|What's in a Word?
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See also:Science versus Materialism
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 to be understood not 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.
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 is 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 configurations?
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 yet have become apparent, but I hope it will emerge as this investigation proceeds. It will be found that the various arguments, 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.