If it be asked: What is it that you claim to be emergent?—the brief reply is: Some new kind of relation. Revert to the atom the molecule the thing (e.g. a crystal) the organism the person. At each ascending step there is a new entity in virtue of some new kind of relation or set of relations within it or as I phrase it intrinsic to it. Each exhibits also new ways of acting on and reacting to other entities. There are new kinds of extrinsic relatedness. As an expression of its new intrinsic relations the higher entity has new qualities; as expressing its new extrinsic relations it has new properties. Its own qualities and its acquired properties as I use these words (cf. § XXXIII.) are distinguishable though they co-exist inseparably in concrete fact.
Lecture III. Relatedness
XI. Relation and Relatedness. XII. Terms in Relation. XIII. External and Internal Relations. XIV. Logical Sense and Natural Direction. XV. Three-entity Situations.
§ XI. Relation and Relatedness.
It may still be asked in what distinctive sense the relations are new. The reply is that their specific nature could not be predicted before they appear in the evidence or prior to their occurrence. But what exactly does this mean? Give some comprehensible example. Well picture a state of matters in which say at a high temperature there is a system of molecules such system being in the vapour condition; this system gradually cools; a stage is reached when liquid drops are formed; there is further cooling; and a stage is reached when solids appear. Conceive the molecules in the vapour-system to have reflective experience. It would be that of the kind of relatedness which therein obtains. Could such a molecule foretell the relations which will obtain in liquids or in solids? We think not. And why? Because there are as yet no instances of these kinds of relatedness of which to have experience; and they are quite different from those in the vapour. Liquidity and solidity are what we speak of as emergently new and unpredictable before the event. When they come we accept them and formulate their “law” saying: Such is the constitution of nature. In like manner we think that on the level of physico-chemical events there could be no knowledge on the basis of which vital relatedness could be foreseen before it came. And so too at a later stage with mind as an emergent quality which expresses new relatedness of the conscious order.
Let us here pause to note parenthetically that we should not nowadays dream of saying that liquidity makes things liquid or that solidity renders them solid. But some do say that life gives to organisms the vital relatedness which obtains within them; and that it is mind that renders some higher organism conscious. On our view liquidity solidity life and mind are one and all names that we give to the specific kind of relatedness that obtains in this or that entity under consideration. We should hypostatise none of them or give to any one of them the status of an entity separable from the drop the solid thing the organism or the person.
To resume the more direct thread; it is of course open to a critic to say that given sufficient knowledge liquidity and solidity—to leave life and mind on one side—could be predicted; nay more that physicists working backwards and forwards through the series have bevelled off under suitable conditions the sharp angles of new departure. We are I trust not wholly ignorant of the facts which may be adduced. But we are still of opinion that the supposed prediction from the standpoint of molecules in a vapour of the relatedness which obtains in a drop of liquid implies a foreknowledge of a kind of relatedness among entities of which the denizens of the vapour could as yet have no experience. There we must leave the matter having said enough to indicate the stress to be laid on the kind of relations that obtain in entities of differing status.
There is one more matter for emphasis before we pass on. The concrete world we seek to interpret is a going concern. We may of course under quite legitimate device of method take intellectual snapshots of the fluent course of events; and we may thus consider immobility in abstraction. But in concrete fact there is no immobility. Events are always involved; and events imply change in the relations of terms. Even an electron I take it is an event; and an atom for all its seeming stability is a rhythmic whirl of events; nay rather it is the continuance of rhythmic change which gives it stability. We must bear in mind then that relatedness in the world at large and in everything therein is au fond fluent and ever changing.
On this understanding emergent evolution seeks to interpret on the one hand the persistence and continuity of natural events and on the other hand progressive advance with novelty. There is a carrying forward of old relations and the emergent advent of new relations. Hence there is perhaps no topic which is more cardinal to our interpretation—and indeed for philosophic thought—than that which centres round what I shall call relatedness. In this lecture some of its more general and salient features will be considered.
It has however been said that relation is the vaguest term in the philosophical vocabulary (S. T. D. I. p. 171). What then do we commonly mean when we use the word? Locke replies: “Relation is a way of comparing or considering two things together... When the mind so considers one thing that it does as it were bring it to and set it by another and carry its view from one to the other this is as the words import relation and respect” (E. H. U. Bk. II. ch. XXV. §§ 1 and 7). The stress here is on the bringing of things together so as to compare them and in doing so to “establish” as some put it a relation between them. When Tennyson says: “A doubtful throne is ice on summer seas” he discloses a relation between things which have seemingly little or nothing in common. But he does so on a like basis of instability. The prosaically expanded idea I take it is that the doubtful throne is undermined by disaffection just as an iceberg is undermined in a warm current. So too Shelley brings dead thoughts and withered leaves into relation through a “fertilising” concept. It requires poetic thought to bring such things together. Hence Locke can say of relations in the sense he intended that they “are not contained in the real existence of things but are something extraneous and superinduced” (§ 8).
Out of this view of the matter in certain cases and by extending it to every case may have arisen the contention that in the absence of mental acts there are no relations—all relations as Berkeley put it involving an act of the mind (P. H. K. § 142). This in due course led to the Kantian position and onwards.
Now it is unquestionable that we often do “bring things together” in order that we may compare them in some enlightening way. There is no call to deny that such procedure depends on an act of the mind in some sense of these words. But the outcome familiar enough is not the more restricted sort of relation with which I here deal in such fashion as may serve my purpose in hand. Icebergs and thrones—withered leaves and dead thoughts—do not dwell together on the same level of emergence. Comparison of events at different levels is the basis of analogy and of metaphor. I seek at the outset to keep within the bounds of concrete situations each considered on the same level without prejudice to such further comparisons as may be fruitful.
Mr. Alexander lays stress on what he calls “the integral situation”; and he says that “a relation may be described as the whole situation into which the terms enter in virtue of that relation” (S. T. D. I. p. 240). I shall speak of the whole situation as the relatedness which comprises both terms-in-relation and the relation-of-terms. This is not quite the sense in which Mr. Stout uses this word in a valuable paper (P. A. S. 1901–2 p. 7). The meaning he attaches to it may there be seen.
I want to make quite clear what I shall always mean when I use the word. It has rather an abstract look. But what I call an instance of relatedness is through and through concrete. It includes not only the relation-of-terms but also the terms-in-relation. An atom is an instance of relatedness; so too is an organism; and a person. Any entity as such is an instance of relatedness. Any concrete situation in which entities play their part each in respect of others is an instance of relatedness. And it is as an integral whole of relatedness that any individual entity or any concrete situation is a bit of reality. May I beg that this usage be steadily borne in mind?
Relatedness in this sense gives the stuff and substance of the integral whole in some given respect on which attention is fixed for the purpose of analysis. As has already been indicated or implied I distinguish relatedness within the system under contemplation as intrinsic; and that of one system to another as extrinsic. I am well aware that these words are used by other writers with a different connotation. I use them in a sense which is I hope comprehensible merely to render my own interpretation clear. Thus in my usage the relatedness of molecules within a drop of water is intrinsic to that drop regarded as a natural system; and the relatedness of the atoms within a molecule is intrinsic to that molecule. But the relatedness of atom to atom or of molecule to molecule is extrinsic for we are now regarding each molecule or each atom as itself an integral whole—i.e. as a system of subordinate status.
It may be objected that the same relatedness seems here to be taken first as intrinsic and then as extrinsic in a manner that is quite arbitrary. But is it the same or are we considering supervenient kinds of relatedness? Let that pass. Can some such method of treatment be justified? Well suppose we take man wife sons and daughters as units in that integral whole of relatedness we call a family. Within that family as our unit for contemplation their relations are intrinsic thereto. Thus is the family system constituted. But if we regard man wife and children as distinguishable and subordinate units for contemplation then they are severally in extrinsic relations to each other. Is it not permissible in the interest of analytic thought to change our centres of attentive regard? Is not this what we are actually doing all day long? Is it not part of normal procedure in science? We may surely deal first with the relations of atoms as intrinsic to the molecule; and then for the purposes of further research regard the atoms as subordinate systems with extrinsic relations inter se; then perhaps distinguish sub-systems within a complex atom; and eventually seek to determine the intrinsic relation of nucleus and electron or electrons within each sub-system. If the legitimacy of some such method be granted let us take extreme cases. In the universe as a natural system all relatedness is intrinsic. There being ex hypothesis nothing beyond it the universe is just a gigantic whole of intrinsic relatedness with no opportunity of extrinsic relations. On the other hand for the electron as a physical unit—supposing it to be ultimate in this respect—all relatedness is extrinsic; for again ex hypothesis there are no subordinate systems of physical order within it. But if it be ultimately a little bit of physical motion or a pure event then even within it there is at least the intrinsic spatio-temporal relatedness which constitutes it as such. Our thought in so far as it is based on methods of science takes its start somewhere between these extremes and works upwards or downwards from the chosen platform. And the successively more complex and less complex systems are not arbitrarily chosen; they are given as stages in emergent evolution and exhibit new modes of relatedness in an ascending order. In short the distinction is so far methodological in that we must always name the system wherein intrinsic relatedness obtains.
I have already (§ IV.) distinguished effective from non-effective relatedness. When the former obtains there is some change in the manner in which events run their course. I think that effective relatedness is pervasive and that non-effective relatedness is considered in abstraction therefrom.
§ XII. Terms in Relation.
Any whole of relatedness comprises terms in relation and the relation of terms. What are we to understand by the word “term”? Revert to atoms in a molecule. We may use the word for the atom which can come into this that or the other mode of relatedness. This is the current usage. I shall use the word in a more restricted sense in which I come into touch with Mr. Stout's use of the word “relatedness.” I shall use it for the part which an atom plays or the function it has in the actual instance of relatedness (in my sense) which is under consideration and which is susceptible of analysis into its terms in relation and the relation of its terms. I do not of course urge that persons or things or entities may not be said to be in relation; but that they are in such and such relation only in so far as they are terms in the specific relatedness concerned.
We commonly say that a person enters or comes into relation to other persons. He becomes for example debtor to his tailor husband of a wife or tenant to his landlord. Now in each event he is clearly what we call the same man; and he is usually said to be the same term in three different relations. In the usage I adopt or suggest though he is the same man in these different relations he is a different term in each. And as term we give to him a different name. He becomes a debtor to his tailor a husband when he marries a tenant when he takes a house. He becomes a new term and in salient cases acquires a new title whenever he comes into some new field of extrinsic relatedness of the social order. On this understanding the terms as such spring into existence with the relations as such in the course of evolutionary progress. Both are given together in the sense that if you find the one you are bound to find the other. They have neither existence in fact nor significance for our thought as sundered. We thus avoid the error of supposing that there can be terms (as I use the word) in existence awaiting some relation to connect them or relations in existence on the watch so to speak for some terms which they may connect.
It may perhaps be said that some plausibility for the point of view here taken is secured by emphasis on the relations of persons but that the suggested usage is much less plausible when we deal with the relations of things. I submit however that the exact procedure of science justifies such a restricted usage. The earth and the moon are in gravitative relation; and for scientific treatment they are just gravitative terms and nothing else within this universe of discourse. The earth may be made of green cheese and the moon of the best margarine for aught the physicist cares so long as he is dealing with the instance of gravitative relatedness as such. What they are “made of” is another question and beyond the evidence. Just as a man in household relatedness plays the part of a butler so does the earth function as a mass. It matters not in this field of relatedness whether the man is also a radical in politics or a Wesleyan or a flautist or a golfer; it matters not whether the earth in that field of relatedness is an oblate spheroid or made of green cheese.
I must beg that this restricted use of the word “term” be steadily borne in mind. Under current usage Miss Dorothy Wrinch (Mrs. Nicholson) says that “identical terms can form part of different facts. Unless the same term arrested our attention in several distinct complexes of fact we could not build up science” (P. A. S. 1921–2 p. 134). I fully agree with the tenour of this statement. But I should for better or worse so modify it as to say: Unless the same entity arrested our attention as playing the part of a distinct term in several distinct fields of relatedness we could build up no scientific or philosophical system.
From the usage I venture to suggest it follows that within any given instance of relatedness the terms and their relation are homogeneous. By this I do not mean quite what James meant and I think Mr. Alexander advocates namely that in rectilinear space-relatedness for example the terms are spaces and the relation is resolvable into other intervening spaces of like nature (M. T. p. 138 cf. S. T. D. I. pp. 165–239).
For me what intervenes between the minimal spatial positions we call end-points is not an indefinite series of such positions traversible in “ambulatory” fashion but just the indivisible distance-relation that is given as such. On this view no relation is divisible. But under convention an indivisible spatial distance may be co-related (as Mr. Russell shows P. M. p. 181) with a “stretch” which is divisible and may comprise as many terms as we choose to make therein. Similarly with time. The time-interval between any two moments is indivisible. It is just the temporal relation that it is. Only under some method of conventional treatment can it be co-related with that which is divisible. What I mean then by homogeneous is that the relatedness being spatial or temporal or gravitative or electro-magnetic and so on the terms in relation and the relation of terms are likewise spatial or temporal and so forth.
On this view of the distinction between terms and their relation we escape I think the dilemma with which Mr. Bradley has made us familiar. For if a relation be (i) indivisible and (ii) not a term there is no such infinite regress as affords one horn of the dilemma. There must however be something pretty definite on which Mr. Bradley bases his view that a relation is itself a term—from which all the rest follows. Can we find a clue in Mr. Russell's statement (A. M. p. 275) that as soon as we have words for relations verbal propositions have as such necessarily more terms than the facts to which they refer? Thus if we say: Socrates precedes Plato: the fact which makes the proposition true consists of two terms with a relation between them whereas (he says) the word-proposition consists of three terms with a relation of order between them. If this be so one may hazard the suggestion that the starting-point of Mr. Bradley's doctrine of infinite regress may be of verbal origin since on Mr. Russell's showing a word that means a relation is (in the verbal proposition) a term. Of course it is not only a verbal matter; for the word that means a relation expresses a distinguishable pulse of thought.
§ XIII. External and Internal Relations.
If terms (as I use the word) be what they are in virtue of the part they play intrinsically within some entity or extrinsically in relation to other entities in a situation each of them is functionally what it is in virtue of what one might call its official status. An atom of hydrogen holds an official status in the molecule of water. Every brick in a building has its official status; and that of no two bricks is quite the same. So too of any cell in a multicellular organism. So too of every citizen in a social community. What I suggest is that the word “term” may conveniently and without undue violence to traditional usage be applied to a thing or a person in virtue of what I here call its official status—in virtue of the unique office it holds in relation to other things or persons. Again I think I am in touch with Mr. Stout's view of relatedness.
This opens up the vexed question of so-called “internal” and “external” relations. What we have first to notice is that this distinction is not the same as that which I have drawn between intrinsic and extrinsic relations. Intrinsic relatedness is that which holds for some given system under contemplation within which subordinate terms are interrelated. Extrinsic relatedness obtains in regard to such a system and some other such system or some environing context. Now extrinsic relations might be called external and intrinsic relations internal. But that is not what is meant in current discussion. What is meant by “internal” is that the relation makes a difference in the terms that are related whereas in “external” relations the fact of relatedness makes no manner of difference in the terms that are so related. Thus those who hold that terms as such are what they are quite independently of the relations into which they chance to enter emphasise this by speaking of external relations. Whether a book be on the shelf or on the table makes they say no difference whatever to the book. Furthermore—and herein lies the central motive of the contention for new realists—whether anyone chances to perceive the book or not leaves the book itself as an external term completely unaffected.
Now if “thing” and term are to be used interchangeably (as they are currently used) this position may be cheerfully accepted in the sense intended. But if as I think it may conduce to clearness of thought to differentiate between them and if this differentiation be allowed the whole controversy may seem forthwith to lapse. But there is a valid distinction though I should express it differently.
First in what sense may one say: Cadit quaestio? It may freely be admitted that the book as a thing—i.e. as an orderly complex of intrinsic terms in relation—is just what it is in this respect whether it be on the shelf or on my desk. None the less spatially regarded as a place-term in homogeneous relatedness with other such terms the position of the book between two others on the shelf is quite different from that which it holds when it lies on my desk. The gist of my contention is that as a term in this field of relatedness the position of the book is all that counts; and that its place is what it is only in relation to the contextual positions of other surrounding things. Its positional status is of the so-called internal order; and its character as spatial term in this respect (not of course as thing) is thus determined. So too with perception. The book as thing—in its intrinsic nature—is nowise affected by my seeing it; but in so far as it functions as or takes on the office of or acquires the status of term (without losing aught of its intrinsic thinghood) in the cognitive relation—namely as percept—it is what it is (and so far more than it was) in virtue of that relation. As such a term it takes its status in internal relatedness. If there be no cognition on the tapis there is no relatedness of this kind and therefore (on my usage) no term. Under such relatedness as term its esse is percipi; but only as term; not coincidently as thing. On this showing an object perceived is more than a thing unperceived and that because in the course of emergent evolution the world has been enriched through the advent of conscious cognition. But Berkeley said that a thing can never be less than an object perceived. There I think that from the point of view of emergent evolution he was wrong.
In what respect then is there a valid distinction between relations of the so-called internal and external kinds respectively? I suggest that it lies in the difference between effective and non-effective relatedness. Under effective relations the thing itself is in some way changed in its intrinsic nature under causal influence. When the earth and the moon are set in a joint field of gravitative relatedness not only is there the extrinsic change which we speak of as mutual attraction each is intrinsically changed through the differential strain that results with “tidal deformation” in some measure. Even the book on the shelf is different from that book on my desk through differential pressure distributed to all its constituent parts; and both shelf and desk are in this respect different. But if under analysis we distinguish spatial or positional from physical relatedness though both are co-existent then the place-relations as such make no difference in the intrinsic nature of earth or moon; of book shelf or desk; for we are deliberately abstracting from the relatedness which is effective. Now there are plenty of kinds of relatedness which it is convenient analytically to distinguish as non-effective. If then spatial relations and as I hold temporal relations and certainly those of perceptual reference under cognition are non-effective they induce no change in the nature of the things which thus function as terms. In this effective sense therefore the intrinsic character of the things which stand in such relations remains quite unaffected. And I think that it is this which justifies the new realist claim that the book on the shelf is no different from that book on the table (save under the different strain of physical influence) and that it makes no difference whatever to that book whether it be perceived or not.
It is or was the doctrine of some logicians that any given A when it is in extrinsic relation to B acquires an added character (becoming say Ab) and is therefore no longer intrinsically what it was. For the new character b is within it and may be related to any or all of the precedent qualities. Let us grant that this is so in the sense intended. I revert however to the distinction between effective and non-effective relatedness. Under effective relatedness b does make a difference in the intrinsic nature of the thing. The thing is in some measure altered. There is some change in the go of events within it. But under non-effective relatedness regarded in abstraction b makes no difference. If A B and C be three things so arranged positionally that B stands between A and C the character of these things as billiard balls let us say remains quite unaffected by their spatial positions only though physically each is affected in some way however slight.
§ XIV. Logical Sense and Natural Direction.
“It is characteristic of a relation of two terms that it proceeds so to speak from one to the other. This is what may be called the sense of the relation... The sense of a relation is a fundamental notion which is not capable of definition” (Russell P. M. pp. 95–6).
May we not say however that whenever the logical sense is determinate in a concrete field of relatedness it is always determined by the actual direction of events; and fundamentally by the direction of passage in physical events? If so this seems to reduce all direction to that which obtains within a space-time frame. But what about the direction of thought regarded as a process of contemplating? There is I suppose unquestionably temporal relatedness of before and after. But when I think first of the colour and then of the scent of roses or first of my friend's generosity and then of his love of poetry interpretation in terms of spatial direction appears to be somewhat strained. None the less there is from the evolutionary point of view even in the thought-process spatial direction in the vital and the physical events which are correlated with it.
To the objection that such a point of view is terribly abstract the evolutionary reply might be that it alone is sufficiently concrete. To ignore when thought-processes are under consideration all that is implied in their very being is the kind of abstraction which the evolutionist regards as characteristically vicious. The analytic abstraction that is not vicious is that under which one seeks to distinguish this or that kind of relatedness within a concrete whole fully realising that other kinds are also co-existent.
On this understanding we may quite legitimately deal with that which is objective to thought “in abstraction.” Let us then take the space-time direction of the physical events involved in the process of contemplating for granted; let us direct our attention to that which is contemplated; let us consider very briefly sundry instances of relatedness thus contemplated; and let us take verbal statements in the light of what Mr. Russell speaks of as their “meaning.” Then if we have in view some given analytic instance of spatial or of temporal or of quantitative relatedness as such there seems to be no natural direction to determine the logical sense of the relation under consideration. It is a matter of indifference whether we say that Croydon is S. of and smaller than London or that London is N. of and larger than Croydon. So far as temporal relatedness only is concerned we may say that sunrise is before noon or that noon is after sunrise. This is because in each case we are abstracting from the passage of events. If we are dealing with sunrise and noon from that point of view the direction is determined through the natural passage of events and this determines the logical sense. And if we are dealing with the run of a train from Croydon to London there is an actual event the nature of which gives the direction of passage from the departure platform in Croydon at a given time to the arrival platform in London at a subsequent time. Departure from London and arrival in Croydon is another event with an opposite direction.
But even where there is an onward flow of events in the space-time frame that we construct for their interpretation we may think of them either downstream or upstream. For though events in their passage run only forwards our interpretation of these events may run either forwards or backwards. If we regard causation historically the effect is subsequent to some at least of the events which are comprehensively called the cause. But one may think either from cause to effect or from effect to cause.
One has therefore to distinguish the natural direction in the relatedness of events in passage independently of thought-process from the direction of the acknowledged events with which thought deals. If we fail to do so we are liable to fall into error. One may think from A to B or from B to A; but if one asserts (as a mark of acceptance) that the course of events independently of thought-procedure is from B to A one may be wrong. Or more generally: Given (i) a set of events to be considered in their relatedness independently of constructive thought and (ii) a working thought-model which purports to refer thereto the one may be in accord with the other or it may not. If the working construct be accordant with that which is (in some sense) independent of such construction—what we commonly call the facts—we name it true; if it be not—if it be discordant therewith—we characterise it as false.
From what has been said it is I trust clear that I seek only to look at the matter from a special angle. Logical treatment deals largely with kinds of relatedness which I should call non-effective. With the way in which experts define logical sense in such cases it is not my province to meddle. Already I run sufficient risk of burning my fingers. All I venture to suggest is that where we are dealing with some passage of events in objective regard the logical sense is accordant with the direction of such passage. One may of course consider the relation of brother to brother or of brother to sister as examples of what Mr. Russell calls a symmetrical or a non-symmetrical relation; but one may ask whether there is passage of events from one to the other. Is there any passage analogous to that which the biologist seeks to trace in the asymmetrical relatedness of parents and offspring? Here there is a natural passage irreversible in direction; there one considers collateral phases of events in two lines of passage only connected historically through their origin from a common source.
§ XV. Three-entity Situations.
In dealing with any integral whole of relatedness we must accept the legitimacy of analysis. Under analysis one distinguishes different kinds of relatedness—say conscious vital chemico-physical spatial or temporal—which may all be inseparably coexistent though distinguishable. Each of these must be treated in accordance with the terms and relations appropriate to its kind. In other words the treatment should be homogeneous. And it seems permissible to deal with any given kind irrespective of co-existent kinds so long as we do so in analytic abstraction. Even Berkeley admitted that this is legitimate under “consideration.” “A man” he says “may consider a figure merely as triangular... So far he may abstract” (P. H. K. Int. § 16). The passage in which these words occur was added in the 1734 edition. But it was not an afterthought; for in the Commonplace Book he has a note: “Mem. A great difference between considering length without breadth and having an idea of or imagining length without breadth” (Frazer's Ed. of Works Vol. I. p. 78).
When such analysis is pressed home our aim is to select just two terms and their relation e.g. the spatial positions of the opposite faces of a cube the moments of start and finish of a pendulum-swing buyer and seller in some business transaction an organism and its environment a word and its context and so on. One or other or both of them may be complex. That does but afford an opportunity for deeper analysis of the complex entity which on my view functions as a term until we can go no further.
On this showing one may always bring any given instance of relatedness under some such generalised formula as TRT1 where T is one term T1 the other term and r the relation—no matter how complex T and T1 may be. Of course this is to be regarded merely as a methodological device.
But we may now ask whether in all cases we can profitably deal with only two terms in so-called dyadic relatedness. “A sees B give x to C.” Now here at the start we can bring this under a two-term rubric. “A in cognitive relation to (B giving x to C)”—i.e. TRT1 where T1 is obviously complex. So too of course is T; but that just now is a different story. The formula can I think be made to hold good in any instance of cognitive relatedness by regarding T1 as a perceived situation or a contemplated system with which one has to deal. But in the example given above the situation represented by T1 may be analysed. In so analysing it as to throw further light on its nature and constitution can we proceed comfortably on the basis of two-term procedure? There certainly seem to be three terms. At any rate there are two persons and a thing; B who gives: C who receives; and x which is both given and received.
Now if there be three terms or any odd number of terms dyadic analysis does not work. But I submit that one can analyse (and that not unprofitably) in such a manner as to preserve duality if in accordance with the usage I suggest the same thing x which is both given and received here functions as two terms one in relation to giver and the other in relation to taker. An uncle gives his nephew half-a-crown. It is no doubt one coin that passes from the man's pocket to the boy's. In a sense perhaps it has one and the same value. But in a different and as I think quite legitimate sense the value is not the same. The gain for the boy is greater than the loss for his uncle. Yes it may be said but only relatively greater or less. It is however the relation that on my view makes the term what it is. On this showing it may be urged that triadic relatedness is susceptible of dyadic treatment under adequate analysis.
But there are plenty of three-entity situations the distinguishing feature of which is that one of the entities plays a dual part and in my view so functions as two terms as to link the three into one integral whole of complex relatedness. This I take to be the heart of the matter whether we express it in one way or another. The heart of the matter is that we have not merely the additive resultant of this duality plus that; but something more in their combination to constitute an integral whole.
Of course the three entities need not be two persons and a thing; they may be three things or three persons and so on. If Mrs. Jones be jealous in view of the way in which Mr. Jones carries on with Miss Brown the situation is utterly incomplete without all three persons. No dyadic treatment will adequately evaluate it. I may call Miss Brown one term in the eye of Mrs. Jones and quite a different term in the regard of Mr. Jones. But that does not so much matter as the integral relatedness of the whole situation in which the three persons play their parts. That is the essential feature.
Of course the principle on which such interpretation is dependent is nowise limited to three entities and no more. It applies to just so many entities as there are in the whole integral situation. Consider some instance of geometrical progression say... 4 8 16 32... In this order—and in any “order” as such—one must have (at least) a three-entity situation. Now one may profitably enough analyse dyadically step-fashion taking first the relatedness of 4 and 8 then that of 8 and 16 and so on. Grant if you will that the entity 8 functions as one term in relation to 4 and another (different) term in relation to 16—which follows from my usage. Next one might deal dyadically with the relatedness of 8⁄4 and 16⁄8 as more complex terms in relation; and so forth. But in breaking up the serial order into analytic fragments one may lose sight of the unity of plan. One may so analyse the series as to destroy it unless one synthetically restores the inter-relatedness which is the essential vinculum of the integral whole.
It may seem to savour of perversity to contend that 8 is one term in relation to 4 and a different term in relation to 16. And if I say that this same 8 which of course is just what it is as an “entity” under suitable definition somehow feels different to me according as I approach it from this or that direction (7 + 1; 9 − 1; 4 × 2; 24 ÷ 3; and so on) this may be regarded as a mere psychological whimsy. I prefer therefore to urge that quantitative relatedness expressible through numbers is as such wholly non-effective and is thus regarded in abstract “consideration.” Let the relatedness in some concrete case be not only quantitative but also physical—or let these two kinds of relatedness be inseparably co-existent—then it may perhaps seem less perverse to say that a body of mass 8 in a field of gravitative relatedness plays different parts in respect to one of mass 4 on the one hand and in respect to one of mass 16 on the other hand. As Lotze might say it “takes note of” the less in a way other than that in which it takes note of the greater; and “behaves” accordingly.
We may deal in resolute abstraction with quantitative relatedness only turning our backs on physical events. We may comprise in our less abstract view pure events which will then be considered kinematically in their space-time-quantity frame. We may go further and introduce into our picture the physico-chemical and the emergently sequent orders of effective relatedness vital and conscious in ascending grades. There we may stop accepting what we find with natural piety. Emergence comes into the picture with effectiveness. What lies below the level of effectiveness or what lies outside its range I hold to be always dealt with under abstract “consideration.”
Now the rubric of effectiveness—or if it be preferred the rubric of causation—is just this: Given a and b as ad hoc terms in some field of effective relatedness E something happens in the sense that some change occurs which would not occur in the absence of E. This change in the manner of go in events is as I phrase it dependent on the kind of relatedness emergent in E. Such dependence is accepted with natural piety.
But there may be something more in the heart of events than such effectiveness—namely that which one may speak of as Efficiency—something more than causation which I shall call Causality—something more than dependence which I capitalise as Dependence. In virtue of this should it be accepted not only does something happen under effectiveness but all that is emergent has being through Efficiency. This which of course may be rejected is for those who take the risk of the higher acknowledgment the Creative Source of evolution—this is God.
The relatedness we have dealt with has for its subject matter some integral whole within which terms-in-relation and relation-of-terms are analytically distinguished. Now this integral whole is something given for our contemplation; and it may be said that what is so given must be accepted with natural piety; there is no need to ask any further question. But there have always been those who do ask this further question: Of what relating Activity is the given relatedness a manifestation? Some may say there is none; others may take the agnostic position and say ignoramus et ignorabimus; yet others may take the risk of acknowledgment.
For those who take this risk new problems arise. Their consideration must however be postponed till concept of an all-embracing Activity relating and directive has been further developed.
From the book: