Lecture delivered by Dr. Chiharu Fujii, President of the Dewey Society of Japan,

The ‘2021 Ikeda Research Institute for Soka Education lecture’ was held on December 13, 2021.

Theme: John Dewey - The Ideology of Living Meliorism
Lecturer: Mr. Chiharu Fujii (Professor, Waseda University, School of Education and Integrated Science; Director of John Dewey Society of Japan)

John Dewey was a leading American philosopher and educator of the 20th century, and the founder of Soka University has often discussed the significance of Dewey’s philosophy in his overseas lectures.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Dewey’s passing in 2022, the institute has invited Mr. Chiharu Fujii, an educator and director of the John Dewey Society of Japan to deliver a lecture. Professor Fujii is also the editor of the recently published Dewey’s Works, the first eight-volume collection (published by University of Tokyo Press).

In the lecture titled “John Dewey – The Ideology of Living Meliorism”, he talked about the arguments, framework, and theories of meliorism, a way of life in which Dewey focused on the improvement of society through man’s intellectual efforts, and about Dewey’s experience in arguing that “man can improve society through his own intellectual efforts.”

Comments from student representatives
〇I have often heard of Dewey but I had little understanding of his philosophy and achievements in the past, so I got to learn more deeply about him today. I had thought that Dewey was an educator in the sense that he established experimental schools, but I learned that he was also a man skilled in economics and sociology. Many people at that time felt helpless, but I think that Dewey’s ideology is still relevant in today’s society.

〇In terms of Dewey's criticism of economic liberalism and for allowing government intervention, I felt that the policies implemented by the Abe Cabinet and others in the demand model were similar when viewed from a macro perspective. Furthermore, in terms of practicing education according to children's interests and their physical and mental development, I thought it was closely related to Soka education practiced by Mr. Makiguchi. In that sense, I felt that the education that Dewey practiced at the University of Chicago's experimental school was similar to what Mr. Makiguchi was trying to practice.

〇Today's class gave us an in-depth study of John Dewey's meliorism, including the arguments and framework. I think his statement that man can improve society through his own intelligent efforts is wonderful.

〇I felt that the potential of human beings can be uplifted through educational opportunities. Through the many examples shared with us, I learned the importance of education for everyone. I am glad that I was able to hear this wonderful lecture.

〇Aside from learning from the founder’s books, I felt that studying at Soka University is also to learn the legitimacy of books through a wide range of studies.