John Dewey is important because he points at an “intellectual fallacy” which had and has an enormous impact on our culture. This “intellectual fallacy” can be explained as the approach in which things are only real in so far as they can be “thinkable”. Or put in other words, the real aspect of things is the cognitive part of it. This means that the more abstract we conceive something, the more real it is. All feeling, value and beauty are only real when it is thinkable.
“When objects are identified with knowledge objects, all affectional and volitional objects are inevitably excluded from the “real” world, and are compelled to find refuge in the privacy of an experiencing subject or mind”
So feelings, intuitions and values are often in daily life considered to be “just personal”, while they are as basic for reality as is thinking.
There exist as a consequence of this thinking a devastating approach of our selves. We see a huge gap between thinking and acting, and we devaluate subjective experiences as lower to rational generalisations. Physics and science are presented in this way as ideal abstract entities in which theory and practice is strictly separated: in fact this has led to a mechanistic worldview, in which the rational thinking reflects on automatic material processes.
In fact physics is not at all that way: thinking and acting are far more intermingled.
But all sort of sciences are organized in a rational, abstract way. Psychology, sociology and health sciences are aiming at general abstractions, the concrete individual experience of the actor is NOT relevant.
The saying is: “scientifically is proved this and that…” while the only thing, you can say is: we have made cognitive abstractions and they proved to be correct when testing them as abstractions. It does not say anything about the “experience” of the persons involved.
We should not ask the scientist to explain us reality, he only knows about abstracted reality.
For Dewey our culture is in crisis because we do not understand who we are: we have become an “unnaturalized and unnaturalizable alien in the world”!
We have to focus on the total experience of the person, a total experience in which thinking, feeling and acting are incorporated. This can only be done by an individual and not by massive generalisations. The concrete praxis is paramount and superior to abstract thinking.
In economics we see this “intellectual fallacy” working at full speed. Economics consider their science to be like physics: rational predictions on generalisations (although physics is not that way organised). This does so much harm, but nobody sees it (except George Soros). We have to trust again our personal practices and make our acting more intelligent. The brain is not mend to work for itself; it has to make practice more intelligent.
In my Socratic practice, the approach of Dewey is the frame to put practical knowledge and practical intelligence (of workers or users) again in the centre of our acting. We cannot give from the academic tower lessons to businessman, workers, artists or any societal group. We can let themselves work again as the heart of their own practice, creating more intelligent practices!
 Experience and nature p.30)