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Ronald Coase

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If economists wished to study the horse, they wouldn't go and look at horses. They'd sit in their studies and say to themselves, "what would I do if I were a horse?"
--
In a speech to the "International Society of New Institutional Economics" the 17 September 1999, Washington DC. He claims he was quoting fellow economist Ely Devons which reportedly said this in a meeting.

 
Ronald Coase

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From the point of view of semantics, errors must be accidents: if in the extension of "horse" there are no cows, then it cannot be required for the meaning of "horse" that cows be called horses. On the other hand, if "horse" did not mean that which it means, and if it were an error for horses, it would never be possible for a cow to be called "horse." Putting the two things together, it can be seen that the possibility of falsely saying "this is a horse" presupposes the existence of a semantic basis for saying it truly, but not vice versa. If we put this in terms of the crude causal theory, the fact that cows cause one to say "horse" depends on the fact that horses cause one to say "horse"; but the fact that horses cause one to say "horse" does not depend on the fact that cows cause one to say "horse"...

 
Jerry Fodor
 

Like many people unfamiliar with the history of America's wild, free-roaming horses, I had always thought that the wild horse was a "mustang", that is, a unique breed of horse. In reality, wild horses are feral horses, the offspings of domestic horses that have been turned loose, or escaped, into the wild. By wild, I mean the animals are not owned privately, and they basically fend from themselves without any care or supervision. Moreover, they live in some of America's most remote and sparsely populated high desert country.

 
Jaime Jackson
 

"For it is very hard, my lord," said a convicted felon at the bar to the late excellent judge Burnet, "to hang a poor man for stealing a horse." "You are not to be hanged sir," answered my ever-honored and beloved friend, "for stealing a horse, but you are to be hanged that horses may not be stolen."

 
Henry Fielding
 

If the famous Clementi, whom I found here (Italy) in the year 1766, and bought of his father for seven years, is not still a Catholic, the fault is not with me.—I assured the Pope I would not endeavour to convert him. Meeting him one Sunday when we were in the country, I asked him—" Why he did not go to mass" (there was a Catholic chapel about ten miles distant) : he said—" There was no horse."—" No horse! Why don't you take the grey horse?"—"O quello, Signore, scappa via.( O that one, Gentleman, run off. )"—" Take then the black poney."—" E quello casca subito.( And that one falls quickly.)" So what with the horse that fell, and the horse that ran away, I fear Signior Clementi attended mass as seldom as you do a sermon.

 
Peter Beckford
 

Plato finds it necessary to separate, for example, "horseness" from "horse" and say that horseness is real and fixed and true and unmoving, while the horse is a mere, unimportant, transitory phenomenon. Horseness is pure Idea. The horse that one sees is a collection of changing Appearances, a horse that can flux and move around all it wants to and even die on the spot without disturbing horseness, which is the Immortal Principle and can go on forever in the path of the Gods of old.

 
Robert M. Pirsig
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