A framework for discussion

[From Bruce Abbott (980711.1000 EST)]

I hope the following will provide a framework for thinking about coercion,
cooperation, and related issues. This analysis assumes the presence of two
people, whom I shall call "A" and "B."

Assumption: A wishes to control some part of B's behavior, as A perceives it.
             Possible motives for A's wishing to do so include:

1. A perceives that B's actions are disturbing a variable A is
    trying to control. By controling B's behavior, A can eliminate
    this source of disturbance.

    a. B is attempting to control the variable A is attempting to
        control, and their reference values for the variable differ.
        A can resolve this problem by

        a1. Inducing B to adopt A's reference value for the variable.
             B will then be helping A to control the varable.

        a2. Inducing B to give up controlling the variable.

        a3. Physically preventing B from controlling the variable.

    b. B is attempting to control a variable different from the one A
        is attempting to control; as a side effect of B's control actions,
        the variable A is attempting to control is disturbed. A can
        resolve this problem by

        b1. Inducing B to stop controlling B's variable. B's control
             actions will cease, eliminating this source of disturbance
             to the variable A is attempting to control.

        b2. Inducing B to adopt a different means of controlling B's
             variable, which does not as a side effect interfere with
             A's control of A's variable.

        b3. Inducing B to move to a location from which B's control
             actions will not disturb A's variable.

        b4. Physically preventing B from producing the actions that
             disturb the variable A is trying to control.

3. Other motives???

To induce B to behave as A desires,

1. A can seek B's cooperation in resolving A's problem; success will
    eliminate the need to apply physical force to control B's actions.
    A can seek B's cooperation by
    a. Offering B rewards for B's cooperation. (Facilitating B's ability
        to control certain variables B is attempting to control.)
    b. Offering B punishment for B's failure to cooperate. (Threatening to
        disturb certain variables B was successfully controlling so as to
        move them away from B's references for them.) [This is the case
        Bruce Nevin has labeled "extortion."]

2. A can simply overwhelm B's muscular force-outputs, so that A rather
    than B is able to control those perceptible parts of B's actions
    which A wishes to control (e.g., preventing B from getting his finger on
    the destruct button). [I would limit "coercion" to this case. Preventing
    B from depressing the button by locking the button, for example, would
    not qualify as coercion, whereas preventing B from depressing the button
    by pulling B's finger away from the button would so qualify.]

Comments and proposals for changes or additions are welcome.


Bruce A.