Instrumentalism and Poetic Thinking

A Critique of Dewey’s Logic of Thought

  • Mark McGinn
Keywords: philosophy, instrumentalism, dewey


This paper offers a critique of the instrumental logic of thought found in the middle period of Dewey’s philosophy. His instrumentalism requires that thought serves to effect a physical alteration in the conditions of experience through an experimental act, the results of which retrospectively determine the legitimacy of thought. But missing from his account, I argue, is an explanation of the significant alteration of experience brought about by more aesthetic forms of philosophical thinking, which do not aim to effect any kind of physical alteration. I therefore propose that “poetic thinking” be invoked as a necessary supplement to instrumental thinking.

How to Cite
McGinn, M. (2013). Instrumentalism and Poetic Thinking: A Critique of Dewey’s Logic of Thought. Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal, 6(1), 45-52. Retrieved from