Dewey’s Experience & Education: A (Partial) Defense

Among contemporary classical educators, John Dewey is routinely denounced as the arch-antagonist of classical education. He is treated as the champion of the progressive education movement which supplanted classical liberal arts education, and his educational ideas are almost universally excoriated and pilloried. In fact, however, Dewey’s though is quite complex, difficult to understand, and remarkably nuanced. This seminar attempts to provide a balanced introduction to Dewey’s educational thought through an examination of his short book Experience & Education. In this work, Dewey both criticizes what he calls “traditional education” and also cautions against the extreme tendencies of progressive education. While it is true that Dewey was no great friend of classical education, he also was an insightful thinker whose many accurate observations about education can prove helpful – even for classical educators.

Dr. David Diener

Dr. David Diener works at Hillsdale College where he is the Headmaster of Hillsdale Academy and a Lecturing Professor of Education. He also is a Fellow on the Alcuin Fellowship National Council, serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Classical Learning and the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test, is a member of the National Council of Classical Educators, and offers consulting services through Classical Academic Press. He is the author of Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator and serves as the series editor for Classical Academic Press’ series Giants in the History of Education. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Ancient Languages from Wheaton College as well as an MA in Philosophy, an MS in History and Philosophy of Education, and a dual PhD in Philosophy and Philosophy of Education from Indiana University.

Restoring “Science” to the Classical Liberal Arts Tradition

Throughout the tradition of classical liberal arts education, science (or natural philosophy) plays an important role. The teaching of “science” today, however is often undertaken in a way that is deeply incongruous with the tradition’s understanding of the nature and purpose of scientific inquiry. In this seminar, I advocate for a restoration of science to the classical liberal arts tradition through an examination of the history and philosophy of science within that tradition. I argue that classical liberal arts educators should restore the intrinsic value of science by treating it as natural philosophy, grounded in wonder and directed toward wisdom, instead of as a tool to be used for instrumental, utilitarian ends. In so elevating the value of science, classical liberal arts educators also will inculcate in students a humble approach to science given its limits and interdependence on other disciplines.

Dr. David Diener

Dr. David Diener works at Hillsdale College where he is the Headmaster of Hillsdale Academy and a Lecturing Professor of Education. He also is a Fellow on the Alcuin Fellowship National Council, serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Classical Learning and the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test, is a member of the National Council of Classical Educators, and offers consulting services through Classical Academic Press. He is the author of Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator and serves as the series editor for Classical Academic Press’ series Giants in the History of Education. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Ancient Languages from Wheaton College as well as an MA in Philosophy, an MS in History and Philosophy of Education, and a dual PhD in Philosophy and Philosophy of Education from Indiana University.