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Alfred North Whitehead
1861 - 1947

British mathematician, Harvard philosopher, collaborator with Bertrand Russell on Principia Mathematica, author of Modes of Thought and Adventures of Ideas, Essays in Science and Philosophy (1947) and other works

Books by Alfred North Whitehead
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Adventures of Ideas
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Modes of Thought
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Civilizations can only be understood by those who are civilized.

Civilization is the maintenance of social order, by its own inherent persuasiveness as embodying the nobler alternative. The recourse to force, however unavoidable, is a disclosure of the failure of civilization, either in the general society or in a remnant of individuals.

from "From Force to Persuasion", in Adventures of Ideas
Common sense is genius in homespun.

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

We think in generalities, but we live in detail.

Apart from blunt truth, our lives sink decadently amid the perfume of hints and suggestions.

1966 - quoted in The Viking Book of Aphorisms, Auden and Kronenberger, Viking Press, New York
Simple solutions seldom are. It takes a very unusual mind to undertake analysis of the obvious.