American Civil War Reference Library, Cumulative Index by Kevin Hillstrom, Lawrence W. Baker

By Kevin Hillstrom, Lawrence W. Baker

Indexes the volumes (Almanac, Biographies, and first resources) within the American Civil conflict Reference Library.

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The reason is that the differences between them rest on very fundamental issues of philosophy, claims about epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. Since these issues were first raised by Plato almost 2,400 years ago, philosophers have not been able to settle them. Why should the rest of us bother about these issues? They cannot be settled, and we don’t occupy the extreme positions in the philosophy of social science. For these reasons, many social scientists aren’t interested in the subject at all.

When and why the eye blinks is a matter for physiology, not social science. But when and why people wink at others is a question that does concern the anthropologist, the sociologist, and the psychologist. This is 35 0813345925-Rosenberg_layout 10/17/11 9:34 AM Page 36 36 3—THE EXPLANATION OF HUMAN ACTION because winking is an action. Social science begins with the objective of explaining action, but it does not end there. Much social science is concerned with explaining large-scale events, for example, inflation or war.

ACTION, NOT BEHAVIOR We can divide human activities roughly into two classes: “mere” behavior and action. Mere behavior includes what happens inside our bodies, such as the beating of our hearts, or at the body’s surface, reflexive withdrawal from painful stimuli, or the opening and closing of the eye’s iris. Action differs from mere behavior. It is what we do as opposed to what happens to our bodies. Actions are behaviors that are somehow under our control or could be, if we gave them enough thought.

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