Nathalie BULLE, Vygotsky versus Dewey on Mental Causation: The Core of Two Divergent Conceptions of Human Thought, New Ideas in Psychology, 63, 2021

The developmental psychologies of Dewey and Vygotsky are often brought together, or even assimilated, by contemporary constructivist and social constructivist theories, including sociocultural approaches. These theories broadly subscribe to the naturalistic philosophical paradigm dominating educational research. Nevertheless, they are incompatible, as expressed from the outset in their antagonistic conceptions of the relationship between human development and biological evolution. This article proposes a comparative analysis of the meaning of key concepts such as sign, meaning, mind, consciousness, will, personality or freedom in Dewey’s and Vygotsky’s texts, and contrasts their respective interpretations of human choice and the mind-body problem. On this basis, the fundamental issue of mental causation appears at the core of the divergences between Dewey and Vygotsky’s theories of human thought.