Quotations by Whitehead, Alfred North


Nothing is more curious than the self-satisfied dogmatism with which mankind at each period of its history cherishes the delusion of the finality of its existing modes of knowledge.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
“John Dewey and His Influence” (1), The Philosophy of John Dewey [ed. P. Schlipp] (1939)
Added on 22-Oct-09 | Last updated 22-Oct-09
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The thorough skeptic is a dogmatist. He enjoys the delusion of complete futility.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
“Mathematics and the Good,” The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, ed. Paul A. Schilpp (1941)
Added on 1-Aug-14 | Last updated 1-Aug-14
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Ninety percent of our lives is governed by emotion. Our brains merely register and act upon what is telegraphed to them by our bodily experience. Intellect is to emotion as our clothes are to our bodies; we could not very well have civilized life without clothes, but we would be in a poor way if we had only clothes without bodies.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
(10 Jun 1943), Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead [rec. L. Price (1954)]
Added on 19-Nov-09 | Last updated 19-Nov-09
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The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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We think in generalities, but we live in details.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Every really new idea looks crazy at first.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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We think in generalities, but we live in detail.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 12-May-04
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Where there is a creed, there is a heretic around the corner or in his grave.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
Adventures of Ideas, 4.3 (1933)
Added on 21-May-09 | Last updated 21-May-09
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Machiavelli wrote rules for a short-term success.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead, 18 July 1939 [rec. Lucien Price] (1954)
Added on 31-Oct-11 | Last updated 31-Oct-11
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Ideas won’t keep. Something must be done about them.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead, 28 Apr 1939 (1954)
Added on 5-Jun-12 | Last updated 5-Jun-12
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The events which we see, and which look like freaks of chance, are only the last steps in long lines of causation.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead, 5 May 1943 [rec. Lucien Price (1954)]
Added on 20-Aug-10 | Last updated 20-Aug-10
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Dogmatism is the anti-Christ of learning.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
Modes of Thought, 1.3 (1938)
Added on 21-Oct-09 | Last updated 21-Oct-09
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It is the business of the future to be dangerous.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
Science and the Modern World (1925)
Added on 21-Apr-15 | Last updated 21-Apr-15
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In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of a defeat: but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards a victory. This is one great reason for the utmost toleration of variety of opinion. Once and forever, this duty of toleration has been summed up in the words, “let both grow together until the harvest.”

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
Science and the Modern World, ch. 12 (1925)

Reference is to Matthew 13:30.

Added on 8-Jul-10 | Last updated 8-Jul-10
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The function of University is to enable you to shed details in favor of principles.

Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) English mathematician and philosopher
The Aims of Education and Other Essays, II (1929)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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