Happenings and Actions
people of ordinary common sense usually make a distinction between two kinds of events, a distinction that divides the occurrences of our universe exclusively and exhaustively into two classes. We may call them happenings and actions. Examples of happenings are eclipses of the sun or moon, showers of rain, earthquakes, heartbeats, sunrise or sunset, motorcar accidents, or the fall of a leaf from a tree. Examples of actions are making promises, signing checks, choosing a new pair of shoes, voting in an election. These lists may obviously be extended indefinitely, but the intended distinction is clear from the examples given. Actions are the outcome of human decisions and choices; happenings are events that occur characteristically without human intervention. (But a shower of rain might, for example, be brought about by seeding a cloud from an airplane with silver iodide.)
KeywordsMotorcar Accident Natural Event Philosophical Problem Silver Iodide Heavenly Body
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