Inhibition and metaphor of top-down organization

A piece now in press at Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences may be of interest to AHP readers: “Inhibition and metaphor of top-down organization,” Roger Smith. Abstract:

The paper discusses the metaphorical nature and meaning of a concept, inhibition, ubiquitous in physiological, psychological and everyday descriptions of the controlling organization of human conduct. There are three parts. The first reviews the established argument in the theory of knowledge that metaphor is not ‘merely’ figure of speech but intrinsic to language use. The middle section provides an introduction to the history of inhibition as a concept in nervous physiology and in psychology. This emphasizes the conjoined descriptive and normative character the concept has had, integrating science and the ordinary person’s understanding of the achievement of top-down control in organized systems. The last section introduces a different dimension to the history and logic of control, pointing out that ‘economic’, as opposed to hierarchical, models of control also exist. The conclusion asserts the flexible, particular character of metaphor, encompassing mental and bodily realms – and hence the importance of historical work for its comprehension

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.