AbstractThe paper argues that Dewey’s ethics are based on a naturalistic theory of value. This unusual interpretation questions the anti-naturalist reading of Dewey in the wake of Richard Rorty and other neo-pragmatists. In order to defend this interpretation, I develop a genealogy of Dewey’s pragmatic naturalism: It has a ’father’ in the progressivist movement, and a ’sister’ in the Chicago Sociology. A closer look at Frank L. Ward, Albion Small, W. I. Thomas and Robert Park helps to reconstruct the political dynamics of the progressivist programme of naturalistic values. This contextualization may also correct some of the shortcomings of Dewey’s own version: Some pragmatic sociologists spelled out the noncomformist individualism more clearly than Dewey’s philosophy did. Finally I suggest that this approach is still relevant today.