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Cover for the book The Public and Its Problems

The Public and Its Problems

An Essay in Political Inquiry John Dewey, Edited and with an introduction by Melvin L. Rogers
  • Copyright: 2012
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-05569-5
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-05570-1
“This is an excellent project. It seems obvious to me that Melvin Rogers’s edition of The Public and Its Problems could become the standard teaching edition of this important work.”
“This will be the definitive edition of John Dewey’s most enduring work on politics. Melvin Rogers has performed the admirable task of crafting a beautifully lucid introduction and an exhaustive annotation of the text. Students and scholars of Dewey will be in Rogers’s debt for many years to come.”
“Scholars and teachers will welcome Melvin Rogers’s new edition of John Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems. The introduction and annotations are sophisticated, illuminating, elegant, and accessible. Masterfully situating Dewey in his historical context, Rogers persuasively shows that The Public and Its Problems remains a radically democratic book. This is the best edition available of Dewey’s most important political philosophical work.”
“Melvin Rogers’s edition of The Public and Its Problems is skillfully tailored to meet the needs of teachers, rather than scholars. Rogers takes great care in helping contemporary students see how Dewey speaks immediately to the same issues taken up by Rawls, Nozick, Dworkin, Kymlicka, Sandel, and others. The book is an influential and profitable contribution.”

The revival of interest in pragmatism and its practical relevance for democracy has prompted a reconsideration of John Dewey’s political philosophy. Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems (1927) constitutes his richest and most systematic meditation on the future of democracy in an age of mass communication, governmental bureaucracy, social complexity, and pluralism. Drawing on his previous writings and prefiguring his later thinking, Dewey argues for the importance of civic participation and clarifies the meaning and role of the state, the proper relationship between the public and experts, and the source of democracy’s legitimacy. These themes remain as important today as they were when Dewey first engaged them, and this is the work to which scholars consistently turn when assessing Dewey’s conception of democracy and what might be imagined for democracy in our own time.

In this carefully annotated edition, Melvin L. Rogers provides an introductory essay that elucidates the philosophical and historical background of The Public and Its Problems while explaining the key ideas of the book. He also provides a biographical outline of Dewey’s life and bibliographical notes to assist student and scholar alike.

Melvin L. Rogers is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Emory University.




Editorial Note

Introduction by Melvin L. Rogers

John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems: An Essay in Political Inquiry

Foreword (1927)

Introduction (1946)

1 Search for the Public

2 Discovery of the State

3 The Democratic State

4 The Eclipse of the Public

5 Search for the Great Community

6 The Problem of Method


Bibliographical Note


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