In order to see how the wisdom of American pragmatism can be usefully used in response to the crisis of humanities and of democracy and education, the purpose of this paper is to explore elements in Dewey’s thoughts that tend to be hidden in its familiar mainstream reception. The threads of these ideas are evident in Democracy and Education
, but they become woven into more explicit expression in Dewey’s later work, particularly in Art as Experience
. Following these threads makes it possible to reveal ways of thinking about Dewey’s pragmatism and education that take it beyond its limitations. Those limitations are to be understood in terms of a restricted account of problem-solving, instrumentalism, unqualified aversion to skepticism, and the absence of a tragic sense. Yet a greater sensitivity to these matters is there recessively in Dewey’s writings, and the reading of his work contrapuntally with aspects of Thoreau’s, helps to bring these to light. It is through such a reading that the potential of Dewey’s work as a response to the pressures of a globalized economy come to be seen.