Reconstruction in Philosophy presents a program for just that: a radical re-building of western philosophy. Dewey criticizes the current state of affairs as being tied to the past in ways that are no longer relevent to the current world. He traces the creation of various social institutions, then shows how these actions of ancient times, such as creation of ancient philosophical traditions (such as the idea of a split between "higher" and "lower" reality cf. Plato), which although useful in their time, now [slows] intellectual progress. Dewey puts forth the argument that much of modern philosophy (and human thought in general) is concerned with the same problems that the ancients were concerned with, although those problems are no longer relevent. Rather, philosophy should concern itself with current issues of social, economic, or political importance, and ask what can be done to improve them? Dewey's method is concerned with concrete solutions to concrete problems. Rather than over-broad generalizations about "the State" or "Life", we must ask think of answers to problems concerning this individual state, or that individual person. Likewise, he advocates dropping the notion of the Universal having more importance than the Particular; doing so, he claims, leads to intellectual laziness, and a denial that problems exist (extreme optimism). Rather, human intelligence must be focused on particular problems, with an eye towards improving that particular situation.
This often-overlooked book is the perfect antidote to the image of the philosopher as an out-of-touch abstract intellectual,