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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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ON CONDITIONAL REFLEXES                      337
structure of language and semantic habits reflect the primitive mythologies ; so there is always the danger of drifting either into animalism, or into some other sort of equally primitive mysticism.
The net psycho-logical result of such a revision appears to be that, on structural grounds, what on human level appears as desirable, and, at present, exceptional - as, for instance, the complete conditionality of conditional and s.r, based on the consciousness of abstracting - ought to be considered the rule for a 'normal' man. Then the older animalistic generalizations will become invalid and reactions transformed. But for this purpose, and to be able to apply these considerations in practice, we shall have to analyse 'consciousness of abstracting' and, therefore, 'consciousness' which must be denned in simpler terms, discussed in Part VII.
When we deal with 'mentally' ill persons, the reactions which would be conditional with 'normal' persons become, in a sense, unconditional, compulsory, and semi-automatic in effect, inwardly as well as outwardly. As with animals, no amount of 'intellectual' persuasion has any effect on them, and the reactions, secretions., follow automatically. From the physiological point of view, 'mental' ills in humans compare well with conditional reactions in animals. It seems that under such circumstances a physiological language of different orders of abstractions, different orders of conditional and s.r would be structurally satisfactory. In such a language, we should pass from the inborn reactions, which exhibit the maximum of persistence, unconditionality, and almost automatic character, to the acquired or conditional reactions in animals, which would be called lower order conditional reactions, still, to some extent, automatic in their working, and, finally, to the much more flexible, variable, oo-valued and potentially fully conditional reactions in man, which we will call conditional reactions of higher orders which include the semantic reactions.
In such a vocabulary, the main term 'reaction' would be retained as a structural implication; yet the degrees of conditionality would be established by the terms of 'lower order' or 'higher order' conditional reactions. Such a language would have the enormous advantage of being physiological and oo-valued. Structurally, it would be in accordance with what we know from psychiatry; namely, that the 'mentally' ill exhibit arrested development or regressive tendencies.
We would say that 'mental' illness exhibits not only arrested development or regression, but we could state definitely that the fully conditional (oo-valued) reactions of higher order have not developed enough, or have degenerated (regression) into less conditional (few-valued) reactions of lower orders as found in animals. All the 'phobias',