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Is it a mistake to value action over thought?

Prompt 3

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

We live in a world that values action over thought. The idea of taking time to reflect and think things through is out of favor. Our most popular movies and novels focus on action, not reflection, and our most admired public figures are praised for what they do, not for what they think. While there is something to be said for taking action instinctively and without hesitation, the fact is that people put too much emphasis on action.

Assignment: Is it a mistake to value action over thought? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience.


2013-5-8 11:26:06

Posted by DoctorZ | 阅读全文 | 回复(4) | 引用通告 | 编辑

Re:Is it a mistake to value action over thought?

We often hear that "knowledge is power." But, knowledge without action is really only power in reserve. It remains useless and inconsequential if it's not tapped into by applying action. Knowledge that is not put to action remains just knowledge in your head, just thoughts, just words, and provides no benefit to others. It's completely practically wasted.

 

To accomplish results, we must couple our knowledge with the necessary action to attain results. The formula for achieving results is: Knowledge + Action = Result. If you were to apply massive action to your knowledge, it would have a faster, and even greater impact on your and others’ life and the world.

 

Why is it that most people find it difficult to put the necessary action behind their knowledge? I believe it is nothing more than a lack of belief.

 

Your belief system is the driving force behind your behaviors and your results. If you can change your beliefs, you will change your behaviors. When you change your behaviors, you will change your results. Then, when you change your results, you will change your life.

 

It all starts with your belief system. Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23).

 

Now, many things can keep one from believing. But, I think the biggest factor that keeps one from believing is fear. It is a fact that it takes courage to succeed. But, keep in mind that courage isn't the absence of fear, it's the ability to press on despite the presence of fear. Many times, the solution to any fear is simply to do the thing you fear. It's amazing how the fear will disappear!

 

The smallest of actions, even the ones that seem trivial and insignificant, can lead to great success. It's been said that, "Actions, like pictures, are worth a thousand words."

 

Without action, you could have the greatest idea and the greatest plan in the world and you would still fail. Whereas a modest idea and an incomplete plan often produces success when accompanied by enough action.

 

You just got to get moving. Sir Isaac Newton's principle that states a "body at rest tends to remain at rest and a body in motion tends to remain in motion," definitely applies to the action principle. Once you've taken the first step, the next steps seem easier to take.

 

It's a natural law that if you do nothing, nothing will happen; if you take minimum action, results are going to be minimal; but, if you take massive action, then you will be rewarded with massive results.Hugely successful people, the kind who go from mediocre to millions almost overnight, know that the major key to their success was taking massive action.

 

If you want to become hugely successful you must start at the beginning. Most beginnings are small, and appear trivial and insignificant, but in reality they are extremely important.

 

It's not only the right beginning that is important, it's beginning in the first place. It's about applying that powerful little six-letter-word called "action."

 


2013-5-8 19:17:01

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

Re:Is it a mistake to value action over thought?

Some background info about action and thought

 

 

We know what is thought (or do we?). But what is action? Do we really understand it fully?

 

Basic action theory typically describes action as behavior caused by an agent in a particular situation. The agent's desires and beliefs (e.g. my wanting a glass of water and believing the clear liquid in the cup in front of me is water) lead to bodily behavior (e.g. reaching over for the glass). In the simple theory (see Donald Davidson), the desire and belief jointly cause the action. Michael Bratman has raised problems for such a view and argued that we should take the concept of intention as basic and not analyzable into beliefs and desires.

 

In some theories a desire plus a belief about the means of satisfying that desire are always what is behind an action. Agents aim, in acting, to maximize the satisfaction of their desires. Such a theory of prospective rationality underlies much of economics and other social sciences within the more sophisticated framework of Rational Choice. However, many theories of action argue that rationality extends far beyond calculating the best means to achieve one's ends. For instance, a belief that I ought to do X, in some theories, can directly cause me to do X without my having to want to do X (i.e. have a desire to do X). Rationality, in such theories, also involves responding correctly to the reasons an agent perceives, not just acting on wants.

 

While action theorists generally employ the language of causality in their theories of what the nature of action is, the issue of what causal determination comes to has been central to controversies about the nature of free will.

 

Conceptual discussions also revolve around a precise definition of action in philosophy. Scholars may disagree on which bodily movements fall under this category, e.g. whether thinking should be analysed as action, and how complex actions involving several steps to be taken and diverse intended consequences are to be summarised or decomposed.

 

For example, throwing a ball is an instance of action; it involves an intention, a goal, and a bodily movement guided by the agent. On the other hand, catching a cold is not considered an action because it is something which happens to a person, not something done by one. Generally an agent doesn't intend to catch a cold or engage in bodily movement to do so (though we might be able to conceive of such a case). Other events are less clearly defined as actions or not. For instance, distractedly drumming ones fingers on the table seems to fall somewhere in the middle. Deciding to do something might be considered a mental action by some. However, others[who?] think it is not an action unless the decision is carried out. Unsuccessfully trying to do something might also not be considered an action for similar reasons (for e.g. lack of bodily movement). It is contentious whether believing, intending, and thinking are actions since they are mental events.

 

Some would prefer to define actions as requiring bodily movement (see behaviorism). The side effects of actions are considered by some to be part of the action; in an example from Anscombe's manuscript Intention, pumping water can also be an instance of poisoning the inhabitants. This introduces a moral dimension to the discussion (see also Moral agency). If the poisoned water resulted in a death, that death might be considered part of the action of the agent that pumped the water. Whether a side effect is considered part of an action is especially unclear in cases in which the agent isn't aware of the possible side effects. For example, an agent that accidentally cures a person by administering a poison he was intending to kill him with.

 

A primary concern of the philosophy of action is to analyze the nature of actions and distinguish them from similar phenomena. Other concerns include individuating actions, explaining the relationship between actions and their effects, explaining how an action is related to the beliefs and desires which cause and/or justify it (see practical reason), as well as examining the nature of agency. A primary concern is the nature of free will and whether actions are determined by the mental states that precede them (see determinism). Some philosophers (e.g. Donald Davidson) have argued that the mental states the agent invokes as justifying his action are physical states that cause the action. Problems have been raised for this view because the mental states seem to be reduced to mere physical causes. Their mental properties don't seem to be doing any work. If the reasons an agent cites as justifying his action, however, are not the cause of the action, they must explain the action in some other way or be causally impotent.


2013-5-8 14:53:28

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

Re:Is it a mistake to value action over thought?

I do.” “Fire!” “We need to talk.” “I love you.” “God bless you.” “We the people.” “Rest in peace.” Or even the sentence “I value thought more than action.”

 

Yes these are all merely words, simple, meager, pathetic words; nothing more than a combination of letters arbitrarily set in place to represent an idea. I believe, however, that words carry power and value. I believe in the power of words. Words are thoughts themselves. Without words, people can not think. That it is possible for the dialogue between humans to transcend their intended meanings. I believe that through words, or thoughts, not only can peace be achieved, but also a greater understanding of the human condition, the nature, and ultimately we human ourselves. So my opinion is simple – it is indeed a mistake to value action over words and thoughts, over human mind.

 

I was 8 years old on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. As a third grader, I watched nearly 3,000 American citizens lose their lives on national television…over and over and over again. The news stations had the tower collapses on for weeks. All I saw was 3,000 innocent people dying on repeat. The images are forever ingrained in my mind, but so are the words of President Bush that night: “None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”

 

I lost a lot of sleep in the nights that followed those attacks, and moreover, I lost a lot faith in the world. Never once did I lose faith in his words however.

 

It is often said that actions speak louder than words, but I argue that without words actions have no value. Anyone can fly a plane into a building. The actions that day, while tragic, were not the important factor. The goal was never to end 3,000 lives, rather it was to spread a message; the words that led to the action. Words bear the responsibility of starting wars, genocides, and famines. They can spread hate, distrust and slander. However, words also have the power to start both marriages and families. They have the ability to save lives, and raise hopes. They can help us mourn, as well as express our joy.

 

When I hear the words of the President quoted, they rally my spirits. They express a power that can never be fully realized. That power comes from the fact that no actions can ever do justice to his words, which speak loud and clear to the hearts of millions. Likewise, no action will be able to create peace in the world. No invasion can create stability, and no missile can ever start a trusting bond. Words can. This is the true power of words, and why I believe that they are so useful; words can do whatever we want them to. It’s just up to us to use them properly.


2013-5-8 14:44:06

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

Re:Is it a mistake to value action over thought?

A simple truth I follow religiously is simply this - Think Before You Act. It is never too much, it is not wrong, to think before acting, particularly actions that incur significant consequences to our lives.

 

Do you think your life and actions are predetermined? Think about the choices you make everyday. What you eat. What you watch. What you wear. What you buy. What you listen to. How you relate to others. A wise man once said, “Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world” Goethe I believe it is wise to think before you act, because the immediate thrill lasts but a moment, while the consequences may last a lifetime.

 

I remember a few years ago trying to decide which high school to attend. Should I continue in private school and go to Cathedral Catholic, go to my neighborhood school Carlsbad High, or get an inter-district transfer and go to La Costa Canyon? There were many things to consider…the cost, the distance, the education and of course, my friends! I gathered information in each of my areas of concern. Information is power! As I toured each school, I made a list of pros and a list of cons. This helped me organize my thoughts in a clear, concise way. Another thing that I noticed through visiting the schools was the feeling I got at each of the campuses. Ultimately, I chose La Costa Canyon and can honestly say that I feel “at home” here.

 

Being faced with choices at every turn can be daunting. Where would I be today if my parents decided to keep me in private school? Besides attending a different school, wearing a uniform, and driving a longer distance to get there, I would most likely have different friends. If I had different friends, would I act or dress differently? Would I see life in a different way? These are all things that really make me wonder and think about the endless possibilities that are available to each of us. It also makes me feel a little overwhelmed about what to choose and how some of our choices don’t have the outcome we want them to have.

 

An instance where I did not think before I acted and let my desire for fun take over my reasoning skills was when I chose to sneak out of my house in the middle of the night. I wanted to hang out with friends and knew that my parents would say “No!” I got in a friends’ car, thinking everything was going to be okay and that I would be home before my parents ever woke up. That was not the case! We were almost to our destination when we realized that we would not make it. I don’t know if it was the flashing red lights or the sirens that gave us a clue, but either way my heart hit the floor. The driver was speeding, did not have his license for a year, and was driving minors out past curfew. Immediately I knew I should have thought about the outcome before I made my decision. I should have put some of that pro vs. con reasoning into action. But, I was only thinking about having fun, being adventurous and living in the moment. Being searched and interrogated by a police officer was nothing compared to what was going to happen as I called my parents at two in the morning. The consequences of my choice that night lasted much longer than the fun I would have had if I ever made it to the party. This would have been a good time to think before I acted. Sometimes it seems that life is an uphill battle; you may take one step forward, only to be followed by two steps back. If we make one choice, will we miss out on something else? You may always wonder, “What if I chose option “B” instead of “A”? There are so many twists and turns on this journey called life, and I believe we should always think before we act. Remember that the choices we make determine the life we live, so gather information and choose wisely!


2013-5-8 11:44:11

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

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