Path-distinguishing function

So we will try to arrange that the path-distinguishing function, constructed as an integral of a local property along the path, assumes a stationary value for any realizable path. Such a path-distinguishing function is traditionally called an action for the system. We use the word “action” to be consistent with common usage. Perhaps it would be clearer to continue to call it “path-distinguishing function,” but then it would be more difficult for others to know what we were talking about.

— 1.3 The Principle of Stationary Action

— Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics

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2019.02.17 Sunday ACHK