Bill Caspary received both his B.S. and M.S. in physics and his Ph.D. in political science. His teaching interests are primarily in democratic theory, ethics, and democracy and education. He also teaches peace Studies, conflict resolution, political psychology, and philosophy of science. Caspary's activism in the peace movement during the 1960s led him to change his academic focus from physics to political science, but his physics background led to an ongoing interest in philosophy of science and philosophy of social science. Prior to coming to Gallatin, he taught political theory for 30 years at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to his teaching and political action, he has worked as an educational consultant, ombudsman, and mediator. Caspary's recent scholarship focused on the pragmatist tradition in American thought, especially the democratic and ethical theories of John Dewey. He is the author of Dewey on Democracy (Cornell University Press, 2000) and numerous articles in scholarly journals. His current scholarly work is on the history of ethical philosophy, with an emphasis on the ethics of dissent. The American Political Science Association gave him a Distinguished Career Award in 2002.
Teaching and Research Interests
social and political thought; democratic theory; education theory and practice; political psychology - including humanistic and psychoanalytic psychology; philosophy of ethics; philosophy of science; peace studies, including conflict resolution
B.S. Physics, Wesleyan University, 1958 M.S. Physics, University of Chicago, 1960 M.A. Political Science, Northwestern University, 1962 Ph.D. Political Science, Northwestern University, 1968
Professor Bill Caspary was awarded a 2014-2015 Gallatin Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award recognizes educators for their outstanding teaching; their ability to inspire their students; a pedagogical approach that is creative and rigorous; expert advising and mentoring skills; and contributions to their field.
He delivered his paper: "Agonism, Meliorism, and Conflict Resolution in the Political Theory of William James” at the Association for Political Theory Annual Meeting, Madison Wisconsin, October 18, 2014. He delivered the lecture “The Continuing Relevance of John Dewey to Progressive Education” to the Ethical Education Study Group, New York, New York in October 2014. Professor Caspary presented “The Struggle for Fundamental Change,” at the April 2014 University Seminar on Innovation in Education, held at Columbia University. For the Northeast Political Science Association’s annual meeting, held in Philadelphia, PA, in November 2013, he read “Contempt and Envy in Political Theory.” He participated in the Meta-Ethics Seminar at the October 2013 Association for Political Theory, held at Vanderbilt University.