They speak to anyone who has been baffled by the old conflict between personal freedom and causal order. More widely, they examine the role of action in the projection of any general order, including the physical. They find history as the career and evolution of self-criticizing and self-correcting action. They reject all "theories" of history, whether as a chaos or an episode in an ahistoric totality. They propose a common source of science and the humanities, of laboratory and the Muses. Key words here are act and action. They contrast with passivity and with the convention that requires us to keep out of our own thought in order to avoid illusion and egotistical pretentiousness.