Alfred North Whitehead Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Alfred North Whitehead Quotes

#1. What the learned world tends to offer is one second-hand scrap of information illustrating ideas derived from another second-hand scrap of information. The second-handedness of the learned world is the secret of its mediocrity. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#2. The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order. Life refuses to be embalmed alive. The more prolonged the halt in some unrelieved system of order, the greater the crash of the dead society. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#3. 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. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#4. Seek simplicity but distrust it. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#5. Speak out in acts; the time for words has passed, and only deeds will suffice. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#6. The fixed person for the fixed duties who in older societies was such a godsend, in future will be a public danger. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#7. A general definition of civilization: a civilized society is exhibiting the fine qualities of truth, beauty, adventure, art, peace. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#8. The study of mathematics is apt to commence in disappointment ... We are told that by its aid the stars are weighed and the billions of molecules in a drop of water are counted. Yet, like the ghost of Hamlet's father, this great science eludes the efforts of our mental weapons to grasp it. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#9. Every really new idea looks crazy at first. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#10. To come very near to a true theory, and to grasp its precise application, are two different things, as the history of science teaches us. Everything of importance has been said before by someone who did not discover it. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#11. The misconception which has haunted philosophic literature throughout the centuries is the notion of 'independent existence.' There is no such mode of existence; every entity is to be understood in terms of the way it is interwoven with the rest of the universe. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#12. Great people plant trees they'll never sit under. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#13. Each human being is a more complex structure than any social system to which he belongs. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#14. The result of teaching small parts of a large number of subjects is the passive reception of disconnected ideas, not illumed with any spark of vitality. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#15. No period of history has ever been great or ever can be that does not act on some sort of high, idealistic motives, and idealism in our time has been shoved aside, and we are paying the penalty for it. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#16. Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of life is to grasp as much as we can out of that infinitude. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#17. Each generation criticizes the unconscious assumptions made by its parent. It may assent to them, but it brings them out in the open. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#18. Art heightens the sense of humanity. It gives an elation to feeling which is supernatural ... A million sunsets will not spur us on towards civilization. It requires Art to evoke into consciousness the finite perfections which lie ready for human achievement. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#19. On the ostensible exactitude of certain branches of human knowledge, including mathematics. The exactness is a fake. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#20. True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#21. Error itself may be happy chance. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#22. It takes an extraordinary intelligence to contemplate the obvious. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#23. Every intellectual revolution which has ever stirred humanity into greatness has been a passionate protest against inert ideas. Then, alas, with pathetic ignorance of human psychology, it has proceeded by some educational scheme to bind humanity afresh with inert ideas of its own fashioning. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#24. Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and humane feeling. Scraps of information have nothing to do with it. A merely well informed man is the most useless bore on God's earth. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#25. Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#26. Art flourishes where there is a sense of adventure. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#27. Civilizations can only be understood by those who are civilized. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#28. The oneness of the universe, and the oneness of each element of the universe, repeat themselves to the crack of doom in the creative advance from creature to creature, each creature including in itself the whole of history and exemplifying the self-identity of things and their mutual diversities. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#29. With the sense of sight, the idea communicates the emotion, whereas, with sound, the emotion communicates the idea, which is more direct and therefore more powerful. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#30. Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#31. It is this union of passionate interest in the detailed facts with equal devotion to abstract generalisation which forms the novelty in our present society . - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#32. We must not expect simple answers to far-reaching questions. However far our gaze penetrates, there are always heights beyond which block our vision. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#33. Common sense is genius in homespun. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#34. In order to acquire learning, we must first shake ourselves free of it. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#35. Our rate of progress is such that an individual human being, of ordinary length of life, will be called on to face novel situations which find no parallel in his past. The fixed person, for the fixed duties, who, in older societies was such a godsend, in the future will be a public danger. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#36. The greatest invention of the nineteenth century was the invention of the method of invention. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#37. It is natural to think that an abstract science cannot be of much importance in affairs of human life, because it has omitted from its consideration everything of real interest. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#38. Speech is human nature itself, with none of the artificiality of written language. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#39. The physical doctrine of the atom has got into a state which is strongly suggestive of the epicycles of astronomy before Copernicus . - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#40. Without adventure civilization is in full decay. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#41. The vigor of civilized societies is preserved by the widespread sense that high aims are worth-while. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#42. The foundation of reverence is this perception, that the present holds within itself the complete sum of existence, backwards and forwards, that whole amplitude of time, which is eternity. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#43. Our habitual experience is a complex of failure and success in the enterprise of interpretation. If we desire a record of uninterpreted experience, we must ask a stone to record its autobiography. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#44. Value is coextensive with reality. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#45. How the past perishes is how the future becomes. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#46. Philosophy is the self-correction by consciousness of its own initial excess of subjectivity. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#47. Learning is often spoken of as if we are watching the open pages of all the books which we have ever read, and then, when occasion arises, we select the right page to read aloud to the universe. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#48. The difference between ancients and moderns is that the ancients asked what have we experienced, and moderns asked what can we experience. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#49. Religion is the last refuge of human savagery. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#50. As society is now constituted, a literal adherence to the moral precepts scattered throughout the Gospels would mean sudden death. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#51. The learned tradition is not concerned with truth, but with the learned adjustment of learned statements of antecedent learned people. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#52. The justification for a university is that it preserves the connection between knowledge and the zest of life, by uniting the young and the old in the imaginative consideration of learning. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#53. Intolerance is the besetting sin of moral fervour. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#54. Thus the negative perception is the triumph of consciousness. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#55. Great dreamers' dreams are never fulfilled, they are always transcended. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#56. No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#57. A Unitarian is a person who believes in at most one God. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#58. Other nations of different habits are not enemies: they are godsends. Men require of their neighbours something sufficiently akin to be understood, something sufficiently different to provoke attention, and something great enough to command admiration. We must not expect, however, all the virtues. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#59. An unflinching determination to take the whole evidence into account is the only method of preservation against the fluctuating extremes of fashionable opinion. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#60. In its solitariness the spirit asks, What, in the way of value, is the attainment of life? And it can find no such value till it has merged its individual claim with that of the objective universe. Religion is world-loyalty. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#61. It is presupposed that no entity can be conceived in complete abstraction from the system of the universe, and that it is the business of speculative philosophy to exhibit this truth. This character is its coherence. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#62. The term many presupposes the term one , and the term one presupposes the term many. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#63. The paradox is now fully established that the utmost abstractions are the true weapons with which to control our thought of concrete fact. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#64. The task of a university is the creation of the future, so far as rational thought and civilized modes of appreciation can affect the issue. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#65. I have suffered a great deal from writers who have quoted this or that sentence of mine either out of its context or in juxtaposition to some incongruous matter which quite distorted my meaning, or destroyed it altogether. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#66. We must produce a great age, or see the collapse of the upward striving of our race. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#67. Do not teach too many subjects and what you teach, teach thoroughly. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#68. The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#69. By relieving the brain of all unnecessary work, a good notation sets it free to concentrate on more advanced problems, and in effect increases the mental power of the race. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#70. The antithesis between a technical and a liberal education is fallacious. There can be no adequate technical education which is not liberal, and no liberal education which is not technical. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#71. It is the business of future to be dangerous ... The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#72. But in the prevalent discussion of classes, there are illegitimate transitions to the notions of a 'nexus' and of a 'proposition'. The appeal to a class to perform the services of a proper entity is exactly analogous to an appeal to an imaginary terrier to kill a real rat.
Process and Reality - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#73. The degeneracy of mankind is distinguished from its uprise by the dominance of chill abstractions, divorced from aesthetic content. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#74. It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#75. No science can be more secure than the unconscious metaphysics which tacitly it presupposes. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#76. The defense of morals is the battle-cry which best rallies stupidity against change. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#77. The ultimate metaphysical ground is the creative advance into novelty. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#78. We think in generalities, but we live in details. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#79. A man of science doesn't discover in order to know, he wants to know in order to discover. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#80. No religion can be considered in abstraction from its followers, or even from its various types of followers. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#81. Without adventure all civilization is full of decay. Adventure rarely reaches its predetermined end. Columbus never reached China. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#82. But you can catch yourself entertaining habitually certain ideas and setting others aside; and that, I think, is where our personal destinies are largely decided. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#83. Simple solutions seldom are. It takes a very unusual mind to undertake analysis of the obvious. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#84. It is not paradox to say that in our most theoretical moods we may be nearest to our most practical applications. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#85. The chief error in philosophy is overstatement. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#86. The worst that happened to men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof, before dying peacefully in his bed. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#87. The importance of an individual thinker owes something to chance. For it depends upon the fate of his ideas in the minds of his successors. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#88. Identification of rhythm as the casual counterpart of life; wherever there is some life, only perceptible to us when the analogies are sufficiently close. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#89. But harmony is limitation. Thus rightness of limitation is essential for growth of reality. Unlimited possibility and abstract creativity can procure nothing. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#90. The fact of the religious vision, and its history of persistent expansion, is our one ground for optimism. Apart from it, human life is a flash of occasional enjoyments lighting up a mass of pain and misery, a bagatelle of transient experience. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#91. The only justification in the use of force is to reduce the amount of force necessary to be used. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#92. Religion is what a person does in his solitariness. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#93. Human life is driven forward by its dim apprehension of notions too general for its existing language. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#94. The ideas of Freud were popularized by people who only imperfectly understood them, who were incapable of the great effort required to grasp them in their relationship to larger truths, and who therefore assigned to them a prominence out of all proportion to their true importance. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#95. There is no greater hindrance to the progress of thought than an attitude of irritated party-spirit. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#96. One main factor in the upward trend of animal life has been the power of wandering. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#97. God is the unlimited conceptual realization of the absolute wealth of potentiality. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#98. In the conditions of modern life the rule is absolute, the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#99. We cannot think first and act afterwards. From the moment of birth we are immersed in action and can only guide it by taking thought. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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#100. Science is a river with two sources, the practical source and the theoretical source. - Author: Alfred North Whitehead
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