DEWEY-L is an international electronic forum devoted to the interpretation and extension of John Dewey's philosophy. The list is open to anyone with an interest in any facet of Dewey's philosophy. The broad aims of the list are to explore the merits of Dewey's philosophy, including its relations to any and all developments in philosophy and in other areas of inquiry which relate to the spirit of Dewey's work.  
[Dewey Group]


You may participate in Dewey-L discussions [1] using the Dewey-L web site and/or [2] using email.  

[1] The web interface for the Dewey-L forum includes facilities for joining or leaving the list, and for reading and posting messages. To use many if not any of the web-based facilities, you will need to establish a server password. When prompted to login with a password, read the brief instructions on that page and follow the "get a new LISTSERV password" link.

If you want to suppress reception of Dewey-L email messages and participate entirely through the web interface (somewhat like a blog or chat room or bulletin board), then follow out the "Join or Leave the List (or change settings)" link. Click on the "Mail delivery disabled temporarily" check-box (nomail) on the update page and click the "Update Options" button. This will suppress the receipt of Dewey-L emails for as long as you want — that is, until you re-do what you just did except to uncheck the "Mail delivery disabled temporarily" check-box.

You can use the "Post message" and "Reply to this message" functions on the web to send messages to the list. Or, even if you do not receive Dewey-L email, you can still use your standard email program to send messages to the list. The web archives will remain available whether you receive Dewey-L email messages or not.

[2] You may participate entirely via email:
To subscribe to the Dewey email discussion list , send a message from your usual email address to with a one-line command
        subscribe Dewey-L Your Name
as the body of the message (with your name in place of "Your Name"). You will be asked to confirm the subscription, and then you'll receive a couple of messages with more information about how the list works. This may not work if your email is not "plain text" but rather (invisibly) includes HTML formatting of some sort. In that case, either change your email preferences to send only plain text messages or use the web interface for the Dewey-L forum to join (or leave) the list (see above). As a new member, you are encouraged (but by no means required) to introduce yourself, perhaps with a brief statement of what you might like to discuss with others on the list.
To unsubscribe from the list, send a message (from the same address you subscribed with) to with the one-line command
        signoff Dewey-L
as the body of the message.
To suppress reception of Dewey-L email messages without unsubscribing, send a message to with the one-line command
        set Dewey-L nomail
as the body of the message. To resume recption of Dewey-L emails, send a similar one-line message with
        set Dewey-L mail
as the body of the message.
To access the list archives using email, first send a message to with the one-line command
        index Dewey-L
as the body of the message. The server will respond with an email message listing all the archive files, in chronological order, with names like "LOG9802B" (in this case, the second archive file in February 1998). Each of these files contains roughly a week's worth of Dewey-L posts. To retrieve any one of these files, e.g., LOG9802B, send a message to with the one-line command
        get Dewey-L log9802b
as the body of the message.
A list of other LISTSERV User Commands is also available.


Members of the forum are expected to strive for the spirit of cooperative inquiry. This does not mean suppressing disagreements. It does mean avoiding personal attacks, uncharitable interpretations of members' arguments, grossly self-righteous arrogance, and so forth and so on.

Sometimes list members conduct online seminars or close readings of texts on or by Dewey. This kind of directed discourse usually requires advanced planning (but who knows, it could happen spontaneously). One or more individuals should be committed to introducing new material in a regular way, at an appropriate pace. Whether organized loosely or rigorously, the success of such focussed discussion will depend on persistent commitment from some small cadre of discussants to see things through to the end. If you want to see such a seminar happen, then take the initiative and make it happen.

For the benefit of the list, keep the following things in mind:
  • Make sure that you are mailing your message to the appropriate recipient:
    • Personal messages go to some person's private email address.
    • Administrative commands go to the list server (LISTSERV@LISTSERV.SC.EDU).
    • Messages for all subscribers go to the mailing list (DEWEY-L@LISTSERV.SC.EDU).
    To help minimize the possibility of sending private messages to this public forum, the default Reply-To: field for Dewey-L messages is set to be the original sender of the message, not the whole list.
  • Clearly indicate the content of your message in the "Subject:" line in your message header. Maintain the same Subject: heading if you are contributing to an existing thread. Change it only if you are initiating a new topic.
  • Put your real name at the end of your comments if it does not appear in the "From:" line in your message header.
  • Quote selectively from posts that you are responding to. Don't just post comments at the beginning or end of a very long quoted message.
  • Provide references complete enough for scholarly purposes.
  • Attack arguments (or lack thereof), not persons.
  • Be sensitive to the cultural and disciplinary diversity of the list.
  • Make your postings to the list as relevant to the writings and philosophy of John Dewey as possible.
  • Avoid personal wrangling and irrelevant conversations.
  • Ignore obnoxious postings or postings by cranks.
  • Do not be a crank who submits obnoxious postings.
  • Look at your remarks carefully before posting them to make sure they cannot be (mis)interpreted as snide, arrogant, vile, offensive, inflammatory, self-righteous, impolite, or otherwise inappropriate. If they might be so interpreted, then they no doubt will be so interpreted by someone or other.
  • Do not post commercial solicitations or advertisements to the list.
  • Do not use the list for surveys, petitions, or for partisan purposes.
  • Avoid excessive posting to the list and make an effort to keep the list free from clutter.
  • Turn off HTML formatting when posting to discussion lists.
  • Avoid excessively long posts. Large documents, images, or html-based text can be announced to the list and made available via web links, or else sent to individual list members who personally request them.
  • Do not send email attachments to the list—different computing platforms handle attachments differently, so what works for you may not work for other list members. It is also well-known that attachments are possible vehicles for potentially destructive applications. If you receive a Dewey-L message with an attachment, seriously think about that possibility before opening it. You might want to just immediately delete it.
  • Do not forward virus warnings to the list—too often they are only hoaxes.
  • Do not use the list for sending personal email.
Many of these bits of cyber-wisdom were lifted from an information page for another email list (thanks to Greg Ransom). They are worth reproducing here.


The current list manager of DEWEY-L is Tom Burke, at
Postal address: Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

Also visit the Center for Dewey Studies homepage. This site has information on how to obtain Dewey's complete works in various formats, hardcopy or cd-rom. Other Dewey-related information is avaliable there as well.

The views and opinions expressed in the present page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of the page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of South Carolina.