In this paper I explore the little-known first debate, in 1914–19, between John
Dewey and Bertrand Russell over the problem of the external world. After
outlining their respective arguments, I show how Dewey’s criticisms of Russell
miss the mark. Although these thinkers largely speak past one another, I argue
that Dewey’s theory of inference is not only crucial to this exchange but also
reveals what is at stake in their disagreement. Unfortunately, Dewey himself
never explicitly invoked his account of inference during this short-lived and
ultimately fruitless exchange with Russell. Had he done so, the crucial issue of
their differing criteria of justification would have been raised and their exchange
could have been more productive.
"Russell and Dewey on the Problem of the Inferred World,"
Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies:
1, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/russelljournal/vol32/iss1/5