Chapter

Dewey’s Logic of Inquiry

Isaac Levi

in Pragmatism and Inquiry

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698134
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191742323 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698134.003.0006
Dewey’s Logic of Inquiry

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The models of inquiry proposed and defended in these essays are heavily indebted to the ideas of Peirce and Dewey. Even so, the ideas elaborated here depart in important respects from the approaches of the great pragmatists. Chapters 5 and 6 address departures from Dewey’s conception of inquiry. Chapter 5 discusses Dewey’s view of the logic of inquiry. Chapter 6 examines Dewey’s effort to understand inquiry as a natural process and the logic of inquiry as a mode of explanation. According to Dewey, logical principles are “habits” or rules of inference necessary to the conduct of every successful inferential inquiry. Such principles are postulational. “To engage in inquiry is like entering into a contract. It commits the inquirer to observance of certain conditions.” According to the approach adopted here, so-called “methodological rules” are also postulational. Inquirers are committed to reason in conformity with principles of universal applicability. But commitments to such principles—like commitment to full belief, probability judgment and values—incur obligations subject to change through inquiry. According to Dewey, inquiry involves the transformation of a “situation” rather than a point of view. Dewey worried that otherwise inquiry might be replaced by psychotherapy. This essay argues that by replacing situations by obligation incurring commitments, the metaphysics of situations can be avoided.

Keywords: situations; points of view; commitments; postulational view; logical principles

Chapter.  8191 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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