# Mathematician:Alfred North Whitehead

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## Mathematician

English mathematician who also studied philosophy.

Best known for his co-authorship with Bertrand Arthur William Russell of *Principia Mathematica*, published from 1910.

Uncle of John Henry Constantine Whitehead.

## Nationality

English

## History

- Born: 15 Feb 1861 in Ramsgate, Isle of Thanet, Kent, England
- Died: 30 Dec 1947 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

## Publications

- 1898:
*A Treatise on Universal Algebra, with Applications* - 1910 -- 1913:
*Principia Mathematica*(with Bertrand Russell):- 1910:
*Principia Mathematica, Volume 1*(with Bertrand Russell) - 1912:
*Principia Mathematica, Volume 2*(with Bertrand Russell) - 1913:
*Principia Mathematica, Volume 3*(with Bertrand Russell)

- 1910:
- 1911:
*An Introduction to Mathematics* - 1920:
*The Concept of Nature* - 1925:
*Science and the Modern World*

## Notable Quotes

*It is a safe rule to apply that, when a mathematician or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense.*($1911$)- -- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*:*They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say*

- -- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell:

*... by the aid of symbolism, we can make transitions in reasoning almost mechanically by the eye, which otherwise would call into play the higher faculties of the brain.*- --
*An Introduction to Mathematics*($1911$), quoted in 1973: Irving M. Copi:*Symbolic Logic*: $1$ Introduction: Logic and Language: $1.4$: Symbolic Logic

- --

*I regret that it has been necessary for me in this lecture to administer such a large dose of four-dimensional geometry. I do not apologise, because I am really not responsible for the fact that nature in its most fundamental aspect is four-dimensional. Things are what they are.*- --
*The Concept of Nature*($1920$) - -- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*:*They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say*

- --

*The science of Pure Mathematics, in its modern developments, may claim to be the most original creation of the human spirit.*- --
*Science and the Modern World*($1925$) - -- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*:*They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say*

- --

*Give up illusions about ideas of order, accept nothing of inherited norm. Spread joy and revolution. It is the business of the future to be dangerous.*- --
*Science and the Modern World*($1925$) - -- Also found on the original LP cover of Space Ritual by Hawkwind.

- --

*The death of Archimedes at the hands of a Roman soldier is symbolic of a world change of the first magnitude. The Romans were a great race, but they were cursed by the sterility which waits upon practicality. They were not dreamers enough to arrive at new points of view, which could give more fundamental control over the forces of nature. No Roman lost his life because he was absorbed in the contemplation of a mathematical diagram.*- -- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*: Chapter $\text{II}$: Modern Minds in Ancient Bodies

- -- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell:

*The development of Western philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato.*

## Sources

- John J. O'Connor and Edmund F. Robertson: "Alfred North Whitehead": MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

- 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*... (next):*They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say* - 1946: Alfred Tarski:
*Introduction to Logic and to the Methodology of Deductive Sciences*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): $\S \text{II}.6$: Logical Constants (footnote) - 1951: Willard Van Orman Quine:
*Mathematical Logic*(revised ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Introduction - 1959: A.H. Basson and D.J. O'Connor:
*Introduction to Symbolic Logic*(3rd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $\text I$ Introductory: $1$. Symbolic Logic and Classical Logic - 1973: Irving M. Copi:
*Symbolic Logic*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): $1$ Introduction: Logic and Language: $1.4$: Symbolic Logic - 1998: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Whitehead, Alfred North**(1861-1947) - 2008: David Nelson:
*The Penguin Dictionary of Mathematics*(4th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Whitehead, Alfred North**(1861-1947) - 2014: Christopher Clapham and James Nicholson:
*The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Mathematics*(5th ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Entry:**Whitehead, Alfred North**(1861-1947)