Dewey, aesthetic experience and education for humanity

Andrea R. English, Christine Doddington

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Following from Dewey’s notion that aesthetic experience is experience in its fullest sense, we focus on examining Dewey’s concept of aesthetic experience as it is inextricably tied to his concepts of human nature and education. We begin by exploring the concept of aesthetic experience in the context of Dewey’s broader theory of education and growth. We then discuss how aesthetic experiences are cultivated in the context of formal learning settings, including classrooms and outdoor environments, paying special attention to the critical and indispensable role of the teacher in creating situations for students’ aesthetic experiences. In this context, we discuss how Dewey’s critique of traditional and progressive education is still relevant in today’s global education climate. We conclude by discussing the crisis in education as we see it today, and suggest that Dewey’s views provide three key insights for addressing this crisis: the value of teachers, the role of art as an ethical-political force, and the special place of philosophy of education in the cultivation of our shared humanity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Dewey
EditorsSteven Fesmire
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Print)9780190491192
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2019


  • John Dewey
  • aesthetic experience
  • education
  • global educational policy
  • transformative learning
  • teaching
  • Bildung
  • Erziehung
  • art
  • philosophy of education


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