Alfred Whitehead

1861 - 1947

A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on books, civilization, habits, opposites, people, and thinking

It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

Source: An Introduction to Mathematics.

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on art, change, order, and progress

The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on existence

Disputing the commonsense notion that all events require the prior existence of some underlying matter or substance. There is no antecedent static cabinet.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on distrust and simplicity

Seek simplicity, and distrust it.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

Source: W.H. Auden and L. Kronenberger The Viking Book of Aphorisms, New York: Viking Press, 1966.

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on questions

The "silly question" is the first intimation of some totally new development.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on circumstances

[In many circumstances,] the most important thing about a proposition is not that it be true, but that it be interesting.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on assumptions, change, circumstances, and impossibility

"One and one make two" assumes that the changes in the shift of circumstance are unimportant. But it is impossible for us to analyze this notion of unimportant change.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

Source: W.H. Auden and L. Kronenberger The Viking Book of Aphorisms, New York: Viking Press, 1966.

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on concern, existence, and information

So far as the mere imparting of information is concerned, no university has had any justification for existence since the popularization of printing in the fifteenth century.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

Source: The Aims of Education.

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on mathematics and science

Mathematics as a science, commenced when first someone, probably a Greek, proved propositions about "any" things or about "some" things, without specifications of definite particular things.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

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A Quote by Alfred North Whitehead on boredom, earth, and god

The merely well-informed man is the most useless bore on God's earth.

Alfred Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

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