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Peace in Motion

John Dewey and the Aesthetics of Well-Being

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Yoram Lubling and Eric Evans

In this book Yoram Lubling and Eric Evans offer a Deweyan reconstruction of our philosophical understanding of well-being. They begin with Dewey’s critique of the «philosophical fallacy» to examine the legitimacy and value of theories of well-being offered by traditional philosophy. However, such theories fail to provide an authentic account of well-being due to a false understanding of experience as either epistemic or cognitive. Next, using Dewey’s theory of experience, they reconstruct «happiness» as the target for evaluation of well-being. This leads them to reject the traditional view of a private encapsulated self, and to offer in its place a transactionally situated self which is an embodied, enculturated agent. Through their emphasis on the importance of the qualitative aspects of Dewey’s understanding of a situation, the pervasive quality of the situation emerges as the most plausible criterion for the evaluation of well-being. The authors use Dewey’s theories of inquiry, ethics, value and art to establish the naturalistic conditions under which such pervasive quality enters into a situation as either settled or unsettled, in other words, as peace in motion. Consequently, a problematic situation becomes the primary condition under which all inquiry initiates whether it is in the context of science, ethics, values, art or ordinary living. Lubling and Evans conclude that a Deweyan account of well-being involves embodied knowing instead of the traditional view of cognitive knowledge. By using such an account, it is possible to explain the conditions and mechanisms under which well-being contributes to the enlargement and enrichment of individual and collective human experience.
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About the author

About the author

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YORAM LUBLING is Professor of Philosophy at Elon University. He is the author of Twice Dead: Moshe Y. Lubling, the Ethics of Memory, and the Treblinka Revolt (Lang, 2007) and The Person Vanishes: John Dewey’s Philosophy of Experience and the Self (Lang, 2011), as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles on classical American philosophy, John Dewey, Martin Buber, active pedagogy, aesthetics, Holocaust studies, Jewish philosophy and the history of Modern Zionism.

ERIC EVANS teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in educational foundations, ethics and education, philosophy of education and history of education in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He is CEO at Disability Rights Nebraska, the federal protection and advocacy system for Nebraska, and a former president of the ACLU Nebraska. He has authored book chapters and journal articles on disability-related issues and serves on the Editorial Review Board for the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

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