( British mathematician and philosopher )
15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947

Alfred North Whitehead Quotes

Get your knowledge quickly and then use it. If you can use it you will retain it.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Common sense is genius in homespun.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Philosophy is the product of wonder.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Simple solutions seldom are. It takes a very unusual mind to undertake analysis of the obvious.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Nobody has a right to speak more clearly than he thinks.

- Alfred North Whitehead

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.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Wisdom is the fruit of a balanced development.

- Alfred North Whitehead

In the conditions of modern life the rule is absolute, the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Seek simplicity but distrust it.

- Alfred North Whitehead

A science that hesitates to forget its founders is lost.

- Alfred North Whitehead

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Religion is what an individual does with his solitariness.

- Alfred North Whitehead

We think in generalities, but we live in detail. To make the past live, we must perceive it in detail in addition to thinking of it in generalities.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Knowledge shrinks as wisdom grows.

- Alfred North Whitehead

When you’re average, you’re just as close to the bottom as you are the top.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance is the death of knowledge.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.

- Alfred North Whitehead

If a dog jumps into your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Philosophy begins in wonder. And at the end when philosophic thought has done its best the wonder remains.

- Alfred North Whitehead

From the very beginning of his education, the child should experience the joy of discovery.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Man can acquire accomplishments or he can become an animal, whichever he wants. God makes the animals, man makes himself.

- Alfred North Whitehead
Nature is probably quite indifferent to the aesthetic preferences of mathematicians.

Nature is probably quite indifferent to the aesthetic preferences of mathematicians.

- Alfred North Whitehead

The only simplicity to be trusted is the simplicity to be found on the far side of complexity.

- Alfred North Whitehead

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.

- Alfred North Whitehead

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

Almost all new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are first produced.

- Alfred North Whitehead

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.

- Alfred North Whitehead

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.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Life is complex in its expression, involving more than percipience, namely desire, emotion, will, and feeling.

- Alfred North Whitehead

An enormous part of our mature experience can not be expressed in words.

- Alfred North Whitehead

I would be a billionaire if I was looking to be a selfish boss. That’s not me.

- Alfred North Whitehead

We think in generalities, but we live in details.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Fundamental progress has to do with the reinterpretation of basic ideas.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Periods of tranquility are seldom prolific of creative achievement. Mankind has to be stirred up.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Error is the price we pay for progress.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Ideas won’t keep; something must be done about them.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Rationalism is an adventure in the clarification of thought.

- Alfred North Whitehead

The point about zero is that we do not need to use it in the operation of daily life. No one goes out to buy zero fish.

- Alfred North Whitehead

What is morality in any given time or place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like and immorality is what they dislike.

- Alfred North Whitehead

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

- Alfred North Whitehead

Great dreamers’ dreams are never fulfilled, they are always transcended.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Fools act on imagination without knowledge, pedants act on knowledge without imagination.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Human life is driven forward by its dim apprehension of notions too general for its existing language.

- Alfred North Whitehead

It is in literature that the concrete outlook of humanity receives its expression.

- Alfred North Whitehead

The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Every really new idea looks crazy at first.

- Alfred North Whitehead

Speak out in acts; the time for words has passed, and only deeds will suffice.

- Alfred North Whitehead