In this book Dewey sought to at once synthesize, criticize, and expand upon the democratic (or proto-democratic) educational philosophies of Rousseau and Plato. He saw Rousseau's philosophy as overemphasizing the individual and Plato's philosophy as overemphasizing the society in which the individual lived. For Dewey, this distinction was largely a false one; like Vygotsky, he viewed the mind and its formation as a communal process. Thus the individual is only a meaningful concept when regarded as an inextricable part of his or her society, and the society has meaning apart from its realization in the lives of its individual members. However, as evidenced in his later Experience and Nature (1925), this practical element-learning by doing-arose from his subscription to the philosophical school of Pragmatism.
John Dewey (October 20, 1859 - June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology. He was a major representative of progressive education and liberalism.