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In everyday parlance, "inhibition" suggests repression, tight control, the opposite of freedom. In medicine and psychotherapy the term is commonplace, its definition understood. Relating how inhibition - the word and the concept - became a bridge between society at large and the natural sciences of mind and brain, Smith constructs a history of our view of ourselves. Not until the late 19th century did the term "inhibition" become common in English, connoting the dependency of reason and of civilization itself on the repression of "the beast within". This usage followed a century of Enlightenment thought about human nature and the nature of the human mind. Smith traces theories of inhibitory control from the moralistic psychologies of the early 19th century to the famous 20th-century schools of Sherrington, Pavlov and Freud. He finds that the meanings of "inhibition" cross disciplinary boundaries and outline the growth of our belief in the self-regulated person.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780520075801
ISBN-10: 0520075803
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 158mm x 25mm)
Pages: 344
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 28-Aug-1992
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Roger Smith

Roger Smith is Senior Lecturer in the History of Science at Lancaster University, England. He is the author of "Trial by Medicine: Insanity and Responsibility in Victorian Trials" (Edinburgh, 1982) and co-editor (with Brian Wynne) of "Expert Evidence: Interpreting Science in the Law" (Routledge, 1989).

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