Oedipus, Hermes, Janus
Spaces of Experimentation in the Human Sciences
This paper is part of a larger project that aims to study the relation between practice and theory in the works of three thinkers: John Dewey, Gregory Bateson and Félix Guattari. These thinkers share an understanding of the primary importance of the relation between theory and practice. Also their philosophical grammar is inherently spatial with concepts such as transversality, rhizome, ritornello, ecologies of mind and the double-bind. In this paper I will focus on the importance of the notion of inquiry in the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey. The paper will take Dewey's laboratory school at the University of Chicago as its point of departure. The central aim of the Lab School was to actualize Dewey's understanding of inquiry in an experimental setting. I argue that the notion of inquiry offers a potentially productive way of understanding the temporalities and spatialities that unfolds between practice and theory. For Dewey this relation is shaped by the creativity of action and connected to a situation, by definition spatially and temporally bounded. Of particular relevance in this paper is Dewey's focus on the radical openness of the relation between theory and practice, the question of where thought takes place (of how we think), and the immanent critique of the idea of simple location his conceptualization of inquiry entails. I will end the paper with a tentative discussion concerning the notion of experimentation in the social sciences.
- Human Geography
- John Dewey
The Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG)