A question faces every one at almost every hour: what will the sequel be, if I do this, or if I do this? Whence can the answer to that question come, what form will it take, what force will it have, how will the questioner make use of it? The question admits of no escape, for even to sit silent and motionless is to take a course of action. What resources are at hand to help answer it? The individual has a conception of the technology of nature and of the capacities and propensities of human nature. Thus he has notions of the sort of thing that can take place. But when he sets himself to choose a course of action out of many which seem open to him, he may implicitly assume himself to be making history, on however small a scale, in some sense other than mere passive obedience to the play of all-pervasive causes. He may assume that his act of choice is in some respects an absolute origination, something not wholly implicit in antecedents, he may deem his thoughts to be not entirely determinate, but able to come in part ex nihilo. If choice can be of this kind, I shall call such an act of choice a beginning. It is a taking-place in some respects uncaused, yet it can help to shape its sequel. It is then an uncaused cause. A beginning in this sense is out of reach of foreknowledge. We cannot know in our present whether or when a beginning, a choice in part uncaused, may occur in time-to-come, or what may be its character.
Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
- The Bounds of Unknowledge
G. L. S. Shackle
- Palgrave Macmillan UK
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