We all know that A.T. inhibition — the idea, not the word — has nothing to do with repressing ones emotions. Even to make the two ideas special cases of a single more general principle is a stretch. Yet, as we shall see in the next article, detractors of FM think it sufficient for someone to have used the word inhibition to have said something about the A.T.
This illustrates a fallacy common among detractors of FM: they confuse words with ideas. They argue as if just because a word is the same here as it is there, the ideas must be the same or related as well. The fallacy of equivocation, or rather, a certain kind of equivocation: confusing a commonplace generality with an A.T. particular.
A contrived example from another field may help illustrate what I’m getting at.
We’ve all benefited from the microprocessor — the computer on a chip. We’re both using one right now. Suppose someone years before the first design and fabrication of a microprocessor, had written: “Take a big thing and shrink it down to microscopic size; I call it a microthing.” Did that man invent the microprocessor? Of course not. Real invention is in the details, what you would make and how you could really make it.
The first real microprocessor was a special case of the microthing, but the microprocessor was stupendously original nonetheless. The armchair inventor of the microthing doesn’t get or deserve any royalties.
One could multiply cases of new specifics subsumed under old generalities ad nauseum.
In the next article we’ll look at what William James wrote that inspires some people to call him the source of A.T. inhibition. Even if what James says could somehow be thought of as an all encompassing generalization of which A.T. inhibition, though as yet undiscovered, is a special case, that would still not mean James had discovered it.