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Whitehead, Alfred N.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947), the British mathematician, philosopher, and educational theorist, is best known for his work with Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) on the foundations of mathematics in the three-volume Principia Mathematica (1910, 1912, 1913). He is, however, also known for his views on education, including his claim that abstract ideas must be related to students’ experience and interests for them to learn. This entry discusses central concepts in Whitehead’s theory of education and his lasting influence in the field.

During the publication of Principia Mathematica, Whitehead left the University of Cambridge for London, and he had no permanent position until 1914 when he became professor of applied mathematics at Imperial College.

While he was in London, Whitehead became increasingly interested in questions of education. His interest was ...

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