Arthur Fisher Bentley

Bentley, Arthur Fisher, 1870–1957, American political scientist and philosopher, b. Freeport, Ill., studied Johns Hopkins (B.A., 1892; Ph.D., 1895) and Univ. of Berlin. After a year teaching at the Univ. of Chicago, he wrote for Chicago newspapers. In 1911 he moved to Paoli, Ind., where he wrote a number of books and gained a reputation as one of the country's leading intellectuals. While still in Chicago, Bentley published The Process of Government: A Study of Social Pressures (1908), his most famous work; it had great influence among social scientists, particularly from the 1930s to 50s. In it, Bentley championed the concept of pluralism in political science, maintaining that politics, government, and social movements are products of the interactions and pressures of various interest groups. In addition to his work in the philosophy of social science, Bentley also made significant contributions to the philosophy of science, logic, epistemology, and linguistics. His other books include Relativity in Man and Society (1926), Behavior, Knowledge, Fact (1935), Knowing and the Known (with John Dewey, 1949), and the posthumously published Makers, Users, and Masters (1969).

See John Dewey and Arthur F. Bentley: A Philosophical Correspondence (1964), ed. by S. and J. Altman; studies by P. F. Kress (1970) and J. F. Ward (1984).

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