1. THE NEED FOR A RECAPITULATION
of the material that has been presented here must necessarily be too condensed
to bring enlightenment to those who have not read the
preceding pages. And for those who have done so it may
seem largely superfluous. But not wholly so, I think.
Not only is it convenient to find a number of conclusions
brought into close association that had to be widely
separated as the reasoning proceeded. Some stocktaking
also serves a useful purpose; it helps one to distinguish
between those conclusions that call for further critical
study and those that do not.
The statements that are made while a line of reasoning
is being followed fall into three classes. There are, firstly,
those statements that are mere definitions, secondly,
facts beyond dispute, and thirdly, speculation. The
temptation to confuse these three classes is often a strong
one. Those who find the path attractive along which the
reasoning is leading them will accept speculation for fact.
While those who find the path unattractive will argue
about definitions as though they were facts and attempt
to discount unwelcome facts by representing them as
mere speculation. A very brief recapitulation in the form
of a classified stocktaking may help to prevent both
errors and to direct attention from statements about
which further argument would be sterile to those about
.which it would prove fruitful.
2. STATEMENTS THAT ARE MERE DEFINITIONS
Let me begin then by repeating the more important
statements that are no more than definitions. There are
three of them.
A non-material influence lacks location.
The word matter includes energy and everything that
can transmit energy and excludes everything that lacks
Dualism is the theory of reality according to which the
course of some events is determined partly by the action
of matter on matter and partly by the action of non-material influences on matter.
I feel sure that many who call themselves dualists
would not approve of the above definitions. I feel sure
that many who call themselves vitalists and say that life
is non-material believe that it has location. I feel sure
that many who say that mind is non-material also believe
that it could be detected by energy transferred from it to
sufficiently delicate measuring instruments, just as magnetic fields can be detected. I feel sure, in other words,
that many who object to materialism would, nevertheless,
have to be called materialists according to my definition
of the word. But the preceding pages have not been
concerned with such beliefs. They have been concerned
with the question whether those dualists are right who
use words with the meanings given them by the above
definitions. Do things that are nowhere influence the
course of events somewhere? is the question that has
been studied here.
3. FACTS THAT ARE BEYOND DISPUTE
Among the well-known facts that are relevant to this
question the following are particularly significant:
(a) Every material change requires the transfer of
energy to or from the tiling that is undergoing the
(b) This energy cannot be transmitted by a non-material influence defined as above.
(c) Human beings do things in their daily lives that
serve a conscious purpose.
(d) It can be observed that two distinct material
systems have to be present whenever a given
process serves a conscious purpose. Both systems
are so constructed that they can conveniently be
spoken of as paths for the passage of a commodity.
The one system serves to supply the requisite
energy and I have called it a path for the energy.
The other does not supply any energy; I have called
it a path for the diathesis.
The path for the diathesis always consists of mechanisms
so arranged that they would, in the language of engineering, be called relays in cascade.
It is the presence of a path for diathesis that distinguishes
between the two ways in which a process may be caused.
I have called the one causation with control and the other
causation without control.
4. CONCLUSIONS TO BE DRAWN FROM THE FACTS
So much for facts. There might be some argument as
to their relevance; there could be none as to their accuracy.
It is only about the conclusions drawn from the facts
that legitimate argument may arise. In fallible human
hands logic remains an imperfect instrument and so no
conclusion, though it appear plausible, should be accepted
uncritically. Let me then bring together the more
important of the conclusions that have been reached in
the preceding pages.
From the first of the above recapitulated facts one might
decide without further hesitation against dualism; one
might declare it to be impossible for a thing that is
nowhere to influence the course of events somewhere. But
it is not easy to draw the same conclusion from the
remaining facts. And I have drawn the opposite ones.
I have said, for instance, that the brain is not the
originator of a conscious purpose, but the instrument by
means of which the purpose is achieved. Whether I am
right or wrong in saying so depends, it seems to me, on
the right answer to one question only: Can any material
system be the originator of such a thing as a purpose, or
even of the illusion of a purpose? Those who wish to
study the present theme seriously will have to concentrate
their attention on this question. The question concerns
the nature of matter and the answer must be based on
knowledge of the nature of matter, on physics. It is
because I can find no justification whatever for the answer
"yes" that I am forced to regard the brain as an instrument
and not as an originator.
I have also said that the first of the mechanisms spoken
of as relays in cascade is controlled by an influence without
location. I have reached this conclusion because it seems
logically impossible either to deny that the control is
exercised or to postulate anything with location from
which the control can reach the first of the relays. And
if the control is not exercised by something with location
it can only be exercised by something without location.
5. THE RIGHT ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS IN CHAPTER I
And so we are brought back to Chapter I, in which
I asked eight questions. Here are the answers to which
our laborious investigation has led:
A complete list of the causes of a physical change does
not necessarily contain only physical forces.
Our non-material minds do control our material bodies.
The sort of control that is exercised by the human mind
is probably not unique. The structure and behaviour of
all living substance is probably subject to the same kind
of control by a non-material influence.
Mind and life are active realities.
They are distinct from the body.
They are non-material in the sense that they lack
The universe is a dualistic one.
An integration of all knowledge would not bring all
the sciences within the scope of physics.
I have reached these conclusions simply because no
others seem to fit the facts. But that does not mean that
they should mark the close of the investigation. Every
conclusion in science places two obligations on the
scientist. One is to make an attempt to shake the conclusion: the other is to follow up its implications.
I have myself in these pages honestly faced every
objection to my conclusions that I could find and I have
tried to express every objection as clearly as I could.
And I am hoping that others may do what I have done
and look for further facts and logical arguments by means
of which alternative conclusions might be revealed.
There yet remains the second obligation. And the most
pregnant of the implications inherent in my conclusions
seems to me to concern those tiny mechanisms, the
controlled elements of primary relays. How does the
controlled element of a primary relay work? is the great
question that calls loudly for an answer. Small as this
element must be, vast consequences to science would, I
venture to suggest, flow from an understanding of the way
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