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Living As Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century
with Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman

Living as Learning
Pub. Year



Dialogue Path Press



In this dialogue, Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman, students and scholars of the twentieth-century American philosopher and educator John Dewey, and Daisaku Ikeda discuss the future of humanistic education and the value of Dewey’s contributions to the field, as well as how his ideas resonate with Buddhism and those of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, Japanese educator and founder of the Soka Gakkai.

They examine educational issues such as the problem of bullying in schools, the role of the university in creating global citizens and the home learning environment, as well as topics ranging from the nature of the mentor-disciple (or student-teacher) relationship as part of Dewey’s philosophy of democratic dialogue, how scientific technology can serve human happiness and how people with diverse customs and interests can live together in democratic communities.

On the spirit of “living as learning,” the book’s title and the shared aspiration of Dewey and Makiguchi, Ikeda states: “In keeping with our rapidly changing times, we need to continue studying as long as we live to keep abreast of newly arising problems and to ensure our personal growth and ability to take appropriate action.”

“In Democracy and Education, Dewey declares that education through (not for) occupations is the best education,” says Garrison. He was a “practical philosopher who found the greatest wisdom in ordinary, everyday occupations by which human beings learn to overcome obstacles of life.”

“Dewey did not fit the stereotype of the distant and disconnected philosopher,” adds Hickman. “He was fully engaged on a number of levels . . . perhaps most important, with the ordinary boys and girls, men and women, who wrote to him asking advice or seeking clarification of some complex idea.”

This tripartite discussion is philosophical yet rooted in the concrete, mirroring the nature of Dewey and Makiguchi’s lives and their conviction in employing education for the growth of the individual and ultimately to rebuild society. Learning from their legacies, readers are encouraged to tap their inner student—that critical, creative and reflective being always in the process of growth—and invest further in living as engaged cohabitants of the planet, positively contributing to the lives of others, the environment and their local communities.


  1. What Dewey Stood For
  2. Learning Together
  3. From Mentor to Disciple
  4. Growth Is the Goal
  5. The Cost of War
  6. All Children Unique
  7. Educational Wisdom
  8. Creative Families
  9. The University Experience
  10. The Twenty-First Century University
  11. Education for World Citizens
  12. Ongoing Education
  13. Dialogue and Transformation
  14. Breaking the Cycle of Violence
  15. Creative Democracy
  16. Many Kinds of Democracy
  17. Science and Technology
  18. A Responsive Philosophy
  19. Religious Humanism
  20. Expanding Opportunity, Expanding Democracy
Appendix 1. Selected Works—Daisaku Ikeda
Appendix 2. Selected Works—Jim Garrison
Appendix 3. Selected Works—Larry Hickman
Appendix 4. Selected Works—John Dewey
Appendix 5. Selected Works—Tsunesaburo Makiguchi

About the Authors


“Both Dewey scholars and initiates to his work will be fascinated by the discussion of connections between his ideas and those of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the “value creator.” The collegial relationship that both Dewey and Makiguchi described between mentor and disciple (teacher and student) is especially valuable in this age of dull, one-way, authoritarian pedagogy. Readers will be encouraged to renew efforts to establish genuine education in the United States and abroad.”
—Nel Noddings, Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emerita, at Stanford University, and author, Caring: A Relational Approach to Ethics and Moral Education

“In this timely book, two outstanding philosophers—Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman—engage President Daisaku Ikeda of the Soka Gakkai International in a wide-ranging exchange about the enduring value of John Dewey’s philosophy of life and education. The book offers an intellectual and ethical richness that will provoke, inform, and inspire readers. Listen in on the dialogue, and learn.”
—David T. Hansen, Weinberg Professor of Philosophy and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

“I urge you to read and ponder this book . . . . In Living as Learning, Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman, two of the most astute students of Dewey’s contributions, join Daisaku Ikeda, the premier student of Josei Toda (who was the foremost student of Makiguchi) to provide a beautifully expressed, intellectually stimulating, and compellingly hopeful seedbed for educational action. Reading this book makes me feel as if I am experiencing Dewey and Makiguchi in dialogue that grows through myriad ideas (past, present, and possible) and a mutual quest for peace and justice. This dialogue should inspire readers to do their best to envision and enact a more humane world.”
—William H. Schubert, Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and author, Love, Justice, and Education: John Dewey and the Utopians

“In this invigorating and wide-ranging dialogue, scholars Jim Garrison and Larry Hickman and Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda come together to explore powerful ideas of great learning and flourishing living drawn from the legacies of John Dewey, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, and the inspiring thinkers. These ideas help cultivate a philosophical and educational landscape that commits not only to the shared interests of diverse individuals and groups, but also to our shared potential for creative, harmonious, and joyful living as learning in an increasingly complex, complicated, and contested world.”
—Ming Fang He, Professor of Curriculum Studies at Georgia Southern University

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