Alfred North Whitehead
English mathematician and philosopher (1861-1947)
Alfred North Whitehead was an English mathematician and philosopher. He is best known as the defining figure of the philosophical school known as process philosophy, which today has found application to a wide variety of disciplines, including ecology, theology, education, physics, biology, economics, and psychology, among other areas.
Alfred North Whitehead Quotes Page 6
It is more important that a proposition be interesting than that it be true. This statement is almost a tautology. For the energy of operation of a proposition in an occasion of experience is its interest and is its importance. But of course a true proposition is more apt to be interesting than a false one.
Algebra is the intellectual instrument which has been created for rendering clear the quantitative aspects of the world.
In the study of ideas, it is necessary to remember that insistence on hard-headed clarity issues from sentimental feeling, as it were a mist, cloaking the perplexities of fact. Insistence on clarity at all costs is based on sheer superstition as to the mode in which human intelligence functions. Our reasonings grasp at straws for premises and float on gossamers for deductions.
Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations that we can perform without thinking about them.
No Roman ever died in contemplation over a geometrical diagram. A reference to the death of Archimedes.
On the ostensible exactitude of certain branches of human knowledge, including mathematics: The exactness is a fake.
It is as true to say that God is permanent and the World fluent, as that the World is permanent and God is fluent. It is as true to say that God is one and the World many, as that the World is one and God many. It is as true to say that, in comparison with the World, God is actual eminently, as that, in comparison with God, the World is actual eminently. It is as true to say that the World is immanent in God, as that God is immanent in the World. It is as true to say that God transcends the World, as that the World transcends God. It is as true to say that God creates the World, as that the World creates God.
Symbolism is no mere idle fancy or corrupt degeneration: it is inherent in the very texture of human life.
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