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Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition by MARJORIE A. LYLES, MARK EASTERBY-SMITH

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Inspiration from Pragmatism

Individuals gain experiences as a result of how they live their lives and how they associate with others. This, in turn, depends on who they are as people and how they enter into these relations. If individuals are to learn from their experiences, they have to use their ability to not only contemplate the relation between their actions and their consequences, but also to relate them to their past, present, and future experiences. The provocative element in the development of experience is when there is a sense of habitual actions being upset. This feeling cannot be forced upon anybody from the outside, but must come from experience or from within the parameters of expanding experience. Dewey is aware of the aesthetics of experience and the sensation that they perfect or complete; any delight and comfort in a situation is also an experience, and knowing is just one way of experiencing (J. J. McDermott, 1973 [1981]). There is only an analytical distinction between an intellect that knows and a body that acts.

This anti-dualistic approach in Dewey’s works echoes one of the core principles in pragmatism, that is, that there are no dualisms such as, for example, psychological-physical, fact-value, culture-nature, and theory-action. Rather than understanding intellectual capacities and bodily actions as two different activities and phenomena, Dewey regards theories as tools or instruments in the human endeavor to cope with situations and events in life and ...

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