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An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

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352
VI. ON PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY
might counteract it, would be negative. The implication would remain that there was some excitation, but that it did not produce the effect which we had called positive. Structurally, such a term would be satisfactory, especially as it would help us to keep on one level of analysis and not confuse the main levels through verbal structure.
Such a language would help us to study the mechanism of 'differential activation', and would carjy helpful implications. If any cases appeared in which this term did not cover the field, either the term could be enlarged, keeping the implications, or the statements should be altered so as to be expressible by such terms. The last would always prove to carry interesting implications, suggesting experiments.
In the processes going on in the nervous system, there is no occasion for the application of terms like 'prohibition' or 'inhibition'. There is no standstill in these sub-microscopic processes, though the manifestation on the macroscopic levels can be either of a positive or of a negative character. On the sub-microscopic levels, there is a nervous excitation which often stimulates' antagonistic processes., with results which are not always obvious.
The implication of the term 'negative excitation', although limited, is structurally correct in 1933. Without going into full detail here, I merely suggest a few considerations. First of all, the term preserves its main implication; namely, that of excitation, 'negative' suggesting that this excitation takes an opposite course to the positive one. If, for instance, a positive excitation produces, let us say, the activities of the salivary glands, a negative excitation in this respect will not produce them but will produce other activities, such as, for instance, an investigatory reaction. With a negative excitation, there is an excitation, but it produces different results. There is no possibility of stopping or prohibiting or inhibiting nervous activities, short of death as-a-whole or destruction in parts; but only a possible deviation of activities, owing to enormous possibilities in establishing nervous connections, endlessly subtle dynamogenic effects,.
In some instances, 'inhibition' might be regarded as a form of nervous exhaustion; but such a notion cannot always be structurally correct, as there is much evidence at hand that 'inhibition' spreads to other cortical elements which were not functionally exhausted, or that it can be counteracted by some new excitation. 'Inhibition' thus preserves its active character. The origin of 'inhibition' is also very instructive, and a mass of experimental data shows that it can be produced experimentally. Among other ways, it can be produced by very weak, very strong, or unusual stimuli, but stimuli, anyway. As a rule, any