Georgy Kh. Shingarov1,
Irina G. Tatarovskaya2
1Modern University for the Humanities
32 Nizhegorodskaya St., building 4, Moscow 109029, Russia
2Institute for African Studies of Russian Academy of Sciences
30/1 Spiridonovka St., Moscow 123001, Russia
The article demonstrates that inhibition is an attributive function of the nervous system. It notes that the idea of inhibition was first put forward by Hippocrates. The authors cite key aspects of Galen’s ideas about excitation and inhibition. Descartes’ views are analysed. The authors point out that the concept of “reflex” in the contemporary sense in the 18th century was introduced by Astruc. The Weber brothers’ discovery of the inhibitory action of the vagus nerve on the heart in 1545 is considered the discovery of peripheral inhibition. The article stresses that I.M. Sechenov employed an original experimental method during his discovery of central inhibition in 1862. In his “Reflexes of the Brain”, he demonstrated that reflexes underlie mental activity. Sechenov’s approach to the problems of the theory of cognition, which distinguishes him as a philosopher, is analysed.
Keywords: history of medicine, inhibition, attributive function, brain reflexes, memory, perception, self-regulation, integrative activity