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Research Article  |   May 2004
Using Deweyan Philosophy To Rename and Reframe Adaptation-to-Environment
Author Affiliations
  • Malcolm P. Cutchin, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77555-1142; mpcutchi@utmb.edu
Article Information
Deweyan Philosophy
Research Article   |   May 2004
Using Deweyan Philosophy To Rename and Reframe Adaptation-to-Environment
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2004, Vol. 58, 303-312. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.3.303
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May/June 2004, Vol. 58, 303-312. doi:10.5014/ajot.58.3.303
Abstract

John Dewey’s philosophy has been suggested as having been formative in the philosophy of occupational therapy, but the occupational therapy literature offers few analyses of Dewey’s work and its implications for the discipline. I offer an abbreviated analysis of Deweyan philosophy and then assess how adequately that philosophical corpus has been interpreted in the occupational therapy literature. My conclusion is that significant inconsistencies exist between a Deweyan perspective and selected concepts in occupational therapy. I take particular issue with the concept of adaptation-to-environment and specifically with aspects of that conceptualization that I term “environment as container,” “subjective–internalized focus,” and “mechanization of processes.” I offer an alternative concept, “place integration,” that is more consistent with Dewey’s philosophy. The advantages of the conceptual renaming and reframing are discussed.