Educating for the Automated World.
John Dewey’s and Mortimer Adler’s Pedagogical Recipes

Variant title

Educare per il mondo automatizzato.
Le ricette pedagogiche di John Dewey e Mortimer Adler


The typical pedagogical recipe that has been periodically proposed to avoid the creation of unemployed and maladapted people in an increasingly automated world is the promotion of STEM disciplines – an acronym used in the Anglosphere to indicate ‟science, technology, engineering, and math.” However, education theorists who, while welcoming the advent of a technologically advanced society, propose alternative solutions are not lacking. In this article we will deal with an American tradition of thought that aims to make education more universal, or less specialized, deeming it more appropriate for an automated world. It originates in the pedagogical theory of John Dewey and leads, at the end of the 20th century, to Mortimer Adler’s Paideia Proposal. What distinguishes the two thinkers is their political orientation. Both dream of a fully automated classless society, but while the way for Dewey is the socialization of the means of production, for Adler it is a radical improvement of capitalism. The two pedagogical proposals, although similar in many respects, are affected by this difference of political creed.

Article history

Received 16 November 2022. Revised 30 November 2022. Accepted 07 December 2022. Published online 16 January 2023