The Nature of Knowledge

Donald J. Morse

in Faith in Life

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234707
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240760 | DOI:

Series: American Philosophy

The Nature of Knowledge

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Dewey holds that at the root of all knowledge there are not objects out there that one must come to know, but rather, vague, amorphous “motions”, or processes of some kind, that lend themselves to creative development and reshaping. This chapter explains more fully what Dewey means by motions and show how they relate to one's sensations. It explains Dewey's arguments against materialism and the externality of objects, and discusses in general terms his alternative, idealist account of how sensations are created. It also examines the two special processes by which Dewey thinks knowledge emerges out of one's sensations, “apperception” and “retention”. It then explains Dewey's general account of the nature of knowledge and self-knowledge. In Dewey's view, by moving away from external forces, creating sensations, and working on these sensations in various ways, the self is able to create knowledge. This is how knowledge arises.

Keywords: knowledge; motions; creative development; materialism; apperception

Chapter.  11208 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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