Thought News

In 1892, progressive philosopher and University of Michigan professor John Dewey published a circular explaining that he (with Robert Park and several others) were founding a newspaper entitled Thought News.  The announcement read:

This will be a newspaper and will aim at performing the function of a newspaper.  The world is already supplied, if not burdened, with magazines of philosophy, theology, literature, and political science.  It is believed there is room, in the flood of opinion, for one journal which shall not go beyond the fact; which shall report thought rather than dress it up in the garments of the past; which instead of dwelling at length upon the merely individual processes that accompany the facts, shall set forth the facts themselves; which shall not discuss philosophic ideas per se but use them as tools in interpreting the movements of thought; which shall treat questions of science, letters, state, school and church as parts of the one moving life of man and hence of common interest, and not relegate them to separate documents of merely technical interest; which shall report new investigations and discoveries in their net outcome instead of in their overloaded gross bulk; which shall note new contributions to thought, whether by book or magazine, from the standpoint of the news in them, and not from that of patron or censor.

The newspaper never appeared in print.  Dewey and his partners fought over the project’s direction and eventually left it for dead.

As a graduate student and a journalist, I admire Dewey’s philosophical sophistication as well as his frequent forays into the world of public discourse.   Thus, this version of Thought News is an attempt to resuscitate what was best in American progressivism and pragmatism.  As I see it, this entails frequent posts analyzing politics from a theoretical viewpoint, but without surrendering to the twin dangers of cosmopolitan elitism and rhetorical pandering.  It also requires occasional cheerleading for the Detroit Tigers and FC Barcelona.  Don’t ask why…it just does.

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