Off the Shelf: Melvin L. Rogers

March 25, 2009 — Melvin L. Rogers, assistant professor of politics, "The Undiscovered Dewey: Religion, Morality and the Ethos of Democracy." Columbia University Press.

"The Undiscovered Dewey" explores how philosopher John Dewey launched a new understanding of the modern self that encouraged intervention in social and natural environments, but which nonetheless demanded courage and humility because of the intimate relationship between action and uncertainty.

Rogers explicitly connects Dewey's theory of inquiry to his religious, moral and political philosophy. He argues that, contrary to common belief, Dewey sought a place for religious commitment within a democratic society sensitive to modern pluralism. Against those who regard Dewey as indifferent to moral conflict, Rogers points to Dewey's appreciation for the incommensurability of our ethical commitments. His deep respect for modern pluralism, argues Rogers, led Dewey to articulate a negotiation between experts and the public so that power did not lapse into domination.