Doing and Making

“Doing something” is closely related to “making something.” In some languages one word is used for both, as in Latin facere means both “to do” and “to make.” Even in English, various idiomatic expressions bring the two together, as in “doing the dishes,” “doing my homework,” and the like, where the person is both doing something, and making something, namely clean dishes or completed homework. Similarly, expressions like “making love” and “making out” actually refer more to doing something than to making or causing anything.

Nonetheless, the two are not equivalent. Doing, at least in relation to human beings, generally contains the idea of an action which is chosen, either directly, as we spoke about actions like walking to the door or opening it, or indirectly, through a series of such actions, in the way that the action of “going for a walk” would involve many such actions. Making, on the other hand, is roughly equivalent to efficient causality, and the effect is considered the thing which is made. Anyone who does something, of course, also causes or makes various things in the world, but it is not the same to say that he is doing something and that he is causing something.



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