewey took the idea that essences are constructedin the course of inquirycarriedout for some specific human purpose. Dewey, however, eschewed James's tendency toward subjectivismby emphasizing the intersubjective, or socialbehavioralaspect, of shared inquiry.Dewey was a realistwho thought that the structuresof realitywere constructedby the interactionsof events and that knowledge of them was fixed for human action by a special kind of social interaction called scientific inquiry. What kind of realism is this? Dewey's Transactional Realism A few months before his death, Dewey wrote his friend and collaboratorArthur F. Bentley of his intention to try yet again to make clear the philosophical work of a lifetime: If I ever get the needed strength,I want to write on knowartifacts transingas the way of behavingin whichlinguistic actbusiness with physicalartifacts, tools, implements,apparatus, both kinds being planned for the purpose and transaction.(cited in renderinginquiry... an experimental Sleeper, 1986, p. 16) In a few months Dewey was dead, his last effort at making his philosophical system more comprehensible still unfinished. Even if Dewey had completed his last project, it is unlikely that it would have succeeded any better than a lifetime of effortshad in communicatinghis holism to critics who insisted on breaking his philosophy into smaller analytic parts. Sleeper (1986) bemoans "the mistake that specialists in a single aspect of Dewey's thought, say his philosophy of education, have often made, the mistake of understanding him only after they have split him up" (p. 189). Capturing all of the reticulated connections composing Dewey's holism is a difficult task. Still, it is important to start somewhere. R. W. Sleeper takes such phrases as "experimental transaction" as expressing Dewey's transactional realism. Sleeper (1986) describes Dewey's transactionalrealism as follows: It is commonly accepted that Dewey's conception of philosophy led him to think of knowledge as something to be sought, not for its own sake, but for the sake of action. According to this view, Dewey's pragmatism is a form of instrumentalism. What is less commonly recognized is that his conception of philosophy required him to think of action itself as instrumental, as a means of ontological change. From this perspective .... Dewey's pragmatism is seen to be a radical form of realism- transactional realism in which instrumentalism plays a subordinate role .... and thinking entails active involvement with independent reality, an involvement that is causally efficacious. Even reflection is a means of conducting transformational transactions with the world, a means of changing or reconstructing, the world. (p. 3) In this passage Sleeper is connecting Dewey's metaphysics and logic of inquiry by arguing that Dewey's logic has ontological significance, that is to say, it transforms reality even


as reality transforms the logical agent. Said differently, carDewey's was a philosophy of continuous reconstruction ried out to solve our problems. In an early work explicating his instrumentalisttheory of logic and inquiry Dewey (1916/1980c, 1985) remarked, "Thought, intelligence, is to it just a name for the events and acts which make up the processes of ... testing.... These events, these acts, are wholly natural; they are 'realistic'.. . . Thinkingis what some of the actualexistences do" (pp. 338-339). For Dewey scientific inquiry (thinking), was a process engaged in by some natural existences, including human beings. For Dewey human nature was a seamless part of nature. This brings us to what I feel is the font of understanding for Dewey's philosophy of science in an unand research: As Deweysaw it, we are participants That universe. rather thanspectators universe ofa finished finished is why our actions, our behaviors, our social constructions, deconstructions, and reconstructions have ontological significance. Dewey was profoundly influenced by Darwin's theory of evolution. As Dewey understood it, in order for individual organisms or entire species to survive and exalt their existence, they must carryout successful transactionswith the environment. For Dewey the environment did not pose problems independently of the needs and desires of the organism. If the organism identified a situation as problematic, then it acted to transform it. Dewey's insight was that instrumentalist inquiry was a powerful "tool" for transforming the environment; that is why, for him, instrumentalist logic had ontological significance. For example, as a result of human inquiry,there are now "elements" in the chemist's periodic table like Americium,Californium, and Berkelium whose anthropomorphic names are ample testimony to humankind not only as "truth-makers,"but as creators of fundamentally new ontological structures. Dewey's Naturalistic Metaphysics, Philosophy of Nature, and Theory of Experience andNature(1925/1981),significantly Chapter 2 of Experience titled "Existence as Precarious and as Stable," introduces Dewey's naturalistic and antifoundational metaphysics of said of this chapter nature. In his preface,Dewey (1925/1981) that it "explains our starting point: namely, that the things of ordinaryexperience contain within themselves a mixture of the perilous and uncertainwith the settled and uniform" (p. 5). What this metaphysics declaresis that if you examine your experience of natural events, you will find an "ineradicable union in nature of the relatively stable and the relatively contingent" (Dewey, 1925/1981, p. 56). It is the unity of the precarious and contingent with the stable and secure that makes inquiry and researchboth necessary and possible. As Dewey (1925/1981)stated it: "The striving to make stability of meaning prevail over the instability of events is the main task of intelligent human effort" (p. 49). It is also the main task of educational research. For Dewey experience was always experience of reality; there was no appearance-realitydualism. Experience could lead to false inferences if interpreted incorrectly; nonetheless, since human nature and experience are parts of nature, human experience was an adequate guide to the metaphysics of natural existence. In Dewey's philosophy, "nature is viewed as consisting of events rather than substances, it is characterized by

histories, that is, by continuity of change proceeding from beginnings to endings. Consequently, it is natural for genuine initiationsand consummationsto occur in experience" (Dewey, 1925/1981,pp. 5-6). For Dewey (1925/1981)"every existence is an event" (p. 63). As Dewey saw it, there was nothing more, or less, real than the flux of "existential events," their interactions,and the structuresthat emerged from their interactions.Events are processes from beginning to ending. A dialecticalunity of the relativelystable and the contingent, events were never fully determinate until they terminated(see Garrison,1985).Events are diachronicrather than synchronic.The life cycle of birth, development, education, reproduction,and death in Homo sapiens is an instructive instance. Dewey's is an organic as opposed to a mechanical view of nature. In his essay "The Influenceof Darwinismon Philosophy," Dewey (1909/1977) identified the source for his organic philosophy of nature: In laying hands upon the sacred ark of absolutepermaas types the formsthathad been regarded nency,in treating of fixity and perfectionas originatingand passing away, introduceda mode of thinkingthat in the Originof Species the end was bound to transformthe logic of knowledge, and hence the treatmentof morals, politics and religion.

(p. 3)

LaterDewey (1920/1982)would argue that "change rather than fixity is now a measure of 'reality' ... change is omnipresent," or, again, "natural science is forced by its own development to abandon the assumption of fixity and to recognize that what for it is actually 'universal' is process" (pp. 114, 260). Nature is a mixture of the relatively stable and the precarious. There are about "2 million described species of living organisms" (Bock, 1982, p. 1067), and "it has been estimated that 99% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct" (Parker,1992,p. 570). They are extinctbecause they failed to continuously carry on effective transactions with their environment. Cloud formations move quickly across the sky. Mountain ranges fall slowly into the sea. Some microparticles exist only for nanoseconds. Continents have collided and massive tectonic plates have been driven below the surface of the earth after millennia. Nature has the characterof a historical event from origin to termination. For the Deweyan, nature, including human nature, is an event; that is the way it reallyis. We can better grasp Dewey's philosophy of nature, and begin to see its implications for Dewey's theory of causation and logic of inquiry, by understanding what he meant by the Greek term eidos, or what is translated into Latin as species and that Dewey identified with form and structure. Dewey (1909/1977)wrote: The conceptionof eidos,a fixed form and final cause, was the centralprincipleof knowledge as well as of nature. Upon it rested the logic of science. Change as change is mere flux and lapse; it insults intelligence.... Since, however the scene of naturewhich directlyconfrontsus is in change, natureas directlyand practically experienced does not satisfythe conditionsof knowledge. Human exof senseperienceis in flux, and hence the instrumentalities perceptionand of inferencebased upon observationare condemned in advance. (p. 6) this situationprovides only Accordingto Dewey (1909/1977)


two alternatives: "We must either find the appropriateobjects and organs of knowledge in the mutual interaction of changing things; or else, to escape the infection of change, we must seek them in some transcendent and supernal region" (p. 6). Later Dewey (1938/1986)would write: "Existence in general must be such as to be capable of taking on logical form.... But operations which constitute controlled inquiry are necessary in order to give actuality to these capacitiesor potentialities"(p. 387). ForDewey logical forms devolved out of the events of nature. On Dewey's (1925/1981)account, "A thing may endure ... and yet not be everlasting; it will crumble before the gnawing tooth of time, as it exceeds a certain measure" (p. 63). Forms and structures endure but they are not eternal. That they endure, though, is enough for intelligent inquiry and action. Dewey (1925/1981)wrote: Therateof changeof some thingsis so slow, or so rhythmic, that these changes have all the advantagesof stabilityin and irregular happenings.... dealingwith moretransitory To designate the slower and the regularrhythmicevents structure,and more rapid and irregularones process, is sound practicalsense. It expresses the function of one in respect to the other. (p. 64) For Dewey structureis functionaland transitoryratherthan fixed and final. Structure emerges in the interaction of natural events, including those involving human nature, and functions to bring events to some end. The following passage connects Dewey's metaphysics, philosophy of nature and theory of inquiry to his constructivist theory of meaningful knowledge and truth: The fact is that all structureis structureof something; of events, not anythingdefined as structureis a character somethingintrinsicand per se.... A set of traitsis called to other becauseof its limitingfunctionin relation structure, traits of events.... Structureis constancy of means, of things used for consequences, not of things taken by is what makesconstrucStructure themselvesor absolutely. tion possible and cannot be discoveredor defined except construction in some realized construction, being, of course, an evidentorderof changes.(Dewey,1925/1981, pp. 64-65) Dewey's example is the fixed structureof a house. Without it, the construction, that is, the interactionof human being and material being, would collapse, but it is not anything apart from the changes involved in building the house. Inquirycan restructurethe interactionto bring about ends that we desire. That is why inquiry can have ontological significance. We have seen how, for Dewey, structure, including the logical structureof knowledge, can arise "in the mutual interaction of [real] changing things"; now let us see how it is with "transcendent" realism. Platonism has been the preeminent example of supernal realism in the West. We will not discuss it on this occasion. House's scientificrealism is a fine example of "transcendent" realism. House (1991) argues that "events are explained by underlying structures, which may be explained eventually by other structures at still deeper levels" (p. 4). House (p. 4) sets up a hierarchy of reality that looks like this: Actual Real Empirical * Structures
Events Experiences * * * * *

House notes that "all are real, but some are more inclusive" (p. 4). House then goes on to note that "the entities and structures produce the events and experiences. But events can occur without being experienced." House then concludes that we must overcomethe "double error,of equating experience with events and events with reality" (p. 4). For experiencewas the interactionof events, Dewey (1925/1981) but "there is no evidence that experienceoccurseverywhere and everywhen" (p. 12). To think that it does is probably to be an idealist, accepting a metaphysics that all realists reject.However, to believe in a hierarchyof realitywith fixed and eternal "underlying structures" would be, for Dewey, to commit "the philosophic fallacy" of confusing structures, enduring but not eternalessences and identities that are the constructed consequences of controlled inquiry, with transcendent (or supernal) structures that lie in some mysterious realm beneath (or above) events. Dewey's realism simply will have nothing to do with eternal structures or with structures that are putatively more fundamental (foundational?) than the events that we can at least occasionallyexperience.Dewey identifiesevents and the consequences of their interactionswith reality. For him there are antecedent, although indeterminate, events, but these do not yield antecedent meanings of any kind. Meaning is always socially constructed with reference to its consequences, just as true meaning, knowledge, is with reference to the consequences of inquiry. "ExandNatureDewey declared (1925/1981): In Experience perience is not a veil that shuts man off from nature ... but rather a growing progressive self-disclosure of nature itself" (p. 5). Experience for Dewey was simply what hapin transactions participated pened when human beings actively with other naturalexistences. It was not something we have by being passive positivistic spectators of nature. Following WilliamJames, experience was, for Dewey (1925/1981), word.... it includes whatmen do and a double-barrelled suffer,whatthey strivefor, love, believe and endure, and also howmen act and are acted upon, the ways in which they do and suffer, desire and enjoy, see, believe, imagine-in short, processes of experiencing.... It is in that it recognizesin its primaryin"double-barrelled" tegrityno division between act and material,subjectand object,but containsthem both in an unanalyzedtotality.

(p. 18)

The reader will recognize in this passage the familiarholist and antidualist themes so characteristic of Dewey's philosophy. Dewey (1925/1981)wrote: Experienceis of as well as in nature. It is not experience which is experienced,but nature-stones, plants, animals, diseases .... Things interactingin certain ways are experience;they are what is experienced.Linkedin certain other ways with another natural object-the human as well. Exorganism-they arehowthingsareexperienced perience thus reaches down into nature;it has depth. It also has breadth and to an indefinitelyelastic extent. It stretches. The stretchconstitutes [logical]inference. (pp. 12-13) Everything that exists in nature and participatesin natural interactions, everything carrieson transactionswith everything else-these interactionsare whathuman organismsexperience. Experience, for Dewey, is simply how the human organism interacts with its environment. Social interaction


serves, as we have seen, as the source of absolutely all meaning in Dewey's social behavioral semantics. Looking down one barrel, whatwe experience of nature, described reality,is directand immediate.Dewey (1925/1981) it as follows: "But in every event there is something obdurate, self-sufficient,wholly immediate, neither a relation nor an element in a relationalwhole, but terminal and exclusive.... Things in their immediacy are unknown and unknowable" (p. 74). We experience reality immediately, directly, and deeply. It is inference, logic, or inquiry, "the stretch," the how of experience, that connects one immediate experience to another. That mediated connection, sighting down the other barrel, is knowledge for Dewey; whatever closes inquiryis, for him, knowledge (see Dewey, 1938/1986, p. 15). We take up Dewey's instrumentalist theory of inquiry in the next section. For now, we turn our attention to something else. Dewey's Instrumentalist Logic and Theory of Causation Speaking with regard to "the mathematical-logicalmechanical objects of physics," Dewey (1925/1981)wrote: In the totalsituation in whichthey function,they aremeans to weavingtogetherotherwisedisconnected beginningsand endings into a consecutive [causal]history. Underlying in this connection and surface"appearance" have "reality" a meaningfixedby the functionof inquiry,not an intrinsic metaphysicalmeaning. (pp. 112-113) Instrumentalistlogic is the toolthat functions to aid the Darwinian labor of staying alive and living well. These tools endure but they are not eternal. The foregoing as well as other observations made earlier are all drawn together in a surprising way in an important "Added Note as to the 'Practical'"appended to his Essays in Experimental Logic.Dewey (1916/1980a)wrote: In the logical version of pragmatismtermed instrumentalism, actionor practicedoes indeed play a fundamental role.... Touse a termwhich is now morefashionable (and than surelyto some extentin consequenceof pragmatism) it was earlier, instrumentalism means a behavioristtheory of thinkingand knowing. It means thatknowing is literally somethingwhich we do; that is ultimatelyphysicaland activeexperimentation is essentialto verification.... thinkstatesor actssuddenly ing does not mean any transcendent introducedinto a previously naturalscene, but that the operationsof knowing are (or are artfullyderived from) naturalresponsesof the organism,which constituteknowand conreconstruction, ing in virtueof the uses of inquiry, trol to which they are put. (p. 367)
The most surprising thing about this passage for the contemporary educational researcher is the declaration that Dewey holds "a behaviorist theory" of knowledge. Dewey's "epistemological behaviorism," as Rorty (1979, p. 174) aptly characterizes it, is a derivative of his behavioral theory of semantics discussed earlier. There are two other things operating in this passage already mentioned. First, we can see that inquiry is something that mortal organisms active in an unfinished universe do to transform events into enduring essences and identities, so that they can make warranted assertions that, when acted upon, aid them in maintaining and enhancing their existence. Second, inquiry is totally naturalistic; nowhere does it refer to transcendent or supernal structures.

active ... and methods of behaving toward facts and ...

Dewey's naturalism includes the very logical forms that control inquiry; for example, the law of noncontradiction or the rules of logical inference. These are usually thought to be true antecedent to inquiry. As Dewey (1938/1986)put it, "all logical forms ... arise within the operation of inquiry and are concerned with control of inquiry so that it may yield warranted assertions" (p. 11). To believe in a priori logical structures is yet another instance of "the philosophic fallacy." We can see just how serious Dewey was about avoiding any kind of reference to transcendent reality in his logic, as well as how literal he was about his instrumentalism, by examining his paper titled "Logical Objects." Dewey (1916/1980d), stated: "The object of this paper is to propound a hypothesis concerning the nature of what, for brevity,may be called 'logicalentities.' By this word I denote such things as are . . . usually referredto as . . . essences" (p. 89). As we have seen, for Dewey all structures, logical or ontological, are the meansof making functional connections. "In other words," wrote Dewey (1916/1980a), "logical objects are things (or traitsof things) which are found when inference is found." Further, "inference is an occurrence belonging to action, or behavior, which takes place in the world." (p. 90). Inference is instrumental to effective labor. concluded afterexaminingthe usual So, Dewey (1916/1980a) transcendent and supernal candidates for logical objects, "tools and works of artgive the key to the question in hand: that works and tools of art are preciselythe sought-foralternative to physical, psychical and metaphysical entities" (p. 92). In this capacity, a logical object "belongs in the categorywhere plowing, assemblingthe parts of a machine, digging and smelting ore belong-namely behavior" (Dewey, 1916/1980a, p. 91). Predictably, Dewey's Darwinian theory of nature prefigures his notion of causation. The following passage helps clarify Dewey's position on causality. Dewey (1925/1981)declared: Causality,however it be defined, consists in the sequential order itself.... The view held ... by some "mechanist," which treats an initial term as if it had an inherentgenerativeforce ... [isolates]an event from the history in which it belongs and in which it has character ... [it makes]a factitiously isolatedposition in a temporal order a markof true reality ... selectinginitiation[as the cause] .... But in factcausalityis anothername for the sequentialorderitself.... this is an orderof historyhaving a beginning and end. (pp. 84-85) Tobelieve that there are atemporal,fixed, inner causal structures antecedentto events with the generativeforce to cause events is the fallacy of scientific realism. For Dewey the history of science is the history of the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of workable scientific objects, that is, objects of knowledge. Instrumental logic has ontological implications because it is a powerful tool for the event of human nature to alter the historical process of other historicalevents by producing scientificobjects. For Dewey (1925/1981),"A natural end which occurs without the interventionof human artis a terminus"(p. 86). However, "the terminal outcome when anticipated (as it is when a moving cause of affairs is perceived) becomes an end-in-view, an aim, purpose, a predictionusable as a plan in shaping the course of events" (Dewey, 1925/1981,p. 86). As indicated earlier,logic connects experiences, and these


connections can alter the course of natural events. It does so by converting the naturalsequence of events into means for achieving our purpose, the "end-in-view" that we desire. Dewey (1925/1981)affirmed: "For all the intelligent activities of men ... have for their task the conversion of causal bonds, relations of succession, into a connection of means-consequence, into meaning" (p. 277). Experimental actions, essences, identities, symbolic representations, and so forth are necessary tools for the worker"to make connectionsand obtainthe ends "/scientific desired (see Dewey, 1925/1981, p. 268). Scientific workers use tools to help them forge new links in chains of causation. Thus, we should not be surprised at the following statement: and subtle reasons have been assigned for Extraordinary belief in the principleof causation.Laborand the use of tools seem, however, to be a sufficientempiricalreason: events thatcan be specificindeed, to be the only empirical ally pointedto in this connection.They aremore adequate grounds for acceptanceof belief in causalitythan are the regularsequences of natureor than a categoryof reason, that or the allegedfactof will. The thinkerwho proclaimed every event is effect of somethingand cause of something else merelyput into words the procedureof the workman .... Regularity,orderly sequence, in productive labor (Dewey, principle. presentsitselfto thoughtas a controlling 1925/1981,p. 73) Laborprovides the conscious experience of interactingwith naturein such a way as to transformthe sequence of events, as we choose, to meet our needs (see Garrison, 1990, in press). For Dewey causality was as much a logical and instrumentalistas it was an ontologicalcategory.Quine is correct that one of the basic tenets of pragmatism is human beings as truth makers; for Dewey truth making was to be taken in the most literal workaday way possible. Social Constructivism, Educational Inquiry, and Construct Validity In Dewey's naturalistic metaphysics, existence is understood as consisting of events that are an ineradicableunion of the relatively stable and the relatively precarious. Nature is an event characterizedby continuous histories of change proceeding from beginnings to endings rather than by substances such as fixed essences, eternal identities, or permanent categories. Experience is of the interactions of events and is "double barreled." Natural events interacting with the natural event of our lives is how we come to have experience. Experience has depth; it reaches immediately down into nature. There is no problem of experiencing reality as such. How could it ever be otherwise? We may, though, misinterpret what we experience and thereby fail to grasp its meaning. Experience also has breadth; it stretches across time and context. This stretch is inference. Carefully controlled inference is scientific inquiry, the supreme tools of which are science methods and logics. We must breakthe simple knowledge-equals-reality equation. We may, indeed often do, experience reality aesthetically and morally without knowledge, and are left dumbfounded. The product of scientific work (i.e., inquiry) is knowledge or "warranted assertability." Knowledge establishes connections in an uncertain and precarious world, and leaves us able to act intelligently. It weaves together otherwise disconnected naturalbeginnings and ter-

mini into a sequential causal history that allows us to act so as to achieve our purposes. In Dewey's behavioralsemanticsall meanings-cognitive, aesthetic, and moral-are made. They are sociolinguistically constructed between two selves participating in a shared undertaking.Meaning is objective, having externaland real reference. It is the making of something intersubjectively stable and fixed, for a time, between two social actors. We are concernedwith knowledge. These are the meanings that connect and are the product of inquiry controlled by the labor and tools of scientific workers. of prior Educationalresearchersare scientific re-searchers cultural meanings, for example, those provided by policymakers. Through educational inquiry,they seek to produce warranted assertions that can be used to improve educational efficacy by guiding events toward desirable "endsin-view," our shared vision of improved education. Now as Dewey (1925/1981) indicated, "The same existential events are capable of an infinite number of meanings" (p. 241). Researchers, as finite organisms that need solutions now, must select only a few things within any research situation;that is the human condition. The mistake is when we do not admit to ourselves or our clients that we have selected, and that such selection involves beliefs, values, and, yes, ideology. The ultimate erroris to forget our selections and mistake the consequences of research for antecedent reality, as if our selections did not partially predetermine the experimentaltransaction. For Dewey (1925/1981), to forget or fail to recognize that selection goes into making up knowledge was to commit an instance of the most grievous philosophical error possible: Selectiveemphasis, choice, is inevitablewhenever reflection occurs.Thisis not an evil. Deceptioncomes only when the presence and operation of choice is concealed, dismethod ... protectsus fromthe guised, denied. Empirical conversionof eventualfunctionsinto antecedentexistence: a conversionthat may be said to be thephilosophicfallacy. (p. 34) Meanings are made through cooperative behavior, and knowledge is produced by using the tools of inquiry and theoretical constructions. Building a body of research requires choosing for a purpose, and that involves our deepest personal and culturalbeliefs and values. That is why educational research can never be theory or value neutral. Where in educational research, the reader may wonder, would Dewey's transactionaland Darwinian realism make a difference? The response is surprisingly straightforward and amounts in many ways to little more than a reprise of some of Lee J. Cronbach'sviews on constructvalidity. Construct validity is involved any time the researcher asks the question, "What does the research instrument (or tool) actually measure?" Ideally, constructvalidity would establish an identity between an attributeor quality being measured and some theoretical construct although, as any researcher knows, that is not possible in practice (see Cherryholmes, 1988, pp. 100-108). Whatever the relation, Deweyan pragmatism would requireus to recognizethat constructvalidity, like the theoretical construct and the attributes to be measured, are themselves all sociallyconstructedin one way or another. House (1991) calls on Cronbach and his colleagues repeatedly in a subsection of his article titled "Relevance of


Research to Practice." If research is to be relevant to practice, the results must display situational validity. House (1991) recalls Cronbach's argument that "external validity is more importantthan internalvalidity"(p. 8). House (1991) himself concludes: Froma realistpoint of view, the standarddistinctionof internalvalidityand external validityis inadequate.Rather one mightthinkof the validitywith whichresearchers draw conclusions fromtheirstudies,the validitywith whichpractitionersdrawconclusionsfromthese studies to theirown situation,and the validitywith which teachersand other drawconclusionsfor themselveson the basis practitioners of their own experiences.(p. 9) Transactionalrealists would agree with this assessment. They would, however, call attentionto all of the choices and selections made along the way. They would also avoid committing the philosophical fallacy of asserting as antecedent underlying causal structures that were really only meaningful consequences constructed by all the participants,for example, researchers, teachers, and other practitioners,as well as parents and students. Cherryholmes (1992) remarks in his response to House that "Lee Cronbachcan also be read as having become increasingly pragmatized during the course of his career" (p. 13). One especially important place where Cronbach's pragmatism finds expression is in his thinking about construct validity. In reviewing Cronbach and Meehl's (1955) original statement of the idea of construct validity, Cherryholmes (1988) argues that the idea takes precedence over other kinds of validity such as internal, external, or content validity, especially with regard to converting research into practice,because all the other kinds of validitypresume that issues of construct validity have been resolved (see pp. 100-108). Cherryholmes (1988) further states: Construct validationoccursin the contextof a nomological net, a set of relatedlawlikestatements.This createsan interestingparadoxbecausenomologicalnets change. Identity, consistence, coherence, definition, and stabilityare valued and pursued in the contextof change and instability. (p. 101) I believe that this view accords well with Dewey's transactional realism and with Cronbach'sown views in a classic article not mentioned by either House or Cherryholmes. The article by Cronbach that I have in mind is titled "Beyond the Two Disciplines of ScientificPsychology." The two scientific disciplines are experimental control and systematic correlation. Cronbach concluded that "generalizations decay" both in time and place and therefore social scientists should abandon their desire to "erect 'theoretical palaces' " (see pp. 122-123). Cronbach gives many examples, including some discussed by House. The following is especially striking: A decadefromnow, with changesin the economy,in social morale, in the family structure,and in aspirations,community attitudeswill be different .... We tend to speak of a scientific conclusionas if it were eternal,but in everyfield empirical relations change.... It was once a sound generalizationthat DDT kills mosquitos, until the evolutionarymechanismactedrapidlyto makemosquitosresistant to DDT. Furtheralong the time scale, consider star Thosemapshave not changedpercepmapsfor navigation. tibly during recordedhistory.And yet the stars are shift12

ing in their courses, and it is only a matterof time-a lot of time-before the map changes beyond recognition.All that can be consideredeternalis the laws. (Cronbach, 1975, p. 122) Scientific laws are functional and transitory; they merely serve to structure our experience here and now. For the transactional realist even the so-called laws of nature are merely relativelystablecomparedwith the currenteconomy. Cronbach (1975) remarks: Ourtroubles do not arisebecausehumaneventsarein prinarepartof the natural cipleunlawful:man and his creations world. The trouble, as I see it, is that we cannot store up and constructsfor ultimateassemblyinto generalizations a network. (p. 123) The decay of generalizations, Cronbach (1975) concludes, "/putsconstruct validation ... into a new light.... Events are accounted for-and predicted-by a network of propositions connecting abstractconstructs" (p. 123). This characterization accords well with that of Cherryholmes above. The transactional realistwould put especial emphasis on the term "events." Cronbachalso seems to have learned the same Darwinian lesson as Dewey regarding essences or eidosbeing enduring but not eternal. Cronbach (1975) indicates: The obvious exampleof success in coming to explanatory grips with interactions involving time is evolutionary biology.... Darwin considered observationson species against the backgroundof ecologies and viewed his data in Galapagos as only the latestsnapshotof an ever-changing ecology. (Cronbach,1975, p. 123). Forthe transactionalrealist, all events and their interactions evolve over time. Educational researchers interested in validity of all kinds, especially with regard to converting research into practice,that is, generalizing results from one domain or ecology to another, could take guidance from transactional realism, and comfort for their inevitable frustrations. Conclusion: Discourse, Democracy, and Educational Research We have examined Dewey's existentialmetaphysics and found it a surprising dialecticalunity of contrarybut complementary opposites, like the relatively stable and yet precarious character of natural events that makes inquiry both necessary and possible. We have also looked at his instrumentalist logic of experience and how it established essences as the consequence of inquiry, essencesthat may then be used to control future inquiry establishing the warranty of shared meanings. There is something, though, that ties together both Dewey's metaphysics and his logic. It is language. As Dewey (1925/1981)put it: There is a naturalbridge that joins the gap between existenceand essence;namelycommunication, language,discourse.Failure to acknowledgethe presenceand operation of naturalinteraction in the formof communication creates the gulf betweenexistenceand essence, and thatgulf is factitious and gratuitous.(p. 133) Sleeper (1986, pp. 2-3) calls attention to the following passage as tying together the whole of Dewey's holistic philosophy:


When communicationoccurs, all naturalevents are suband revision;they arere-adaptedto jectto reconsideration whetherit be public of conversation, meet the requirement discourse or that preliminarydiscourse termed thinking. Events turn into objects,things with a meaning. (Dewey, 1925/1981,p. 132) One purpose in my writing this article is to make as clear as possible to the educationalresearcherwhy we should take this statement of Dewey's transactional realism seriously. I have cited Dewey repeatedly and at length, because I believe that it is time that we as educational researchers come to terms with the whole of what Dewey said. I believe that Dewey is substantiallycorrect.Many, however, will find his thinking simply too fantastic to be believable. For those like myself who are attractedto Dewey's transactional realism, there is one special benefit I would like to call attention to. Lewis Feuer (1959) once observed that Dewey "was the first philosopher who tried to read democracy into the ultimate nature of things and social reform into the meaning of knowledge" (p. 568). Recallthat Dewey understood language as intrinsicallyinvolving cooperative behavior. Now add to that Dewey's (1916/1980b)definition of democracy:"A democracyis more than a form of government; it is primarilya mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience" (p. 93). Feuer was correct. Indeed, Dewey's instrumentalist logic itself terminated with the tool of tools: relationThe final actualityis accomplishedin face-to-face ships by means of directgive and take. Logicin its fulfillment recursto the primitivesense of the word: dialogue. Ideaswhich arenot communicated,shared,and rebornin expression are but soliloquy,and soliloquy is but broken and imperfectthought. (Dewey, 1927/1984,p. 371) Democracywas for Dewey the most logical form of government; it was less about voting than about equal participation by all in the conversation of humankind. Initiationinto this conversation is the purpose of education, and it is the purpose of educational research to provide tools that aid this task. I will conclude with a holistic sequence of implicationsfor educational research that may be drawn from Dewey's transactional realism. We should recognize that all knowledge is a social construction, as too are the tools of knowledge construction. We should also recognize that all knowledge is contextual, that the structure of the context is determinedby the local interactionsat that time and place, The presence of human and that these are always transitory. to structuring the concontributes a in context organisms text. Human organisms must carry out successful transactions that transformcontexts into configurationsthat satisfy their needs. This imperativeraises problems. Problemidentification is a complex interaction of context with human needs and desires. Our needs and desires are expressed in moral (e.g., political ideals), aesthetic (e.g., standards of taste), and cognitive (e.g., methodological norms) values. Once a problem has been identified, it is the task of inquiry to solve it. Inquirers, their language, tools, and values, are real and have real causal consequences, but they do not entirely determine the consequences of inquiry in a given context. To think they do is to be a subjectivist. Neither, however, does the context, apartfrom the inquirers'participation,en-

tirelydeterminethe consequencesof inquiry.Tothink it does is be an objectivist. The reality, including the functional structure of a given context, is in the transactions among all those events that participatein the context including the participation of the inquirer. Selective emphasis and value choice in problemidentification, behavior chosen by the inquirer (e.g., research practices), and selection of tools and their application are all inevitable whenever reflection occurs. This is no evil. Rather it is the fate of finite impassioned creaturesthat seek to continue their existence. We must choose, and choice always has a moral and an aesthetic as well as a cognitive dimension. Deception comes only when the presence and operation of choice is concealed or denied. The deception usually takes the form of objectivism; that is, the inquirers claim to be uncovering eternal structuresentirely beyond human values and choices. Sometimes, though, it appears in the form of subjectivism that claims there is no "objective" structureat all. Thatis a danger for some forms of poststructuralism, especially the deconstructionist.As an alternative to either of these, I recommend Dewey's philosophy of reconstruction and its reliance on participatorydemocracy. In Dewey's dialogical sense of logic discussed above, not only is democracy, at least potentially, the most "rational" of all structures of governance now known; it is also the best way to do research. If we would include more voices in the educationalresearchconversation,for example, more women, ethnic groups, races, as well as the teachers and students we tend to do our research on rather than with, and if we were to listento them better,the problemswe identify, the solutions we seek, and the facts themselves, would change. Many things that appear "natural,"simply because they are actual,would be seen as contingent social constructions open to reconstruction. If communication occurs, all natural events are subject to reconsideration and revision; they are re-adapted to meet the requirements of the conversation. Events turn into objects, new things with novel meanings. Notes
I would like to acknowledge several conversations with Jan Nespor as well as the very helpful comments of the reviewers of an earlier version of this article. Thanks. Needless to say, I am solely responsible for any errors that remain.

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Received January 23, 1993 Revision received May 5, 1993 Accepted June 29, 1993

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