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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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332
VI. ON PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY
it was possible to establish acquired reactions of the third order. But it was impossible to go beyond the third order, even in these cases.
In our field, where we have to formulate sharp differences between the nervous responses of 'man' and 'animal', we say that animals stop abstracting or linking of signals on some level, while humans do not. The latter abstract in indefinitely higher orders - at least potentially.
Here we encounter a fundamental and sharp far-reaching difference between the nervous functioning of 'animal' and 'man'. This abstracting in indefinitely higher orders no doubt conditions the mechanism of what we call human 'mentality'. If we stop this abstracting anywhere, and rest content with it, we copy animals in our nervous processes, involving animalistic s.r. As will be shown later, this is the actual case with practically all of us, owing to our A education and theories. This 'copying animals' in our nervous responses is, perhaps, a natural tendency at an extremely low level of development; but as soon as we understand the physiological mechanism, we can correct our education, with corresponding human semantic results. Naturally, such 'copying animals' by humans must be a process of arrested development or regression. It must be pathological for man, no matter how severe or how mild the affliction may be. Various absolutists, and the 'mentally' ill in general, show this semantic mechanism clearly.
The reactions can be divided into two groups, those which are inborn, almost automatic, almost unconditional, rather few and simple, belonging to the so-called 'species'; and those which are acquired during individual life, allow a great variety of complications, are conditional in different degrees, and are acquired by the individual. Pavlov suggests different terminologies; for instance, he calls the one 'inborn', the other 'acquired'; or as usually incorrectly translated into English as 'unconditioned' and 'conditioned' respectively. The two last terms have received a scientific general acceptance, yet I would suggest that in the English incorrect translation they are structurally unsatisfactory, and that particularly, when applied to humans, they carry harmful implications. Structurally, 'inborn' and 'acquired' are entirely satisfactory. Terms like 'conditional' and 'unconditional' (in the original language of Pavlov), although less satisfactory, are more appropriate, as they do not imply some sort of 'cause-lessness'. In fact, the 'unconditioned' salivary reactions are conditioned and produced by the physico-chemical effect of the food, and so to call them 'unconditioned' is structurally erroneous. The terms 'conditional' and 'unconditional' do not have similar implications, and carry others, as, for instance, the possibility of very important