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Philosphy Sunday
Fred Venditti will be leading a discussion on Alfred North Whitehead and his philosophy of education. Talk starts at 10:30 at the candy factory but come early for coffee and treats. Below is some pre-reading that Fred asked to pass on to you.


Alfred N. Whitehead (1861 - 1947) laid out his ideas regarding education in The Aims of Education and Other Essays (A Mentor Book published by the New American Library, 1961). Our discussion focuses on views set forth in this volume.

The aim or goal of education: “...the most complete achievement of varied activity expressing the potentialities of that living creature in face of its actual environment.” (50)

Education: “The acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge.” (16)

Wisdom: “...the way knowledge is held. It concerns the handling of knowledge, its selection for the determination of relevant issues, its employment to add value to our immediate experience.” (41)

Education must impart “...the intimate sense for the powers of ideas, for the beauty of ideas, and for the structure of ideas, together with a body of knowledge which has peculiar reference to the life of the being possessing it.” (23)

Whitehead’s core curriculum: native and foreign languages, literature (particularly the classics), elements of formal science, and mathematics. To the degree that these subjects are omitted from an individual’s study, regardless of his probable educational or vocational destination, his total development will suffer.

Whitehead’s view of intellectual growth: In broad form, it passes from infancy to manhood through three great cycles -- the cycle of romance, the cycle of precision, and the cycle of generalization. All learning proceeds in three-phase cycles.

Maximum attention must be paid to the individual student and, in particular, to the growth or learning cycle he is in during a given educational moment.

Both freedom and discipline are essential for the student.

Related Link: More info here

Posted by dbuck
Sept. 19, 2003