Castell, Alburey

Dr. Castell, Alburey (1904-1987) Canadian born, he taught in America after completing a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. His primary interests were in logic, mind, and education. Like Isaiah Berlin's hedgehog, Castell had a great single idea that he followed and developed everywhere. It was that there are two strikingly different modes of behavior: "activity" and "process." The mode of activity was the mode of a human being as he reasoned with other human beings and reasoned about the natural world. Castell's logic text, A College Logic, was a standard in the field before Copi's, and is a model text for a non-calculus logic. Logic describes the mode of activity of rational agents. In The Self In Philosophy, Castell presents his philosophy of mind, which asserts the necessity of a self as a presupposition of activity. Philosophy and the Teacher's World -a collection of essays on the philosophy of education -presents the implications of his logic and philosophy of mind for education. In addition to the above mentioned books, he wrote a widely used Introduction to Modern Philosophy, An Elementary Ethics, editions of several philosophical classics, scholarly papers, papers on liberal education, and numerous lectures for radio, television, and general university audiences. His insistence that psychology include the study of an agent and its activities, led his long-time colleague and adversary, B.F. Skinner, to write him into the novel Waldon Two as the villain Augustine Castle. Castell taught philosophy at the University of Minnesota from 1931 to 1941, at the University of Oregon from 1949 to 1963, and the College of Wooster from 1963 to 1974. He held visiting appointments and lectureships at numerous colleges and universities, including Columbia, Yale, Purdue, Washington, and Bowden.

Who Needs a Liberal Arts College? A Philosophy of Education by Alburey Castell
2005 0-7734-6181-7
Alburey Castell, a significant Twentieth Century American philosopher, turned his attention to issues in education at mid-point in his academic career. Engaged in an enduring polemic with scientism's effort to abolish personhood, most notably in B.F. Skinner's thought, Castell forged the concepts of "agency," "activity," and "process" to stake out the claims of personhood. Carrying such concepts as tools into the field of education, Castell drove a wedge between the humanities and the sciences. The person, or "self," reasons, while processes in the natural world are reasoned about. Logic is the description of the reasoned "activities" of the self, while laws of science are descriptions of the "processes" of nature. Applications to the everyday concerns of educators abound. Understanding the daily tasks in teaching presupposes knowledge of the logic of coming to know. Students are not stimulus-response mechanisms, but resourceful reasoners assembling connecting links to conclusions. The role of social science is exposed as a complex and open question. The issue of the aims of education is directed to the development of the individual person as a free and rational agent. This individual must come to understand himself and his place in the modern world. The modern world is aptly described as requiring a professional and managerial class with special educational needs. Castell then describes the function of the liberal arts college as providing the foundations for the special, further educational skills acquired at the graduate and professional school level.

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