Quantcast Alfred North Whitehead


Panentheism.  Revisionism.  Anarchocapitalism.



Essays by Me

Essays by Others

From Whose Togas I Dangle

Alfred North Whitehead


By Whitehead

About Whitehead

Philosophy is the welding of imagination and common sense into a restraint upon specialists, and also into an enlargement of their imaginations. By providing the generic notions philosophy should make it easier to conceive the infinite variety of specific instances which rest unrealised in the womb of nature.

Process and Reality

Philosophy, in one of its functions, is the critic of cosmologies. It is its function to harmonise, re-fashion, and justify divergent intuitions as to the nature of things. It has to insist on the scrutiny of the ultimate ideas, and on the retention of the whole of the evidence in shaping our cosmological scheme. Its business is to render explicit, andso far as may beefficient, a process which otherwise is unconsciously performed without rational tests.

Science and the Modern World

Philosophy is not a mere collection of noble sentiments. A deluge of such sentiments does more harm than good. . . . It is notor, at least, should not bea fero-cious debate between irritable professors. It is a survey of possibilities and their comparison with actualities. In philosophy, the fact, the theory, the alternatives, and the ideal, are weighed together. Its gifts are insight and foresight, and a sense of the worth of life, in short, that sense of importance which nerves all civilised effort. Mankind can flourish in the lower stages of life with merely barbaric flashes of thought. But when civilisa-tion culminates, the absence of a co-ordinating philoso-phy of life, spread throughout the community, spells decadence, boredom, and the slackening of effort.

Adventures of Ideas

The philosophic attitude is a resolute attempt to enlarge the understanding of the scope of application of every notion which enters into our current thought. The philosophic attempt takes every word, and every phrase, in the verbal expression of thought, and asks, What does it mean? It refuses to be satisfied by the conventional presupposition that every sensible person knows the answer. As soon as you rest satisfied with primitive ideas, and with primitive propositions, you have ceased to be a philosopher.

Modes of Thought