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Modes of Learning

Whitehead's Metaphysics and the Stages of Education

George Allan

Publication Year: 2012

A highly accessible reading of Whitehead’s writings on education and their connection to his metaphysics.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 1-8

There is nothing more important than a good education—the kind of education needed in order to become a good person and a good citizen, a responsible adult member of political, cultural, and natural communities. In this book I will...

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Chapter 1: The Rhythm of Learning

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pp. 9-33

Whitehead argues that the first stage of learning should be that of Romance, in which students are encouraged to explore in as wide ranging and adventurous a way as possible the natural and cultural worlds in which they live. The mood is appreciative and inclusive....

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Chapter 2: Learning Helically

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pp. 35-57

In the previous chapter, I have presented Whitehead’s ideas about the rhythm of learning as they are found in The Aims of Education. I have ranged far beyond his few examples in attempting to illustrate what his ideas mean, and my arguments on behalf of those ideas are obviously of my own invention, or where...

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Chapter 3: Learning to Be Free

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pp. 59-89

In this chapter, I will shift our focus from aesthetics to epistemology, mapping Whitehead’s stages of education onto the theory of knowledge he develops in Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect. The parallels are to be expected; learning, after all, is a process of coming to know things....

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Chapter 4: Learning to Reason

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pp. 91-118

King Solomon dreams that he asks the Lord for an understanding mind, one able to distinguish good from evil, so that he might be able to govern his people wisely. The Lord grants the king’s wish but then also gives him, unasked, riches and honor and long life....

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Chapter 5: Learning to Create the Future

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pp. 119-159

We come now to the last of Whitehead’s metaphysical writings, Modes of Thought. Although the three previous books that we have considered are also metaphysical, their attention is directed to limited domains. This book is concerned with metaphysics itself....

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Chapter 6: Learning to Be Good

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pp. 161-187

Whitehead’s rhythm of learning has been portrayed in prior chapters as a cycle moving from romance to precision, these polar opposites then reconciled in generalization. This cycle recurs in every sort of learning situation: in each daily class session, throughout a semester-long course, during the whole of a school year,...

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Chapter 7: Recollecting

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pp. 189-215

After explicating in the first chapter of this book Whitehead’s three stages of education, I attempted in the subsequent five chapters to expand and deepen what the stages mean by drawing analogies between them and triads of concepts from some of Whitehead’s metaphysical writings. Each analogy has been unique, an attempt...

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pp. 217-218

I have attempted over the course of this book to develop analogies between the three stages of education Whitehead discusses in the first two chapters of The Aims of Education and the triplets of ideas found in four of Whitehead’s metaphysical writings.

Works Cited

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pp. 219-222


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pp. 223-229

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781438441894
E-ISBN-10: 1438441894
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438441870
Print-ISBN-10: 1438441878

Page Count: 238
Publication Year: 2012