A SINGLE word is needed for those things that I have
hitherto spoken of, rather cumbrously, as non-material influences. And this is needed whether the
dualistic doctrine in which such influences are postulated
is true or false. If a doctrine is to be fairly presented,
adequately appreciated, even effectively criticised and
refuted, its terminology must be first agreed.
Words sometimes to be heard in a sermon and possibly
intended to cover what I am now seeking to define, are
"higher powers" or "unseen forces". These have a place
in theology and ethics, but not here. One objection is
that I am not sure whether those who use these terms
mean thereby influences with or without location. As
I have just said, I do not think that it concerns them to
know whether the things that they call higher powers and
unseen forces have location or not. And if these terms can
be used to mean things that do have location they are
quite unsuitable for the present purpose.
Another objection is that in science the word force
should be limited to its physical meaning as rate of
change of momentum, as something that does have
location and belongs to the material part of reality. And
a third objection is that the words "higher" and "unseen"
are not to be understood literally but metaphorically.
In theology and some branches of philosophy this is no
objection. But in science it is a grave one. Technical
terms must always have only a literal significance.
None of these objections applies to the term "non-material influences", which I have used already and shall
continue to use occasionally. But a new term diathete is,
I think, better. I have given my reasons in Science versus
Materialism* for choosing this word. The theory that mind
and life have an existence distinct from that of the material
body can conveniently be expressed by saying that they
are both diathetes. If monism is right diathetes do not
have a real existence; if dualism is right they do.
A word is also needed to define any structure or configuration that, according to the dualistic theory, is
doubly determinate. I suggest diatheme. A diatheme
any structure or configuration that comes into existence
as the combined result of the action of material forces and
of a diathete. Those who say that the production of a
poem is a doubly determinate event would call the poem
a diatheme. Those who say that a non-material mind
contributes to the production of a machine would call that
machine a diatheme. Those who believe in the effectiveness of non-material minds would apply the same word
to all works that result from man's intelligence. If life is a
diathete every living thing, every plant, every animal
every micro-organism is a diatheme. And those who believe that a spread of pebbles along the sea shore is the result of mere chance, would deny that this configuration
was a diatheme. A suitable expression for it would be adiathetous configuration.
So a question that should be added to the eight that have been formulated in Chapter I is this:
Does the universe contain any diathemes or only adiathetous
Lastly a word is needed for the process by which a diatheme is produced. I shall use diathesis. Literally the word means the process of disposing things to the requirements
of a specification. If mind is a diathete, the process of
writing a poem (or of writing anything at all) is a
diathesis. So is the process of constructing a machine. If
life is another diathete, the process of growth in a living
organism is a diathesis. On the other hand a process in
which things just shake down, unspecified, unguided, like
pebbles along the sea shore, is an adiathetous process.
Thus the process of pouring reagents into a test tube would
be called a diathesis by those who believe that the controlling mind of the chemist is a diathete. But the random
movement of the molecules in the reagents would be
called an adiathetous movement.
So much for new technical terms. Their significance
may not have become apparent yet. It will, I hope, as this
investigation proceeds. It will be found that the various
arguments that there are both for and against the view
that a thing without location ever acts on a thing with
location cannot be adequately presented without the
use of new technical terms.
* Published by Messrs. Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1940.
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