Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

William Ritchie

Second Advisor

Alan Isaak

Third Advisor

Emily Hauptmann

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


My research explores John Dewey's political theory in order to determine what practical and theoretical significance it has for liberal democratic nation-states that face significant problems in a number of areas. The problems Dewey's political theory is most concerned with stem from the impact of highly complex modern technology upon the ability of a democratic society to strive closer towards its ideals of freedom , equality, and community. My research shows that Dewey's theory calls for an experimental re-creation of social and political institutions with the purpose of creating an effective means by which society can organize the complex technology at its disposal for the betterment of democracy and community.

I arrive at this conclusion by showing that Dewey's epistemology, ethics, and his application of-scientific method are fundamentally linked in a naturalistic philosophy. I then show that Dewey's application of his philosophy to social and political problems requires an experimental revisioning of political institutions and processes in order to take advantage of the new methods of inquiry and control at our disposal, and to bring about a new sense of vitality in our democracy as a whole.