definition

There must, moreover, not only be this reference to myself in distinguishing my acts from all those things that are not acts, but it must be a reference to myself as an active being. Another perfectly natural way of expressing this notion of my activity is to say that, in acting, I make something happen, I cause it, or bring it about. Now it does seem odd that philosophers should construe this natural way of expressing the matter as really meaning, not that I, but rather some event, process, or state not identical with myself should be the cause of that which is represented as my act. It is plain that, whatever I am, I am never identical with any such event, process, or state as is usually proposed as the "real cause" of my act, such as some intention or state of willing. Hence, if it is really and unmetaphorically true, as I believe it to be, that I sometimes cause something to happen, this would seem to entail that it is false that any event, process, or state not identical with myself should be the real cause of it. But it is not, in fact, hard to see why philosophers should want to insist that these natural ways of expressing the matter really mean something quite different from what they seem to mean; namely, that it has been the firm conviction of most philosophers for generations that in the case of any event that occurs, another event must be at least part of its cause. If, accordingly, it is true that I am the cause of my acts, as it evidently is, then in view of this principle we must suppose that the real cause is some event intimately associated with me — and then, of course, the chase is on to find it or, failing that, at least to give it a name and create a semblance of having found it. The alternative I urge is that I am sometimes the cause of my own actions, that such an assertion is neither incomplete nor metaphorical and hence has no "real" meaning different from, much less inconsistent with, itself as it stands. In that case, however, we must conclude that the word "cause" in such contexts has not the ordinary meaning of a certain relationship between events, but has rather the older meaning of the efficacy or power of an agent to produce certain results. This idea can be otherwise expressed by saying that an agent is something that originates things, produces them, or brings them about. It might be wished that some clear definition or analysis of this idea of agency could be given, in place of merely synonymous expressions, but we have already seen that this cannot be done, and we have also seen why. To give an analysis of agency or of the sense in which an agent is the cause of his actions would amount to giving an analysis of an act, an analysis which would of necessity presuppose the truth of a metaphysical presupposition that is not only dubious, but probably false.

The definition that I want comes from G. C. Williams. A gene is defined as any portion of chromosomal material that potentially last for enough generations to serve as a unit of natural selection.

If there is something very slightly wrong in our definition of the theories, then the full mathematical rigor may convert these errors into ridiculous conclusions.

I have changed my definition of tragedy. I now think tragedy is not foul deeds done to a person (usually noble in some manner) but rather that tragedy is irresolvable conflict. Both sides/ideas are right.

I suspect that they continued to experience leadership as an activity performed without authority, beyond expectations.

Ever since man began to till the soil and learned not to eat the seed grain but to plant it and wait for the harvest, the postponement of gratification has been the basis of a higher standard of living and civilization.

A drunkard would not give money to sober people. He said they would only eat it, and buy clothes and send their children to school with it.

I will be conquered; I will not capitulate.

The birthplace of success for each person is in his Inner-Consciousness. The Inner-Consciousness will use whatever it is given. If constructive thoughts are planted positive outcomes will be the result. Plant the seeds of failure and failure will follow. And since the only real freedom a person has is the choice of what thoughts he will feed to his Inner-Consciousness he is totally responsible for the outcomes he gets.

Truth is sought not because it is truth but because it is good.

Independent derivation meshed beautifully with the triumph, from the 1930's on, of a strict version of Darwinism based on the near ubiquity of adaptive design built by natural selection... Arthropods and vertebrates do share several features of functional design. But those similarities only reflect the power of natural selection to craft optimal structures independently in a world of limited biomechanical solutions to common functional problems - an evolutionary phenomenon called convergence.

We must [it has been argued] go beyond reductionism to a holistic recognition that biology and culture interpenetrate in an inextricable manner.

If you think it is hard to get humans to follow traffic laws, imagine convincing an asteroid to move along an ellipse.

The universe does not behave according to our pre-conceived ideas. It continues to surprise us.

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

The mystery of life--its inexplicability, beauty, cruelty, tenderness, folly . . . has occupied the greater part of my waking thoughts; and in reverence or rage or irony, as the moment or situation might dictate, I have pondered and even demanded of cosmic energy to know Why.

We might well believe that the law of universal gravitation whereby each physical reality attracts and is attracted to every other physical reality has its correspondence in the hidden or overt attraction of all human beings and all human societies to each other. This attraction takes place within a functional balance of tensions whereby each is sustained in its existence by all the others even as each sustains the others in existence. This seems to be demonstrated in the extensive and continuing efforts of humans to encounter each other and to establish a universal network of communication throughout the human order.

The concentrating [of powers] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one.

The constitution of most of the states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.

This was love at first sight, love everlasting a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected--in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life.