By Raymond D. Boisvert

Whitehead's reaction to the epistemological demanding situations of Hume and Kant, written in a method with out the metaphysical intricacies of his later works, Symbolism makes obtainable his thought of belief and his extra basic insights into the functionality of symbols in tradition and society.

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There is no doubt that Dewey was deeply influenced by the thought of Hegel, but we must not make the mistake of fully identifying his thought with Hegel's. No great thinker appropriates the entire doctrine of a predecessor. Dewey was even less likely than most to engage in the wholesale absorption of Hegel's thought, since the Hegelianism he was taught had already been filtered twice through original and fertile minds. Dewey's immediate link to Hegel was, as we have seen, George Sylvester Morris.

He had both a sensitive historical sense and an original vision to promulgate. He did not treat the past as a package that could be sealed and disposed of. The tradition, it is true, was in many ways one-sided or worn out with usage. This did not mean for Page 9 Dewey what it does for some contemporary commentators: that we are entering a post-philosophical culture. It was, rather, a challenge to provide a network of generative ideas which would function as a successful framework within which we could better come to understand the world in which we live.

This is the most concise statement of Dewey's own position regarding form in his pre-Hegelian phase. " Consciousness must be inter- Page 21 preted as both passive and active. Perceptions and conceptions must work together, but the syntheses provided by conceptions are the "sine qua non" (EW I 36) in the process of formation. Formed entities do have some sort of objective status, but this status is a derivative one, one not originally given in the disconnected sensations of perception. In this pre-Hegelian phase, formed beings, as either substances or objects, cannot be understood apart from mind and its inherent activity.

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