At a surgical operation I once heard a bystander ask a doctor why the patient breathed so deeply. “Because ether is a respiratory stimulant,” the doctor answered. “Ah!” said the questioner, as if that were a good explanation. But this is like saying that cyanide of potassium kills because it is a “poison”, or that it is so cold tonight because it is “winter”, or that we have five fingers because we are “pentadactyls”. These are but names for the facts, taken from the facts, and then treated as previous and explanatory.
- Pg 116, Pragmatism – William James, ISBN 978-0-7607-4996-8