# Letters

# A.N. Whitehead

Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947), Cambridge-educated mathematician and philosopher. From 1884 to 1910 he was a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and lecturer in mathematics there; from 1911 to 1924 he taught in London, first at University College and then at the Imperial College of Science and Technology; in 1924 he took up a professorship in philosophy at Harvard and spent the rest of his life in America. BR took mathematics courses with him as an undergraduate, which led to a lifelong friendship. Whitehead’s first major work was *A Treatise on Universal Algebra* (1898), which treated selected mathematical theories as “systems of symbolic reasoning”. Like BR’s *The Principles of Mathematics* (1903), it was intended as the first of two volumes; but in 1900 he and BR discovered Giuseppe Peano’s work in symbolic logic, and each decided to set aside his projected second volume to work together on a more comprehensive treatment of mathematics using Peano’s methods. The result was the three volumes of *Principia Mathematica* (1910–13), which occupied the pair for over a decade. After *Principia *was published, Whitehead’s interests, like BR’s, turned to the empirical sciences and, finally, after his move to America, to pure metaphysics. See Victor Lowe, *Alfred North Whitehead: the Man and His Work*, 2 vols. (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins U. P., 1985–90).