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Human action   /hjˈumən ˈækʃən/   Listen
Human action

noun
1.
Something that people do or cause to happen.  Synonyms: act, deed, human activity.






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"Human action" Quotes from Famous Books



... convince the reader that he will be unable to deny will and memory to the embryo without at the same time denying their existence everywhere, and maintaining that they have no place in the acquisition of a habit, nor indeed in any human action. He will feel that the actions, and the relation of one action to another which he observes in embryos is such as is never seen except in association with and as a consequence of will and memory. He will therefore say that it is due to will and ...
— Selections from Previous Works - and Remarks on Romanes' Mental Evolution in Animals • Samuel Butler

... of conventionality thrown around the human heart—fewer I mean to say of those cold restraints, those gilded chains of society, which, like the ornaments that ladies wear upon their necks and arms, seem like fetters; but, I fear me, restrain but little human action, curb not passion, and are to the strong will but as the green rushes round the limbs of the Hebrew giant. Decorum came into England with the house of Hanover; but I am speaking of a period before that, when ladies ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 2, No. 4, March, 1851 • Various

... responsibility. Eugenic legislation is a secondary matter which cannot come at the beginning. It cannot come before our knowledge is firmly based and widely diffused; it cannot come until we are clear as to the ideals which we wish to see embodied in human character and human action; it cannot come until the sense of personal responsibility towards the race is so widely spread throughout the community that its absence is universally felt to be either a crime ...
— Essays in War-Time - Further Studies In The Task Of Social Hygiene • Havelock Ellis

... be concealed. She was proficient in the elements of no science. The doctrine of lines and surfaces was as disproportionate with her intellects as with those of the mock-bird. She had not reasoned on the principles of human action, nor examined the structure of society.... She could not commune in their native dialect with the sages of Rome and Athens.... The constitution of nature, the attributes of its Author, the arrangement of the parts of the external universe, and the substance, ...
— Brief History of English and American Literature • Henry A. Beers

... human action are the foibles and preferences of individuals more completely imbricated than in that of book-collecting. Widely different as were the book-hunters' fancies at the beginning and at the end of the eighteenth century, yet it would not be possible to draw a ...
— The Book-Hunter in London - Historical and Other Studies of Collectors and Collecting • William Roberts

... had dazzled him. Outside the implacable winds still rushed and warred, and beat and clamored, shrieking, wailing, like voices from hell. The snow dashed like surf against the walls. It seemed to cut off the little cabin from the rest of the world and to dwarf all human action like the sea. It made social conventions of no value, and narrowed the question of morality to the relationship of these three ...
— The Moccasin Ranch - A Story of Dakota • Hamlin Garland

... with which she sent the shuttle through its wiry arch, and noticing how the little matter of adding thread to thread filled the "cloth beam" little by little, until the long "web" was done. "Such is life," thought Graffam; "the little by little of human action goes to fill up the warp of time, and decides the worth of what we manufacture for eternity." Then he looked sadly over his own work, and could but say to himself, "It is all loose ends, loose ends. What a web ...
— Be Courteous • Mrs. M. H. Maxwell

... powerful and beautiful story.... It fulfils every requirement of artistic fiction. It brings out what is most impressive in human action, without owing any of its effectiveness to sensationalism or artifice. It is natural, fluent in evolution, accordant with experience, graphic in description, penetrating in analysis, and absorbing ...
— The Romance of a Plain Man • Ellen Glasgow

... knife, and holds up your dearest, most private foibles on stilettos of wit for the public to mock at. Not that she is personal in her allusions, but her thorough knowledge of the philosophy of human nature and the deep, secret springs of human action lead her to witty, satirical generalizations, which are so painfully true that each one of her hearers goes home hugging a personal affront, while poor Rachel never dreams of lacerated feelings until she meets averted faces ...
— The Love Affairs of an Old Maid • Lilian Bell

... that the human action of Christ could not be meritorious to Him. For before His death Christ was a comprehensor even as He is now. But comprehensors do not merit: because the charity of the comprehensor belongs to the reward of beatitude, since fruition depends upon it. Hence it does not ...
— Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) - From the Complete American Edition • Thomas Aquinas

... nothing is restraining them but their consent to be restrained, then at last there is nothing to obstruct the free play of that selfishness which is the dominant characteristic and fundamental motive of human nature and human action respectively. Politics, which may have had something of the character of a contest of principles, becomes a struggle of interests, and its methods are frankly serviceable to personal and class advantage. Patriotism and respect for law pass like a tale that is ...
— The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce • Ambrose Bierce

... to their lowest terms, and then trust to human nature to behave itself properly. There are other persons known as Socialists, who would have the people in their collective capacity exercise a larger control than now over human action. Neither of these classes represents the bulk of society. Common sense and experience together seem to demand a government that will exercise a reasonable control, and by reasonable is meant a control that will preserve ...
— Society - Its Origin and Development • Henry Kalloch Rowe

... it must fall out To him or our authorities. For an end, We must suggest the people in what hatred He still hath held them; that to's power he would Have made them mules, silenc'd their pleaders, and Dispropertied their freedoms; holding them, In human action and capacity, Of no more soul nor fitness for the world Than camels in their war; who have their provand Only for bearing burdens, and sore blows For sinking ...
— The Tragedy of Coriolanus • William Shakespeare [Collins edition]

... enter a caveat against the tacit insinuation of an unproved solution. Science can apparently give no reason for assuming that the first cause, and that which gives the law to development, is a blind force rather than an archetypal idea. The only origination within our experience is that of human action, where the cause is an idea. Science herself, in fact, constantly assumes an analogous cause for the movements of the universe in her use of the word "law," which necessarily conveys the notion, not merely of observed co-existence and sequence, but of the intelligent and ...
— Lectures and Essays • Goldwin Smith

... all read how, by her own account, Desdemona was won. And her history gives proof, if we had no other, of the great dramatist's wonderful knowledge of the springs of human action ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol 2, No 6, December 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... until industrial leaders, like political leaders, are willing to do efficient work partly from disinterested motives; but that statement is merely a translation into economic terms of the fundamental truth that democracy, as a political and social ideal, is founded essentially upon disinterested human action. A democracy can disregard or defy that ...
— The Promise Of American Life • Herbert David Croly

... this sort of reasoning is now easily seen. In the first place, there are few general laws governing human action that always hold true. In the second place, unless there is a very strong resemblance between the cases compared, unless they are alike in all essential particulars, they will not both be examples of the working of one ...
— Practical Argumentation • George K. Pattee

... part of our consideration relates to human action and is of universal importance. Human nature tends to relate everything else to action. The world as idea is the perfect mirror of the will, in which it recognizes itself in graduating scales of distinctness and completeness. ...
— The World's Greatest Books—Volume 14—Philosophy and Economics • Various

... an individual action.(1173) The one he calleth bonitas generalis, concomitans, et sine qua non; by which goodness is meant the doing of an action in faith, and the doing of it for the right end, as he expoundeth himself. This goodness, he saith, is necessary to every human action, and hindereth not an action to be indifferent. The other he calleth bonitas specialis, causans, et propter quam. This goodness he calleth legal, and saith that it maketh an action necessary; in which respect indifferent actions are not good, but those only which God ...
— The Works of Mr. George Gillespie (Vol. 1 of 2) • George Gillespie

... attention that generally speaking it could have. Nor are correctives lacking for the abuses which may enter in through an overdevelopment of self-interest. Caveat emptor becomes discredited as an unmodified basis of human action. The golden rule is increasingly seen to constitute a foundation demanded by economics as well as by ethics. The trend to-day is away from indifference to the interests of those with whom we deal. The successful merchant will not attempt to make a profit through sales which he knows ...
— Creating Capital - Money-making as an aim in business • Frederick L. Lipman

... changes of opinion and action, in the sense of morality, are due wholly to the difference of knowledge at successive periods. Just as the intellect is capable of determining the bearing and consequences of human action, and of fixing the intention with reference to such consequences, will the moral character of such action be pronounced, more or less correctly, according to the degree of enlightenment of the ...
— Continental Monthly , Vol IV, Issue VI, December 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy. • Various

... creative force, what produces, not what has been produced. We might almost translate the Greek phrase, "Art, like Nature, creates things," "Art acts like Nature in producing things." These things are, first and foremost, human things, human action. The drama, with which Aristotle is so much concerned, invents human action like real, natural action. Dancing "imitates character, emotion, action." Art is to Aristotle almost wholly bound by ...
— Ancient Art and Ritual • Jane Ellen Harrison

... necessity could be believed by all quoad the characters of others, and disbelieved in regard to their own. I pondered painfully on the subject till gradually I saw light through it. I perceived, that the word Necessity, as a name for the doctrine of Cause and Effect applied to human action, carried with it a misleading association; and that this association was the operative force in the depressing and paralysing influence which I had experienced: I saw that though our character is formed by circumstances, our own desires can do much to shape those circumstances; ...
— Autobiography • John Stuart Mill

... otherwise, since the presence of the grotesque is, after all, the main justification of the theory on which her philosophy of life was based—namely, the belief that above all eloquence of human speech, behind all enthusiasm of human action or emotion, the ear which hears aright can always detect the echo of eternal laughter? And this grim echo did not affect the charming young lady to sadness as yet. Still less did it make her mad, as the mere suspicion of it has made so many, ...
— The History of Sir Richard Calmady - A Romance • Lucas Malet

... thousand years even one man in a million could act freely, that is, as he chose, it is evident that one single free act of that man's in violation of the laws governing human action would destroy the possibility of the existence of any laws for the ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... again, fulfils his aim by a broad synthesis based upon the vivid observance and selection of vital details: the other by an extraordinary acute psychic analysis. In a word, Shakspere works as with the clay of human action: Browning as with ...
— Life of Robert Browning • William Sharp

... testimony, however, no less deserving our serious consideration, an ebony monster, with a woolly head and flat nose, but walking erect on two legs, and in other respects bearing a striking resemblance to man, had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of our canine hero from the theater of human action. Moved with envy and spite at beholding the Fighting Nigger's renown and at hearing his praises in the popular mouth, and itching to inflict upon the object thereof the greatest possible injury he could, with the least possible risk to himself, this ebony monster ...
— Burl • Morrison Heady

... conduct is modified, involves a view of morals and of the relations between the spheres of morality and legislation which is of critical importance for the whole Utilitarian creed. 'Moral laws' and a 'Positive law' both affect human action. How do they differ? Bentham's treatment of the problem shows, I think, a clearer appreciation of some difficulties than might be inferred from his later utterances. In any case, it brings into clear relief a moral doctrine which ...
— The English Utilitarians, Volume I. • Leslie Stephen

... the laboring-classes should be induced to practice a sufficient degree of prudence in regard to the increase of their families, because they have hitherto stopped short of that point, show an inability to estimate the ordinary principles of human action. Nothing more would probably be necessary to secure that result, than an opinion generally ...
— Principles Of Political Economy • John Stuart Mill

... does the animating principle, or soul, regarded as immaterial, clothe itself in flesh? Material acts cannot effect the incarnation of a spirit. Therefore, the spirit enters women from without, and is not the direct result of human action. ...
— The Euahlayi Tribe - A Study of Aboriginal Life in Australia • K. Langloh Parker

... deceived those who thought it real. But if flesh had been formed new and real and not taken from man, to what purpose was the tremendous tragedy of the conception? Where the value of His long Passion? I cannot but consider foolish even a human action that is useless. And to what useful end shall we say this great humiliation of Divinity was wrought if ruined man has not been saved by the conception and the Passion of Christ—for they denied that he was taken into Godhead? Once more then, just as the error of Eutyches took its rise from the ...
— The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy • Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

... not committed for a specific political purpose. They were. But militancy is as much a state of mind, an approach to a task, as it is the commission of deeds of protest. It is the state of mind of those who is their fiery idealism do not lose sight of the real springs of human action. ...
— Jailed for Freedom • Doris Stevens

... the world. St. Augustine described the nature of God as a circle whose centre was everywhere and its circumference nowhere. We are all our lifetime reading the copious sense of this first of forms. One moral we have already deduced, in considering the circular or compensatory character of every human action. Another analogy we shall now trace, that every action admits of being outdone. Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, ...
— Essays, First Series • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... innumerable incidents and powers which gave a new dimension to experience. Yet the old world remained standing in its strange setting, like the Pantheon in modern Rome; and, what is more important, the natural springs of human action were still acknowledged, and if a supernatural discipline was imposed, it was only because experience and faith had disclosed a situation in which the pursuit of earthly happiness seemed hopeless. Nature was not destroyed by its novel appendages, nor did reason die ...
— The Life of Reason • George Santayana

... that lie glassed within the fancy—the soul's fairy-land. But the vision with him was only evoked one hour to be destroyed the next. Happy had it been for Godolphin, and not unfortunate perhaps for the world, had he learned at that exact moment the true motive for human action which he afterwards, and too late, discovered. Happy had it been for him to have learned that there is an ambition to do good—an ambition to raise the wretched as well ...
— Godolphin, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... deplored. The sweetness of his character, breathed through his writings, was felt even by strangers; but its heroic aspect was unguessed even by many of his friends. Let them now consider it, and ask if the annals of self-sacrifice can show anything in human action and endurance more lovely than its self- devotion exhibits! It was not merely that he saw through the ensanguined cloud of misfortune which had fallen upon his family, the unstained excellence of his sister, whose madness had caused it; that he was ...
— Charles Lamb • Barry Cornwall

... that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... has been gone through irritates and troubles the mind. The work of pulling down is so easy, it is supposed that the work of building up is equally so. Hence systems rise, as if the world were to begin anew. The pride of liberty and of human action becomes the principle of science; and, like all new principles, it pretends to exclusive and absolute dominion. Rationalism governs; abstract philosophy ignores the traditions and the requirements of the ...
— Principles Of Political Economy • William Roscher

... says:—'Mrs. Barbauld had his best praise; no man was more struck than Mr. Johnson with voluntary descent from possible splendour to painful duty.' Mrs. Piozzi alludes to Johnson's praise of Dr. Watts:—'Every man acquainted with the common principles of human action, will look with veneration on the writer, who is at one time combating Locke, and at another making a catechism for children in their fourth year. A voluntary descent from the dignity of science is perhaps the hardest lesson that humility can teach.' Works, viii. 384. He ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell

... and the superintendence of the Gods. But Minerva gives him a strong lesson, so does Nestor. He obtains a glimpse of the Divine Order, and feels the necessity of keeping in harmony with the same. The outcome of his visit must impress him with the providential side in human action. ...
— Homer's Odyssey - A Commentary • Denton J. Snider

... error of statement, error of manner, error of weakness, error of partisanship. We do not deny that, but strip both the great political Parties which to-day present themselves before the people of Britain, strip them of their error, strip them of that admixture of error which cloys and clogs all human action, divest them of the trappings of combat in which they are apparelled, let them be nakedly and faithfully revealed. If that were done, cannot we feel soberly and assuredly convinced that, on the main contested issues of the day, upon the need of social ...
— Liberalism and the Social Problem • Winston Spencer Churchill

... interesting, as showing how he was anxious to modify some of his opinions expressed in Political Justice, especially those bearing on the affections, which he now admits must naturally play an important part in human action, though he avers his opinion that none of his previous conclusions are affected by these admissions. Much other work was planned out during this time, and many fresh intellectual acquaintances made, Wordsworth ...
— Mrs. Shelley • Lucy M. Rossetti

... denies the freedom of the will.[4] Every human action is inevitable. "Nothing happens by chance." Every thing is because it cannot but be. How then can we consistently praise or blame any conduct? If one cares to make hair-splitting distinctions, it may be replied that we cannot, but ...
— Socialism: Positive and Negative • Robert Rives La Monte

... colours, the dyes most rare and costly; in the metal, the gold and silver of a duke or prince; and in the tale told by the figures he reads a romance of chivalry or history, which has the glamour given by the haze of distant time to human action. ...
— The Tapestry Book • Helen Churchill Candee

... minor, stunted and sadly deformed, as Burns did. His works are after all only the disjecta membra poetae; full of hints of a great might-have-been. Hints of the keenest and most dramatic appreciation of human action and thought. Hints of an unbounded fancy, playing gracefully in the excess of its strength, with the vastest images, as in that robe of ...
— Literary and General Lectures and Essays • Charles Kingsley

... contact of the bones playing with accuracy and elegance a variety of airs." James Fenimore Cooper stated it as his opinion, "that such was the obliquity of intellect shown by Mackenzie in the whole affair, that no analysis of his motives can be made on any consistent principle of human action;" and the distinguished statesman, Thomas H. Benton, whose critical and lengthy review of the whole case would seem to carry conviction to unprejudiced minds, declared that the three men "died innocent, as ...
— As I Remember - Recollections of American Society during the Nineteenth Century • Marian Gouverneur

... have done, or ought to have done, but to observe what he did." Of the origin and growth of a myth, for example, Raynal had no rational idea. When he found a myth, what he did was to reduce it to the terms of human action, and then coolly to describe it as historical. The ancient Peruvian legend that laws and arts had been brought to their land by two divine children of the Sun, Manco-Capac and his sister-wife Manca-Oello, ...
— Diderot and the Encyclopaedists - Volume II. • John Morley

... fashioning, by means of our imagination and our thinking, whose products would appear to us as such, as empty pictures; it is not these, but the necessary faith in our liberty and our power, in our veritable action and in definite laws of human action, which serves as the foundation of all consciousness of a reality without us, a consciousness which is itself but a belief, since it rests on a belief, but one which follows necessarily from that belief. We are compelled ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: - Masterpieces of German Literature Translated into English, Volume 5. • Various

... the chief exponent of egotism among the great writers of Europe. He has become—he became during his own lifetime— the bye-word for bitterness. He is represented as believing that egotism is the primum mobile of all human action, and that man is wholly the victim of his passions, which lead him whither they will. He denies all spirituality and sees a physical cause for everything we do. His own words are quoted against him. It is true that he says, "All the passions are nothing but divers degrees ...
— Three French Moralists and The Gallantry of France • Edmund Gosse

... of the Bible as a direct revelation from God, and the practice of using what is merely the history of human life as authority for human action now, or as prophecy, has produced or strengthened great evils in the world I readily admit, and I welcome all the thorough and searching criticism which can be applied to the Bible, but nothing is gained by exaggeration. There are noble examples ...
— The Woman's Bible. • Elizabeth Cady Stanton

... Studies of the Reflex Function in its higher sphere, I should frighten away all but the professors and the learned ladies. If I should proclaim that they were protests against the scholastic tendency to shift the total responsibility of all human action from the Infinite to the finite, I might alarm the jealousy of the cabinet-keepers of our doctrinal museums. By saying nothing about it, the large majority of those whom my book reaches, not being preface-readers, will never suspect ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... planet, and as far beyond as the power of gravitation may extend. It is precisely so with all social events, even those of the most insignificant character. Every one of them has its appropriate influence, which is indestructible; and they all combine to make up the great whole of human action, the results of which at any specific period are only the necessary and inevitable consequences of ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3, No. 1 January 1863 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... enlightened theory of individual and national morality, a general philosophy of human life, whereby to judge of them, and measure their effects. The historian now stands on higher ground, takes in a wider range than those that went before him; he can now survey vast tracts of human action, and deduce its laws from an experience extending over many climes and ages. With his ideas, moreover, his feelings ought to be enlarged: he should regard the interests not of any sect or state, but of mankind; the progress not of any class of arts or opinions, but of ...
— The Life of Friedrich Schiller - Comprehending an Examination of His Works • Thomas Carlyle

... resembling a period. In the first place, I offer on the "Life of Napoleon Bonaparte," the eulogium that the work has, in a great degree, naturalized the Corsican as he was never naturalized before—thus bringing him out of cloudland and mere impossible fog to the plain level of human action ...
— The Arena - Volume 18, No. 92, July, 1897 • Various

... at length. "I am going to ask you to undertake for the Government, the Nation, and yourselves a dangerous and important mission. I say yourselves, because, in spite of all our beautiful lies, self is the centre of all human action. Mr. Lincoln has fortunately gone to his reward—fortunately for him and for his country. His death was necessary to save his life. He was a useful man living, more useful dead. Our party has lost its first President, but ...
— The Clansman - An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan • Thomas Dixon

... very utmost in clearing up the grounds upon which it rests its decisions—after it has multiplied its rules to any possible point of circumstantiality—there will always continue to arise cases without end, in the shifting combinations of human action, about which a question will remain whether they do or do not fall under any of these rules. And the best way for seeing this truth illustrated on a broad scale, the shortest way and the most decisive is—to point our attention to one striking fact, viz. that all law, as it exists ...
— Theological Essays and Other Papers v1 • Thomas de Quincey

... things. He was as a higher intelligence, looking down on the crowd of struggling, suffering men and women beneath him, forgiving, tolerating all, because he understood all. He who saw life so whole, who knew the hidden motives and far-off causes of human action, could make allowances for everything. There was something divine in his literary charity. What matter, then, if he now and then looked into some girl's expressive face, and found out the secret she thought she was hiding ...
— Audrey Craven • May Sinclair

... Miracle Plays and Mysteries, which had been adopted by the Church as the best means of acquainting the populace with Sacred History. The audiences of the Miracle Plays were prepared for the representation of human action on the stage. Meanwhile, from translation and imitation, young scholars at the universities had become familiar with some of the masterpieces of Ancient Drama, and with the laws of dramatic form. But where were they to seek for matter to fill out these forms? Where ...
— The Palace of Pleasure, Volume 1 • William Painter

... the implement of the workman is to his work.' At this the modern reader is apt to stumble, because he forgets that Plato is writing in an age when the arts and the virtues, like the moral and intellectual faculties, were still undistinguished. Among early enquirers into the nature of human action the arts helped to fill up the void of speculation; and at first the comparison of the arts and the virtues was not perceived by them to be fallacious. They only saw the points of agreement in them and not the points of difference. Virtue, like art, must take means to an end; good manners are ...
— The Republic • Plato

... End to be attained through an intellectual regimen. The soul being debased by its connection with matter, the aim of human action is to regain the spiritual life. The first step is the practice of the cardinal virtues: the next the purifying virtues. Happiness is the undisturbed life of contemplation. Correspondence of the Ethical, with ...
— Moral Science; A Compendium of Ethics • Alexander Bain

... poets of the fifth century, Pindar, AEschylus, and Sophocles. In the words of Pindar: "All things depend on God alone; all which befalls mortals, whether it be good or evil fortune, is due to Zeus: he can draw light from darkness, and can veil the sweet light of day in obscurity. No human action escapes him: happiness is found only in the way which leads to him; virtue and wisdom flow from ...
— Myth and Science - An Essay • Tito Vignoli

... with it. [Footnote: One has well said, 'The subject of language, the instrument, but also the restraint, of thought, is endless. The history of language, the mouth speaking from the fulness of the heart, is the history of human action, faith, art, policy, government, virtue, and crime. When society progresses, the language of the people necessarily runs even with the line of society. You cannot unite past and present, still less can you bring back the past; moreover, the law of progress is the law of storms, it is impossible ...
— On the Study of Words • Richard C Trench

... opposition between the physical and final causes; in ultimate resort the mind is compelled to think the universe as the work of reason, to refer facts to God and Providence. The idea of final cause is also fruitful in sciences which have to do with human action. (Cf. De Aug. iii. cc. 4, 5; Nov. ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1 - "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon" • Various

... solid grounds of reason as the rational view of the universe. To such it may be observed that, thus conceived, the Divine action has that slight amount of resemblance to, and that wide amount of divergence from what human action would be, which might be expected a priori—might be expected, that is, from a Being whose nature and aims are utterly beyond our power to imagine, however faintly, but whose truth and goodness are the fountain and source of our own perceptions of ...
— On the Genesis of Species • St. George Mivart

... many interests and of wide activities. Their natures require rich pasturage; they must be fed from many sources. They secure the skill of the specialist, but they never accept his limitations of interest and work. The clearer their vision of the unity of all forms of human action and expression, the deeper their need of studying at first hand these different forms of action and expression. Goethe did not choose that comprehensiveness of temper which led him into so many fields; ...
— Essays On Work And Culture • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... more anxious that theology should perish than that truth should prevail. The human will must, therefore, be robbed of all semblance of freedom, lest it should suggest the idea of a Supreme Will governing nature; and human action, like all other phenomena, must be reduced to uniform and necessary law. All feelings, ideas, and principles guaranteed to us by consciousness are to be cast out of the account. Psychology, resting on self-observation, is pronounced ...
— Christianity and Greek Philosophy • Benjamin Franklin Cocker

... of a man like Pausanias, risking so much glory, daring so much peril, strong indeed must have been this sanguine motive power of human action. Nor is a large and active development of hope incompatible with a temperament habitually grave and often profoundly melancholy. For hope itself is often engendered by discontent. A vigorous nature keenly susceptible to joy, and deprived of the possession of the joy it yearns ...
— Pausanias, the Spartan - The Haunted and the Haunters, An Unfinished Historical Romance • Lord Lytton

... this respect, little regard being paid to the effect of the family's long training at home, which had rendered hostility to the nobility second nature to it. Had the Stuarts been the supporters of liberal ideas in England, their conduct would have given the lie to every known principle of human action. As their distrust of aristocracy rendered them despotically disposed, because the Scotch aristocracy had been the most lawless of mankind, so did they become attached to the Church of England because of the tyranny they had seen displayed by ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XI., February, 1863, No. LXIV. • Various

... files and even units, can be disposed along the line of battle wherever needed, or can be marshaled in reserve for use at the proper moment. Such a mind may be used for good purpose or bad—or for mixed purposes, after the usual fashion in human action. But whatever the service to which it is put, it acts with equal energy and precision. Character—that is a thing apart. The character determines the morality of action; but only the intellect determines ...
— The Grain Of Dust - A Novel • David Graham Phillips

... introduction McDougall reminds us that the instincts are the prime movers, the mental forces, the sources of energy, the springs of human action, the impulses and motives which determine the goals and course of all human activity, mental and physical. These instincts, being the fundamental elements of our constitution, must be clearly defined, and their history in the individual and the race determined. For this purpose, ...
— The Journal of Abnormal Psychology - Volume 10

... minds in the same direction, constitutes what is called the spirit of the age. This spirit is neither the law of progress nor blind development, but God's all-eternal, all-embracing purpose, the doctrine which recognizes the hand of God in all events, yet leaves all human action free. When God prepared an age for a new thought, the thought is thrust into the age as an instrument into a chemical solution—the crystals cluster round it immediately. If God prepares not, the man has lived before his time. Huss and Wycliffe were like voices crying in the wilderness, preparing ...
— The Personal Life Of David Livingstone • William Garden Blaikie

... are stronger than our reasoning powers, and as a matter of fact, collective human action is and during any period which we need consider will be controlled by humanitarian instincts and not by the rigidity of economic theory. Individually, we do and always shall, seek each his own particular interest. Collectively, we invariably consider the welfare of all. This ...
— The Inhumanity of Socialism • Edward F. Adams

... ago; and each supplied the other with new facts, which shall be duly set forth in this tale, saving and excepting, of course, the real reason why everybody did everything. For—as everybody knows who has watched life—the true springs of all human action are generally those which fools will not see, which wise men will not mention; so that, in order to present a readable tragedy of Hamlet, you must always "omit the part of Hamlet,"—and probably the ghost and the ...
— Two Years Ago, Volume I • Charles Kingsley

... this world are wise in their generation; and both the politician and the priest are justified by results. The living voice has an influence over human action altogether independent of the intellectual worth of that which it utters. Many years ago, I was a guest at a great City dinner. A famous orator, endowed with a voice of rare flexibility and power; a born actor, ranging with ease through every part, from refined comedy to tragic unction, was called ...
— Discourses - Biological and Geological Essays • Thomas H. Huxley

... them. From the secret sources of enthusiasm the human will draws the mysterious virtue that makes heroes. Truth enlightens and illumines. Sentiment warms and inclines to action. Interest also bears its part; and the hope of happiness is the work of God, and one of the motive powers of human action. ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... the difference of training rather than the difference of ideas. Both clung to unselfishness as the highest reason for human action; but each expressed the thought in a manner ...
— The Blazed Trail • Stewart Edward White

... to be struggling with self-interest; Chesnel thought that he had gained a hold on his enemy through the great motive of human action. At that supreme moment ...
— The Collection of Antiquities • Honore de Balzac

... a certainty that her meetings on the common with Alan Merrick had excited unfavorable comment among the old ladies of Holmwood, the point would have seemed to her unworthy of an emancipated soul's consideration. She could estimate at its true worth the value of all human criticism upon human action. ...
— The Woman Who Did • Grant Allen

... in Stevenson is that a man who was so much the dreamer of dreams—the mystic moralist, the constant questioner and speculator on human destiny and human perversity, and the riddles that arise on the search for the threads of motive and incentives to human action—moreover, a man, who constantly suffered from one of the most trying and weakening forms of ill-health—should have been so full-blooded, as it were, so keen for contact with all forms of human life and character, what is called the rougher and coarser being by no means ...
— Robert Louis Stevenson - a Record, an Estimate, and a Memorial • Alexander H. Japp

... special gleam of sunlight, does not interrupt the continuous flow of the narrative. In a state of society characterised by much corruption, the sentiments are uniformly pure; and in an artificial age, when Nature was regarded as only the background of human action, the descriptions of the objects of Nature are wonderfully accurate; and the mind of the poet towards the flowers and trees, the woods and hills and streams, was in a childlike state, and had all the freshness and joyousness of childhood. The student is not to be envied who ...
— Roman Mosaics - Or, Studies in Rome and Its Neighbourhood • Hugh Macmillan

... to human action: Who shall be greatest? and, Who shall be best? Earthly glory is vain; but not vain enough to attempt pointing [5] the way to heaven, the harmony of being. The imaginary victories of rivalry and hypocrisy are defeats. The Holy One saith, "O that thou hadst hearkened ...
— Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896 • Mary Baker Eddy

... a dynamite bomb. He was amused, and wondered, as he always did when he met Miss Arabella, what the queer little body was thinking about. He never dreamed that his conduct could have had the smallest effect upon her odd behavior, so blind was he to the far-reaching influence of all human action, good or evil. ...
— Treasure Valley • Marian Keith

... higher faculties, are not excluded from this classification, inasmuch as to every one but the subject of them, they are known only as transitory changes in the relative positions of parts of the body. Speech, gesture, and every other form of human action are, in the long run, resolvable into muscular contraction, and muscular contraction is but a transitory change in the relative positions of the parts of a muscle. But the scheme which is large enough to embrace the activities of the highest ...
— Autobiography and Selected Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... naughtiness of nature was called to book at every turn by the pleasures and pains divinely appended to things enjoined and to things forbidden, and ultimately by hell and by heaven. Yet if rewards and punishments were attached to human action and feeling in this perfectly external and arbitrary fashion, whilst the feelings and actions spontaneous in mankind counted for nothing in the rule of morals and of wisdom, we should be living under the most cruel and artificial of tyrannies; and it would not be long before ...
— Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy - Five Essays • George Santayana

... douloureux, stared round the house with a kind of stupid wonder, rose up, then sat instantly down, and in fact exhibited many of those unintelligible and uncouth movements, which, in person of his cast, may be properly termed the hieroglyphics of human action, under feelings that cannot be deciphered either by those on whom they operate, or by those who ...
— Fardorougha, The Miser - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One • William Carleton

... charges, any one who remembers the New York riot of 1863 will be slow to assert that this black mob exhibited any barbarity which has not been more than emulated by white mobs. Shocking enough the details are; but human action always and with every race is ferocious, when once the restraints of self-control and the law are ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 102, April, 1866 • Various

... not for me. I have gained nothing by his death. Men are as bad as ever, and wrong—the wrong which deprived me of my right in society—has been as active and prevailing a principle of human action as before he died. It is in his name now that they do the wrong, and in his name, since his death, they have contrived to find a sanction for all manner of crime. Speak no more of this, Ellen; you know nothing about it. ...
— Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia • William Gilmore Simms

... feel of having a reason for the existence, the operation of anything, a large plan in which to gather up all ravelled threads of various objects, proclaim thought as the final end, the real thing, of which action, more especially human action, is but the inadequate visible expression? What kinds of action does Carlyle mean, that are to be the wheels for our obedient thoughts to set in motion? Hand, arm, leg, foot action? These are all our operative machinery. ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 30, April, 1860 • Various

... He is not usually, I think, a man of deep, poetic feeling, and does not deal with the picture through his heart, nor set it in a poem, nor comprehend it morally. If it be a landscape, he is not entitled to judge of it by his intimacy with nature; if a picture of human action, he has no experience nor sympathy of life's deeper passages. However, as my acquaintance with pictures increases, I find myself recognizing more and more the merit of the acknowledged masters of the art; but, possibly, it is only because I adopt the ...
— Passages From the English Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... the language of Christianity on this subject. Undeniably it affirms its right to exercise universal dominion. It takes cognisance of all human action, extends its scrutiny to motives and feelings, and allows no condition, employment or exigency to raise a barrier against its entrance as the messenger of God to deliver and enforce his commands. It ...
— The Religion of Politics • Ezra S. Gannett

... carefully and accurately, and should not be obscured by any additional ceremonial, that all men may recognise the far-reaching simplicity of our Lord's prohibition of dissolution of marriage, extending to all human action, except that of the Church, whatever civil authority such ...
— Ritual Conformity - Interpretations of the Rubrics of the Prayer-Book • Unknown

... into a conspiracy, and in his conduct towards Sebastian, assumes the port and dignity of virtue herself. In all his conduct and bearing, there is that mixed feeling and impulse, which constitutes the real spring of human action. The true motive of Alonzo in saving Sebastian, is not purely that of honourable hatred, which he proposes to himself; for to himself every man endeavours to appear consistent, and readily find arguments to prove to himself ...
— The Works Of John Dryden, Vol. 7 (of 18) - The Duke of Guise; Albion and Albanius; Don Sebastian • John Dryden

... painting, he fell back upon his analytic gift as a means of earning a living. Not counting his first published work, the Essay on the Principles of Human Action, which was purely a labor of love and fell still-born from the press, the tasks to which he now devoted his time were chiefly of the kind ordinarily rated as job work. He prepared an abridgement of Abraham ...
— Hazlitt on English Literature - An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature • Jacob Zeitlin

... there were no breadstuffs in their country, and they and their women and children were starving and half-naked. You chose an admirable opportunity to rob, to disappoint, to outrage and exasperate them, and make your own Government fraudulent and contemptible in their eyes. If any human action can deserve it, the hounds of hell ought to hunt your soul and Hindman's ...
— The American Indian as Participant in the Civil War • Annie Heloise Abel

... is, as temporarily crystallized and fixed in certain forms. Physical geography (including under this not simply physiography, but also the study of flora and fauna) represents a further analysis or abstraction. It studies the conditions which determine human action, leaving out of account, temporarily, the ways in which they concretely do this. Mathematical geography carries the analysis back to more ultimate and remote conditions, showing that the physical conditions of the earth are not ultimate, but ...
— Moral Principles in Education • John Dewey

... those situations. The situation in which he found himself that morning at home, or that in which a poor neighbour found himself, is that which to him is important. It is a pernicious consequence of the sole study of extraordinary people that the customary standards of human action are deposed, and other standards peculiar to peculiar creatures under peculiar circumstances are set up. I have known Cardew do very curious things at times. I do not believe for one moment he thought he was doing wrong, but nevertheless, if any other man had done them, I should ...
— Catharine Furze • Mark Rutherford

... the stream; Hirst went round and joined him, remarking that he had long ceased to look for the reason of any human action. ...
— The Voyage Out • Virginia Woolf

... certainly one of the functions of literature. A good biography may give facts of infinite suggestion, and the great multitude of novels at present are, in fact, experiments in the science of this central field of human action, experiments in the "way of looking at" various cases and situations. They may be very misleading experiments, it is true, done with adulterated substances, dangerous chemicals, dirty flasks and unsound balances; but that is a question of their quality and ...
— Mankind in the Making • H. G. Wells

... has filled the world with everything to make life desirable; and when we sit down to determine the taking away of that which we did not give, and which, when taken away, we cannot restore, we consider a subject the most solemn and momentous within the range of human thought and human action. ...
— The World's Best Orations, Vol. 1 (of 10) • Various

... of Richard Baxter, our last words must not be those of censure. Admiration and reverence become us rather. He was an honest man. So far as we can judge, his motives were the highest and best which can influence human action. He had faults and weaknesses, and committed grave errors, but we are constrained to believe that the prayer with which he closes his Saints' Rest and which we have chosen as the fitting termination of our article, was the ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... no power at all in our human action and leadership except as the Spirit leads and controls us, and is allowed to. And, on the other side, we must not forget, though it has sometimes been forgotten, that God's working waits upon human action and leadership. ...
— Quiet Talks with World Winners • S. D. Gordon

... near their tombs; and they continue to render services to their prince, parents, wife, and children, as when in the body.' And they do more than this, for they control the lives and the doings of men. 'Every human action,' says Hirata, 'is the work of a god.' [3] And Motowori, scarcely less famous an exponent of pure Shinto doctrine, writes: 'All the moral ideas which a man requires are implanted in his bosom by the gods, and are ...
— Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan • Lafcadio Hearn

... the effective bond of human action is feeling, and the worthy child of a people owning the triple name of Hebrew, Israelite and Jew, feels his kinship with the glories and the sorrows, the degradation and the possible renovation ...
— George Eliot; A Critical Study of Her Life, Writings & Philosophy • George Willis Cooke

... this motive, a fable of purely human action would obviously not suffice. What Milton has to express is, of course, altogether human; destiny is an entirely human conception. But he has to express not simply the sense of human existence occurring in destiny; that brings in destiny only mediately, through that which is ...
— The Epic - An Essay • Lascelles Abercrombie

... the first edition (1908). I tried in 1908 to make two main points clear. My first point was the danger, for all human activities, but especially for the working of democracy, of the 'intellectualist' assumption, 'that every human action is the result of an intellectual process, by which a man first thinks of some end which he desires, and then calculates the means by which that end can be attained' (p. 21). My second point was the need of substituting ...
— Human Nature In Politics - Third Edition • Graham Wallas

... is still more closely related to Ethics, and indeed Ethics may be said to comprehend Politics. Both deal with human action and institution, and cover largely the same field. For man is not merely an individual, but is a part of a social organism. We cannot consider the virtues of the individual life without also considering the society ...
— Christianity and Ethics - A Handbook of Christian Ethics • Archibald B. C. Alexander

... found that the correct view is that all this Trade Unionism and Socialism and so forth is founded on the ignorant delusion that wages and the production and distribution of wealth can be controlled by legislation or by any human action whatever. They obey fixed scientific laws, which have been ascertained and settled finally by the highest economic authorities. Naturally I do not at this distance of time remember the exact process of reasoning; ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... in a beautiful and harmonious form, so in the clear-cut comparisons in Homer, the feeling for Nature is profound; but the Homeric hero had no personal relations with her, no conscious leaning towards her; the descriptions only served to frame human action, in time or space. ...
— The Development of the Feeling for Nature in the Middle Ages and - Modern Times • Alfred Biese

... that beauty of virtue which may attract the admiration of mankind, I have attempted to engage a stronger motive to human action in her favour, by convincing men, that their true interest directs them to a pursuit of her. For this purpose I have shown that no acquisitions of guilt can compensate the loss of that solid inward comfort of mind, which is the sure companion ...
— The History of Tom Jones, a foundling • Henry Fielding

... of properties, and susceptible of modification, but not of progress; in which certain productive forces act by the fortuitous agglomeration of circumstances not to be predicated or foreseen; or through the necessary succession of causes and effects,—of events inevitable and independent of all human action. ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 117, July, 1867. • Various

... upon the third division of the poem is the sudden change in the conditions under which the action is carried on. Hitherto Dante has been moving on solid earth, subject to the usual limitations which are enforced by physical laws upon all human action. Henceforth, as he tells us (Par., xxx. 123), God operates directly, and physical laws have no longer any place. "It is Beatrice," he elsewhere says, "who leads on so swiftly from one stage of blessedness to a higher;" and we shall notice that the ...
— Dante: His Times and His Work • Arthur John Butler

... of thought is integral to Burke's philosophy, and it deserves more examination than it has received. In part it is a rejection of the Benthamite position that man is a reasoning animal. It puts its trust in habit as the chief source of human action; and it thus is distrustful of thought as leading into channels to which the nature of man is not adapted. Novelty, which is assumed to be the outcome of thought, it regards as subversive of the routine upon which civilization depends. Thought is destructive of peace; and ...
— Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham • Harold J. Laski

... some of our brethren this appointment of a particular day seemed derogatory to their claim of recognition and equality of citizenship, and evoked considerable discussion. In this I thought some of us were unduly sensitive. Where intention can be ascertained it should largely govern our estimate of human action. This exposition was not only open each and every day to our people, but we were constantly invited, and the few who attended were most cordially treated and our exhibits were properly ...
— Shadow and Light - An Autobiography with Reminiscences of the Last and Present Century • Mifflin Wistar Gibbs

... of geology, since cut and scratched bones have been found in Pliocene deposits, which some geologists of experience believe to have been the work of human hands. Still more remote are some seemingly chipped flints and bones cut in a way that suggests human action, which have been found in deposits of the very far-distant Miocene Age. The immense remoteness of this epoch and the rudeness of the work have cast much doubt on the human origin of these remains, though ...
— Man And His Ancestor - A Study In Evolution • Charles Morris

... condescended to lay aside the scholar, the philosopher, and the wit, to write little poems of devotion, and systems of instruction, adapted to their wants and capacities, from the dawn of reason through its gradations of advance in the morning of life. Every man acquainted with the common principles of human action will look with veneration on the writer who is at one time combating Locke, and at another making a catechism for children in their fourth year. A voluntary descent from the dignity of science is perhaps the hardest lesson that ...
— Lives of the Poets: Gay, Thomson, Young, and Others • Samuel Johnson

... warm supporters of the war. Most of them were graduates of Harvard College, whose influence was always on the patriot side. The influence of the clergy was very great in New England; hence the two most powerful springs of human action, religious and political enthusiasm, were blended in the breasts of our fathers. Some of the clergy, like Emerson of Concord, gave their personal services to the American cause; while others, like Adams and Clark, made the points in controversy with ...
— Reminiscences of Sixty Years in Public Affairs, Vol. 1 • George Boutwell

... of Universals, see SCHOLASTICISM. Outside of his dialectic, it was in ethics that Abelard showed greatest activity of philosophical thought; laying very particular stress upon the subjective intention as determining, if not the moral character, at least the moral value, of human action. His thought in this direction, wherein he anticipated something of modern speculation, is the more remarkable because his scholastic successors accomplished least in the field of morals, hardly venturing ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... knowledge of how to win a loyal and willing response from military forces, there must first be understanding of the springs of human action, what they are, and how they may be directed toward constructive ends. This done, the course which makes for the perfecting of forces during peacetime training need only be extended to harden them for the risk and stress ...
— The Armed Forces Officer - Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2 • U. S. Department of Defense

... conceived to favor certain kinds of human action. He was at first appeased under the influences of analogies from the lower side of human nature,—Give him a present, something to eat, or to smell, or to see. Then came the idea that he was the friend and favorer of the righteous,—of the merciful ...
— The Chief End of Man • George S. Merriam

... picturesque but fanciful interpretation. Psychology is very apt to degenerate into a game of blowing bubbles, unless we pin ourselves down to hard-headed ways of thinking. The notion of a reaction is of great value here, just because it is so hard-headed and concrete. Whenever we have any human action before us for explanation, we have to ask what the stimulus is that arouses the individual to activity, and how he responds. Stimulus-response psychology is solid, and practical as well; for if it can establish the laws of reaction, so as to predict what response will be made to a given stimulus, ...
— Psychology - A Study Of Mental Life • Robert S. Woodworth

... our property, is sometimes put for utility in general, and this for happiness; insomuch, that, under these ambiguities, it is not surprising we are still unable to determine, whether interest is the only motive of human action, and the standard by which to distinguish ...
— An Essay on the History of Civil Society, Eighth Edition • Adam Ferguson, L.L.D.

... from the stand-point of their times. There is a curious parallelism in the essentials of that conflict with the present attempt to elevate King Cotton to the throne of this Republic. It is close enough to show that the same great rules have hitherto governed human action with unerring fidelity. The Government displayed at the outset the same vacillation; the people were apparently as thoroughly indifferent to the Hanoverian cause as the Northern merchants, before the fall of Sumter, to the prosperity of Lincoln's administration. The Russell of 1745, writing ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 48, October, 1861 • Various

... produced, this pattern of kindly readers will accept it at its worth, without tearing its web apart, with the idle purpose of discovering how the threads have been knit together; for the sagacity by which he is distinguished will long ago have taught him that any narrative of human action and adventure whether we call it history or romance—is certain to be a fragile handiwork, more easily rent than mended. The actual experience of even the most ordinary life is full of events that never explain themselves, either as regards their ...
— The Marble Faun, Volume II. - The Romance of Monte Beni • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... and Robert Morris; law in James Wilson of Pennsylvania; the philosophy of government in James Madison, called the "father of the Constitution." They were not theorists but practical men, rich in political experience and endowed with deep insight into the springs of human action. Three of them had served in the Stamp Act Congress: Dickinson of Delaware, William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut, and John Rutledge of South Carolina. Eight had been signers of the Declaration of Independence: Read of Delaware, Sherman of Connecticut, ...
— History of the United States • Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard

... much would it avail you, if you could, by the use of John Brown, Helper's Book, and the like, break up the Republican organization? Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling against slavery in this nation, which cast at least a million and a half of votes. You cannot destroy that judgment and feeling—that ...
— Lincoln's Inaugurals, Addresses and Letters (Selections) • Abraham Lincoln

... imparted its stern and awful interest to the narration of events—men were delineated, not as mere self-acting and self-willed mortals, but as the agents of a destiny inevitable and unseen—the gods themselves are no longer the gods of Homer, entering into the sphere of human action for petty motives and for individual purposes—drawing their grandeur, not from the part they perform, but from the descriptions of the poet;—they appear now as the oracles or the agents of fate—they are visiters from another world, terrible and ominous from the warnings which they convey. ...
— Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... Idyls is bound together, like the first, though somewhat less closely, by a leading idea, which, whether consciously or not, is hinted at in a pointed little prologue: the idea of the paradox of human action, and the apparent antagonism between motive and result. The volume differs considerably from its precursor, and it contains nothing quite equal to the best of the earlier poems. There is more variety, perhaps, but the human interest is less intense, the stories less moving and absorbing. ...
— An Introduction to the Study of Browning • Arthur Symons

... downfall of Pyrrhonism lay in the fact that it had nothing to offer to humanity in the place of what it had destroyed. It made no appeal to human sympathies, and ignored all the highest motives to human action. The especial materialistic standpoint from which Pyrrhonism judged all that pertains to knowledge and life shut out the ideal, and all possibility of absolute truth. It was an expression of the philosophic decadence of ...
— Sextus Empiricus and Greek Scepticism • Mary Mills Patrick

... to Parson Jotham it must be said that his intentions were of the best, no doubt, but his estimate of the motive forces of human action was too narrow. He believed the only way to win people from vice to virtue and good conduct was to ...
— Pocket Island - A Story of Country Life in New England • Charles Clark Munn

... sure no earnest work Of any honest creature, howbeit weak Imperfect, ill-adapted, fails so much, It is not gathered as a grain of sand To enlarge the sum of human action used For carrying out God's end.... ... let us be content in work, To do the thing we can, and not presume To fret ...
— Susan B. Anthony - Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian • Alma Lutz

... Hester's character seemed to have changed. She became simple in her habits, almost to cynicism. Scanning men and things with a wonderful intelligence, she commented upon them as if the motives of human action were laid open to her inspection.' The plague having again broken out in the neighbourhood, the party at Mar Elias were insulated upon their rock, and during the early days of their tenancy were in much the same position ...
— Little Memoirs of the Nineteenth Century • George Paston

... sun grow dark or the stars fall, not with any reference to his pains or pleasure was this universe spread upon the night. That Intelligence which pursues its own ends in this All, which sees from first to last the chain of causes which mould human action, measures not its purposes by man's halting sensations. Such an Intelligence is fitly described ...
— The Religious Sentiment - Its Source and Aim: A Contribution to the Science and - Philosophy of Religion • Daniel G. Brinton

... into a demi-god; no Marlborough who was the embodiment of all human vices. His mind, discarding the ordinary prejudices of the historian, took a wider range, and his researches were not into the transactions of a particular monarch or minister, as such, but into the laws of human action, and their results upon the civilization of the race. Hence, while he wrote history, he plunged into all the depths of philosophy; and thus it is, that his work, left unfinished by himself, can never be completed by another. It is a work which will admit ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 2, No 3, September, 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy. • Various

... it is true, adapt themselves to the environment; but their adaptation is essentially a method of using and modifying the environment in their own favor, precisely as is the case with human action. {23} Therefore Huxley's sharp distinction between natural plant life and man's artificial garden ...
— The Moral Economy • Ralph Barton Perry

... Benevolent kindness, if it came in her way, was a labour of love; and a hundred home occupations were greatly delighted in. They were not generally of an exalted character; Eleanor's training and associations had not led her into any very dignified path of human action; she had led only a butterfly's life of content and pleasure, and her character was not at all matured; but the capabilities were there; and the energy and will that might have done greater things, wrought beautiful embroidery, made endless fancy work, ordered ...
— The Old Helmet, Volume I • Susan Warner

... migration of birds, snow, ice, clouds, trees, leaves, and flowers." This type of composition program under present conditions cannot be a vital one. Elementary science is not taught in the schools of Cleveland; and so the subject matter of these topics is not developed. Further, it is the world of human action, revealed in history, geography, travels, accounts of industry, commerce, manufacture, transportation, etc., that possesses the greater value for the purposes of education, as well as far greater interest for ...
— What the Schools Teach and Might Teach • John Franklin Bobbitt

... acquaintance; a comrade in amusement; a famous, or unknown power in the world—what do people say? A pity that he is gone! or, no help for it! Well, what influence can the disappearance of that man exercise on a given sphere of human action; on the course of men's relations and interests? Life, like a rushing river, tears all living men forward, and behind them, ever more distant, remains that misty region, which is filled with the vanished and forgotten. Who are they who, at any time, think of that misty region, and look at the ...
— The Argonauts • Eliza Orzeszko (AKA Orzeszkowa)

... written at the beginning of the respective Presents will ascertain the division of the Property. If not, none of the Donees, I dare say, will grudge a community of property in this case. We were constrained to pack 'em how we could, for room. Also there comes W. Hazlitt's book about Human Action, for Coleridge; a little song book for Sarah Coleridge; a Box for Hartley which your Brother was to have sent, but now devolved on us—I don't know from whom it came, but the things altogether were too much for Mr. (I've forgot his name) to take charge of; a Paraphrase on the King and Queen ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. 5 • Edited by E. V. Lucas

... extensive library, no costly laboratory. You do not even need textbooks or teachers if you will but think for yourselves. All that you need is care in reducing complex phenomena to their elements, in distinguishing the essential from the accidental, and in applying the simple laws of human action with which you are familiar. Take nobody's opinion for granted; "try all things; hold fast to that which is good." In this way, the opinions of others will help you by their suggestions, elucidations and corrections; otherwise they will be to you as ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 9 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Reformers • Elbert Hubbard

... Tom Sawyer succeeds in getting other boys to relieve him of the drudgery of whitewashing a fence. That episode was introduced to enable the author to make more impressive his philosophy of a certain phase of human action:— ...
— History of American Literature • Reuben Post Halleck

... essentials of the book as a contribution to biological philosophy. The closing chapters contain a lucid statement of objections to his theory as they might be put by a rigid necessitarian, and a refutation of that interpretation as applied to human action. ...
— Unconscious Memory • Samuel Butler

... impugned until some example can be produced of a virtue generally pernicious or a vice generally beneficial.'[573] Hume, however, overlooks the 'rightful supremacy of the moral faculty over every other principle of human action.' Mackintosh thought that his best service, as he told Macvey Napier,[574] had been his 'endeavour to slip in a foundation under Butler's doctrine of the supremacy of the conscience, which he left baseless.' To slip in a foundation is a very delicate operation in logical as in material architecture; ...
— The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3) - James Mill • Leslie Stephen

... men or women all their lives used to luxury and with no ability whatever at earning money—for such persons to marry money in order to save themselves from the misery and shame that poverty means to them is the most natural, the most human action conceivable. The man or the woman who says he or she would not do it, either is a hypocrite or is talking without thinking. You may in honesty criticize and condemn a social system that suffers men and women to be so crudely and criminally miseducated by being ...
— The Price She Paid • David Graham Phillips

... downward. Ordinary assassins employ no such modes of murder as this. Least of all, do they thus dispose of the murdered. In the manner of thrusting the corpse up the chimney, you will admit that there was something excessively outr—something altogether irreconcilable with our common notions of human action, even when we suppose the actors the most depraved of men. Think, too, how great must have been that strength which could have thrust the body up such an aperture so forcibly that the united vigor of several persons was found barely sufficient to ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 1 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... the motives of human action have long been known—although psychology, or the science of soul and sentiment, has ceased to present us with any new facts—it is quite certain that our edifice of Morals is not quite built up. We may rest assured ...
— The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims - Volume II (of II) • Andrew Steinmetz

... omission of the whole moral side is still a defect. For as he interprets knowledge to be the conformity of our ideas to facts, has there not been a clearly recognisable progress in the improved conformity of our ideas to the most momentous facts of all, the various circumstances of human action, its motives and consequences? No factor among the constituents of a progressive civilisation deserves more carefully to be taken into account, than the degree in which the current opinion and usage of ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 2 of 3) - Turgot • John Morley

... and that culture is of value to the end that service may become more effective. Then it will cheerfully recognize the truth that the social obligation is as important as the individual right, and that the two make the rounded whole of human action. ...
— Unitarianism in America • George Willis Cooke

... strengthen the motive in a given direction, mankind tend more to act in that direction. Better motives—better impulses, rather—come from a good body: worse motives or worse impulses come from a bad body. A Freewillist may admit as much as a Necessarian that such improved conditions tend to improve human action, and that deteriorated conditions tend to deprave human action. No Freewillist ever expects as much from St. Giles's as he expects from Belgravia: he admits an hereditary nervous system as a datum for the will, ...
— Physics and Politics, or, Thoughts on the application of the principles of "natural selection" and "inheritance" to political society • Walter Bagehot

... laws of human action are precisely as authoritative in their application to the conduct of a million of men, as to that of six or twelve. All enmity, jealousy, opposition, and secrecy are wholly, and in all circumstances, destructive ...
— A Joy For Ever - (And Its Price in the Market) • John Ruskin

... and turning all parts of the earth's surface to his uses, has succeeded to some extent in reducing its physical differences. The earth as modified by human action is a conspicuous fact of historical development.[234] Irrigation, drainage, fertilization of soils, terrace agriculture, denudation of forests and forestration of prairies have all combined to diminish the contrasts between diverse ...
— Influences of Geographic Environment - On the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-Geography • Ellen Churchill Semple

... while I fully comprehended the awful import of the vow 'Till death us do part,' and denied that human legislators could free us, or annul the marriage, I was resolved, while life lasted, to consider myself a duped, an unloved, but a lawful wife,—a woman consecrated by solemn oaths that no human action could cancel. Since money was the bait, I was willing to divide my fortune as the price of a quiet separation; and though from that hour I intended to quit his presence forever, and regard the tie that linked us as merely nominal, I would allow him a liberal income until I attained my majority ...
— Vashti - or, Until Death Us Do Part • Augusta J. Evans Wilson

... not correct to say that Metternich was indifferent to the Greek cause; he actually hated it, because it gave a stimulus to the liberal movement of Germany. In his empty and pedantic philosophy of human action, Metternich linked together every form of national aspiration and unrest as something presumptuous and wanton. He understood nothing of the debt that mankind owes to the spirit of freedom. He was just as ready to dogmatise upon the wickedness of the English Reform Bill as he was to trace ...
— History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 • C. A. Fyffe



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