H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Philosopher and educator
John Dewey was one of
the foremost philosophers of the twentieth
century and a founder of the Laboratory School at the University of
Chicago. He played a role in public life that few philosophers in
American history have known, addressing the problems of life
itselfthe processes of politics, art, science and religion.
Dewey based his entire
system of philosophy, called pragmatism,
on life experience. Through his teaching and writings, his influence
was felt in politics, science and the arts. He speculated that ideas
are tools for solving problems in the environment, not discrete
entities. He came to the University of Chicago in 1894, where he
was appointed head of the Department of Philosophical Studies
and director of the School of Education.
In a radical departure
from traditional educational theories of his time,
Dewey believed that school should be an extension of everyday life, a
process of accumulating experience, not a series of memorization
exercises. He started the Lab School in 1896 to illustrate his theory
that children learn by doing.
Dewey and his wife Alice
resided at 213 (now 1554) East 61st
Street at that time. They lived in Chicago until 1904, when Dewey
accepted a position at Columbia University in New York.