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 The Unknown Dewey 

John Dewey  vs.  the Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is a method of carriage awareness and improvement carriage in the sense of how you carry yourself, grace, lightness, ease of movement.  It’s usually taught privately, the teacher certified by a professional society such as AmSAT, ATI, and STAT after undergoing three years of training.  It was discovered and developed by F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), and today is widely known among musicians, dancers, and actors.  Everyone, though, can benefit from the Alexander Technique.  (For more about it, see  STAT.)

The American philosopher John Dewey (1859-1952) recommended the Alexander Technique, and today teachers frequently use his endorsement in their advertisements.  Further, Dewey claimed the Alexander Technique illustrated his own philosophy, and some teachers repeat that claim in their descriptions of the Technique.

A Google search for “Alexander Technique” shows how often Dewey’s endorsement gets used in Alexander Technique literature.  Of the first ten websites it lists, seven of them feature Dewey’s endorsement or furnish a link to a site that does.

The question is:  Is Dewey’s endorsement valuable?

The purpose of this website is to show that Dewey’s philosophy has nothing to do with the Alexander Technique, indeed is opposed to it, that Dewey’s philosophy is unattractive in other respects, and that teachers ought to shun Dewey’s testimonials.

The following pages are based on my contributions to an Alexander Technique discussion group.  I have edited, reorganized and added to the original material.

SUMMATION
  Summation, part 1
  Summation, part 2
  Summation, part 3

INTRODUCTION
  Why discuss Dewey?

EDUCATION AND THE NATURE OF MAN
  Dewey’s novel individualism.
  Dewey’s Pedagogic Creed.
  Progressive education – more Pedagogic Creed.
  The individual and society – Dewey’s purpose.
  Man, society, and the state.
  Future servants to society.
  Edubabble.
  The Montessori Method.

SOCIETY
  Dewey signs Communist ... err Humanist Manifesto.
  Individualism Old and New.
  Dewey and social control.
  The theory of violence & the recalcitrant minority.
  Means and Ends.
  Pragmatism and totalitarianism.
  The end of the means, or what’s good about the draft.
  The theory of violence revisited.
  A pragmatist looks at liberty.
  Pragmatism or principle.

PRACTICE
  Dewey among the Soviets.
  Education for the new man.
  You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.
  Two-edged language.
  The great Soviet experiment – on children.
  A New World in the Making.
  Had Dewey a right to denounce Stalin?
  An admiring account.
  Clarification.
  Grumblers in the USSR.
  Leon Trotsky and the Dewey Commission.
  The socialist Dewey and the fascist Ludovici.

RESPONSE
  Reading as an active process.
  How to deny the meaning of words.
  Dewey will not go away.

THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE
  Why one teacher uses Dewey – How could Alexander?
  Alexandrians not responsible for Dewey.
  The Alexander Technique – Dewey’s philosophy in action?
  The Dewey-Alexander collision.
  Response to a stimulus.
  Alexanderizing.
  With friends like these.
  Thinking in Activity.
  Credit where credit isn’t due.

YOU SAY – I SAY
  Dewey is large, he contains multitudes.
  Context and consistency.

FROM WHENCE HE COMES
  Dewey and religion.

EPISTEMOLOGY
  The fallacy of the open mind.
  Dewey and Post-Modernism.
  The vain quest for certainty.

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