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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 North Whitehead
The science of pure mathematics ... may claim to be the most original creation of the human spirit.
—  Alfred North Whitehead
Algebra reverses the relative importance of the factors in ordinary language. It is essentially a written language, and it endeavors to exemplify in its written structures the patterns which it is its purpose to convey. The pattern of the marks on paper is a particular instance of the pattern to be conveyed to thought. The algebraic method is our best approach to the expression of necessity, by reason of its reduction of accident to the ghostlike character of the real variable.
—  Alfred North Whitehead
It is a safe rule to apply that, when a mathematical or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense.
—  Alfred North Whitehead
Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it.
—  Alfred North Whitehead
It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
—  Alfred North Whitehead
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 North Whitehead
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.
—  Alfred North Whitehead
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.
—  Alfred North Whitehead
To be an abstraction does not mean that an entity is nothing. It merely means that its existence is only a factor of a more concrete element of nature.
—  Alfred North Whitehead

       

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