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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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ON 'INHIBITION'
347
are known to be strictly interconnected.6 Multiordinal structure is the explanation of this behaviour. Similar examples could be given in great numbers, all of which would support the above well-established view.
Among the general protoplasmic characteristics we do not find 'inhibition', but only positive excitation and conductivity. This issue is fundamental and should be taken as a foundation for further analysis.
If a wandering amoeba comes to an illuminated spot, the animal will not remain in that region. Here is, seemingly, a new fact, and we must select the language we want to use in this connection. If we follow the old animism and anthropomorphism, we could say the animal 'knows'., or that some 'demon' has forewarned it, or, with equal justification, say that it is an example of 'internal inhibition' or 'prohibition'. The introduction of such terms, of course, explains nothing physiologically, but simply multiplies metaphysical identifications on the unconscious yet false to fact assumption that a word 'is' the thing we are talking abouta vestige of the primitive 'magic of words'.
Loeb pointed out long ago that to be forced to introduce animism and anthropomorphism is enough to neglect the analysis of an external stimulus. This is true not only in biology, physiology, neurology., but also in physics. The difference between the N and systems depends on the fact that Newton did not take into consideration the character of the stimulus, the finite velocity of the ray of light, which is fundamental in any observation, but that Einstein did take this into consideration. The oo-valued determinism (the restricted principle of uncertainty) in the newer quantum mechanics depends on taking into account the disturbing effects an 'observation' has on the 'observed',.
What are the known facts in the meantime? Let us start with the character of the stimulus, light. We know, positively, that light can be considered a very potent stimulus, and so the behaviour of the amoeba was a direct response to this stimulus. In fact, we know a little about this mechanism without introducing any 'demons' or 'internal inhibition'.
The starfish of a certain species has a symmetrical structure consisting of five arms. Its nervous system consists of a central ring around the mouth and peripheral nerves radiating from the ring into the arms. If such an animal is laid upon its back, it will right itself, but it is essential that not all arms should move simultaneously. In a normal animal, having five arms, usually three arms do the work and two of them remain quiet. If we destroy the nervous connection between the arms, this co-ordination is destroyed; all five arms begin to struggle, and the starfish cannot right itself, unless by accident. Should we again invoke 'demons' or 'inhibitions', or analyse the stimulus-complex and its effect ?