The Ralph Barton Perry Model of Education

Ralph Barton Perry was Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University in the first half of the 20th century. A brief biographical sketch appears in Appendix 25.

The Ralph Barton Perry model of education is set forth in the following book:

Ira S. Steinberg, Ralph Barton Perry on Education for Democracy (1970), Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press.

In this work, Steinberg has collected, edited, and integrated a variety of contributions from Perry to form a connected pattern for educational organization and activity, with well-defined purposes, connected to society.

Like many other scholars of education, Perry believed that education should be perceived in terms of outcomes, and NOT in terms of activities. The outcomes should be dually-centered; one part being in the individual learner, the other part in the society; with emphasis on the relationship of the individual to the society.

One of the predecessors of Perry at Harvard (a student, but NOT a faculty member) was Charles Sanders Peirce. Peirce likewise believed that the university must emphasize learning, as opposed to teaching. The latter implies too many restrictions, too much power to the lecture, and too much intermediate measurement of success, as opposed to the way in which education contributes to the broader life of society. A biosketch of Peirce also appears in Appendix 25.

The embodiment of Perry's philosophy, as set forth herein, is supported conceptually by the following authors:

R. L. Ackoff, "Toward an Idealized University" (1968), Management Science 15(4), B121-131.

E. Jantsch, "Inter- and Transdisciplinary University: A Systems Approach to Education and Innovation" (1970), Policy Sciences 1, 403-428.

F. Turner, "Design for a New Academy" (1986), Harpers, September, 47-53.

J. N. Warfield, "Cybernetics, Systems Science, and the Great University" (1990), Systems Research 7(4), 287-294.