Webster defines philosophy as "the study of the principles underlying conduct, thought, and the nature of the universe" (Webster's New World Dictionary and Thesaurus, Macmillian: New York, NY, 1999). Dewey understood the subject of philosophy to be the experience and its problems. For Dewey, the method of philosophy was in the assessment of experiences. It was not some metaphysical achievement of, or quest for, certainty. It does not have its origins in doubt nor does it presume to illuminate some eternal truth. This is in true keeping with his pragmatist attitude. .
Additionally, Dewey saw philosophy as empirical and critical, a step-by-step way of intelligently assessing experienced values, making judgmental conclusions about these values, and exploring the methodology of reaching those conclusions. It is easy to see why Dewey focused so much effort on attempting to analyze and explain the importance of education, including the moral principles of children. .
John Dewey's Moral Principles in Education was an analysis of moral education in schools and society. For Dewey, the moral development of children and adults was a never ending process. Dewey allowed that every societal ill involving, seemingly, a lack of good judgment, had definite ties to the lack of ethical education in our society's groups. Schools have always been expected to reinforce, supplement, sometimes even substitute for, the moral education children should acquire at home or church (Alan, 205). Dewey allowed that maybe the greatest misconception about moral education is the belief that it can be taught as a separate subject unrelated to all other subjects in the curriculum. By drilling and preaching, patterns of acceptable moral behavior will be blazoned in those kids subjected to these tactics. How funny the idea that a school might offer courses in Elementary Virtue, Intermediate Virtue, or Advanced Virtue.