After having read John Dewey's Democracy and Education, published in 1916, James B. Conant commented that he had the feeling that if Dewey (1859–1952) had not existed, he would have had to be invented. As one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, Dewey had orchestrated pragmatism and the idea of progress with the U.S. democratic experience through education.

In his autobiographical account, Dewey briefly traced his journey from undergraduate years at the University of Vermont to graduate studies in philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. He pointed out that university faculty at the time were clergymen, but he added that the theological phase of his studies had no lasting influence on his intellectual development, except negatively. Dewey related that his upbringing in Vermont where he ...

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