Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Auxier, Randall

Abstract

John Dewey's work on how imaginative inquiry interrupts the mechanical unfolding of a precarious world is a ground-breaking and important insight into how intelligence can potentially meliorate problematic situations in such a way as to promote human growth and happiness. It is the work of moral imagination to produce, pre-cognitively, the creativity of moral solutions to problematic situations. Moral imagination must be constrained by some factors in order for it to produce intelligent and potentially meaningful and moral choices. In many ways moral imagination remains announced but not fully developed in Dewey's work. While the work of Dewey leaves imagination as important and vital for inquiry as we know it, he does not systematically discuss how the various parts of human experience condition and limit moral imagination. Unlike negative limitations on activity--which I designate restraints--these constraints, when taken as individual but cooperative constraints on what can be imagined condition the possibilities of activity. This work investigates Dewey's theory of moral growth and applies it to illuminate the constraints of on moral imagination which will provide realistic account of moral development and moral freedom.

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