Material Differences Between History and Nature Andrew P. Porter Abstract:
The paper finds at least nine material differences between acts in history and entities in nature.
(1) Nature rules out intentional structures essential to human acts.
(2) Material trajectories in nature are unique, but acts in history are open to multiple interpretations.
(3) In terms of set theory, history is bigger than nature.
(4) Historical acts cannot be demarcated from the rest of the world by interactions with the world at a boundary. What happens far off-stage can transform human acts in focal view.
(5) Human acts can be revised after the fact. Material trajectories in nature cannot be.
(6) Meaning and interpretation are constitutive of human acts.
(7) Human acts may involve physical motions; they do not always.
(8) Human acts always involve final causes.
(9) Efficient causes in nature determine their effects; efficient causes in history may not.