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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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350
VI. ON PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY
teristics of protoplasm; namely, its structure, excitability, and conductivity (the last two characteristics being also a result of sub-microscopic structure) without the intervention of 'demons' or of 'inhibition'; (2) that in every case there is an excitation, no matter whether the result is a positive or a negative reaction, or whether we can, at present, trace it in detail.
As Professor Herrick says: 'On this view of the situation the supposed inhibitory effect of the cerebral cortex resolves itself into a differential dynamogenic cortical influence. This is partly specific and phasic, acting upon particular subcortical functional systems while these are in process and tending to depress all conflicting activities either by withdrawing available nervous energy from their apparatus of control or by equal activation of agonist and antagonist systems with resulting stasis. It is partly a general and tonic activation or reinforcement of all lower reflex systems. Upon removal of the visual cortex the specific phasic activation of learned reactions is abolished. Upon removal of the entire cortex the general tonic cortical effect is abolished. The operation has not stimulated inhibitory fibers, as some have supposed; it has removed the sources of tonic activation which normally are always operating.'10
'The cerebral cortex from its inception exerts more or less inhibitory influence upon subcortical functions. In the simpler learning processes of rats there seems to be a differential activation of some key factor of a subcortical learning process . . . which in effect draws off all available cortical energy, leaving other and irrelevant sensori-motor processes relatively enfeebled so that they are subordinated. The effect is the same as if a specific inhibitory action were exerted by the cortex upon the inappropriate movements ... It may be suggested, further, that all inhibition is in reality a differential activation, the mechanism being in some cases simply the "drainage" phenomenon . .. and in other cases this effect supplemented by positive activation of two antagonistic motor mechanisms so that their interference blocks all reactions of non-adaptive sorts.'11
In these statements of Professor Herrick, we find a language of similar structure to the known facts. The terms of differential dynamogenic cortical influence and differential activation cover all known facts, and may cover future facts, because the terms are structurally very flexible, and will always allow us to enlarge our knowledge of the mechanism of the so fundamental differential activation.
The difficulty in eliminating the term 'inhibition' and suggesting a new physiological term to take its place is considerable, because this term is used in many different forms and meanings. The term 'inhibit' is