The Readings of John Dewey’s Work and the Intersection of Catholicism: The Cases of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza and the Thesis of Father Alberto Hurtado, S.J. on Dewey

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Bruno-Jofré, Rosa
Jover, Gonzalo
Education , Democracy , Dewey and Alberto Hurtado , Dewey and Religion , Dewey and the Free Teaching Institute , Dewey in Chile , Dewey in Spain , Experimentalism , Transcendence and Dewey
This paper examines the way the intersections with religion affected the readings of Dewey and progressive education themes in two discursive Spanish-speaking scenarios. The first scenario refers to how Dewey was read by the Spanish Institución Libre de Enseñanza within the context of the religious (Catholic) debate that took place in Spain during the first decade of the twentieth century. The second refers to the reading of Dewey by Father Alberto Hurtado (recently canonized), a Chilean Jesuit priest, a graduate from Louvain in 1935, and founder of the Hogar de Cristo, who had an important educational presence in Chile. The intersection of Catholicism was relevant in the two scenarios although the mediations were substantially different. Both readings purposely separated Dewey’s pedagogical thinking from his pragmatist philosophy. However, while Father Hurtado did a Catholic reading to articulate Dewey’s pedagogical thinking with religious transcendence, the members of the Institución read Dewey with the intention of liberating education from religious dogmatism, but still keeping a transcendental vision of the humane. The two scenarios show not only that habits and belief systems set limits on what can be integrated in a concept of education, but also the relevance of contingent conditions in the articulation of educational theories and practices.