Actions and Intentions (was Re: Bill)

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.21.1400)]

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.0521.1634)]

Rick Marken (2003.05.21.1320)

>
> Bill has been performing the test on my understanding of PCT (and I on his) for
> over 20 years. Bill knows what I'm controlling for and I know what he is
> controlling for when we talk about PCT. Bill knew exactly what I was "getting at"
> (my intended meaning) when I said that jaw movement is both an action and a
> controlled variable at the same time because he has tested my understanding of PCT
> to a fare thee well.

Thanks. In other words, he can tell your intentions by your actions.

No. He can tell my intentions by observing the results of those actions: that is, by
looking at my controlled variables (at least, those controlled variables that have to
do with PCT). He can do that because he has done the test in the past and knows which
variables I control (re: PCT).

You can never tell what a person intends by looking only at their actions, even if you
have tested them in the past and know what variables they control. That is because
actions must vary in unpredictable way to produce intended results. You have to see
what results are being produced by those actions (in this case, what meanings are being
produced by the words that are the actions produce the meanings) in order to know what
was intended. This is true even in a tracking task. Once I have learned that you are
controlling the cursor, for example, I know that keeping the cursor on target is an
intended result of your actions. But I can't, now, look at your hand moving the mouse
and conclude that your intention is to keep the cursor on target; your actions could be
varying because you are resisting disturbances and/or because you are now moving the
cursor all around the target.

Intentions concern the results of actions. Action depends on what is intended _and_ on
disturbances to the intended result. So you can never tell what is intended by looking
at actions but you can (if you have tested) tell intentions by looking at the results
of actions (to see if they are the results that were found , by test, to be intended
results)

Best regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Senior Behavioral Scientist
The RAND Corporation
PO Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Tel: 310-393-0411 x7971
Fax: 310-451-7018
E-mail: rmarken@rand.org

[From Bruce gregory (2003.0521.1731)]

Rick Marken (2003.05.21.1400)

Intentions concern the results of actions. Action depends on what is intended _and_ on
disturbances to the intended result. So you can never tell what is intended by looking
at actions but you can (if you have tested) tell intentions by looking at the results
of actions (to see if they are the results that were found , by test, to be intended
results)

I know this makes perfect sense to you. On the other hand, have you ever
watched a golf game on TV? Have you ever watched a golfer tee off? Did you
have any doubts about his or her intention? Did you need to see where the ball
went before you could infer the golfer's intention? Was the golfer's swing
determined by disturbances or by his or her intention? See the problem?

from [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.22.1431) ]

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.21.1400)]

> [From Bruce Gregory (2003.0521.1634)]

> Thanks. In other words, he can tell your intentions by your actions.

No. He can tell my intentions by observing the results of those actions:

LOL, LOL,LOL, LOL,`LOL What a nit. Give me a break. Three days of posts on
this BS. You and Bill truly deserve each other. LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL

that is, by looking at my controlled variables (at least, those controlled

variables that have to do with PCT).

How does he "know" they are controlled? and more importantly what difference
does it make to me what he's controlling for if it doesn't affect me. _WHO
CARES_.

He can do that because he has done the test in the past and knows which

variables I control (re: PCT).

Hey Rick, you and Bill have something _MUCH_ bigger then PCT here. You have
scientific evidence that mental telepathy actually exists. To think you have
been wasting your time with PCT for all these years when you and Bill could
have been talking up mental telepathy.

You can never tell what a person intends by looking only at their actions,

even if you

have tested them in the past and know what variables they control.

How does this jibe with your statement with your statement above and this
below.

Bill knows what I'm controlling for and I know what he is controlling for

when we talk about PCT.

Why _only_ PCT. What would prevent you from from "knowing" other things, in
the same manner.

You, of course see no contradiction. LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL. Actaully it's
very sad. I don't know why I'm laughing. You guys are both a piece of work.
I am going to be your worst nightmare. I'm not going anywhere.

That is because... Blah, Blah, Blah, who cares

Intentions concern the results of actions. Action depends on what is

intended _and_ on

disturbances to the intended result. So you can never tell what is

intended by looking

at actions but you can (if you have tested) tell intentions by looking at

the results

of actions (to see if they are the results that were found , by test, to

be intended

results)

You really think this is a significant difference don't you?. And you want
to know why people walk away shaking their head? Give me a break.

Marc

[From Fred Nickols (2003.05.22.0840)] --

Rick Marken (2003.05.21.1400)]

> [From Bruce Gregory (2003.0521.1634)]
>
> Rick Marken (2003.05.21.1320)
>
> >
> > Bill has been performing the test on my understanding of PCT (and I
on his) for
> > over 20 years. Bill knows what I'm controlling for and I know what
he is
> > controlling for when we talk about PCT. Bill knew exactly what I was
"getting at"
> > (my intended meaning) when I said that jaw movement is both an action
and a
> > controlled variable at the same time because he has tested my
understanding of PCT
> > to a fare thee well.
>
> Thanks. In other words, he can tell your intentions by your actions.

No. He can tell my intentions by observing the results of those actions:
that is, by
looking at my controlled variables (at least, those controlled variables
that have to
do with PCT). He can do that because he has done the test in the past and
knows which
variables I control (re: PCT).

<snip>

Hmm. It seems to me that you're saying that because Bill has performed the
test in the past he knows what you're talking about now and no longer needs
to perform the test. Isn't there the potential for mistakes in
there? Isn't it possible that what you're controlling for might change,
even with respect to PCT, and that thinking you know what the other person
is controlling for would be wrong in light of change? I can certainly see
the merit of being confident in one's judgment as to what someone is
controlling for after having repeatedly performed the test to find out but
it would also seem to make sense to intermittently perform the test
thereafter as a way of maintaining confidence in one's judgment.

Just a thought.

Regards,

Fred Nickols
nickols@safe-t.net

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.22.0700)]

Fred Nickols (2003.05.22.0840)--

Hmm. It seems to me that you're saying that because Bill has performed the
test in the past he knows what you're talking about now and no longer needs
to perform the test.

I didn't mean to imply that. I think Bill actually did do a version of the
test -- a model-based version much like the one I use in the study of the
variables fielder's control when catching fly balls. See Bill Powers
(2003.05.21.1607 MDT) for a little better description of it.

Isn't there the potential for mistakes in there?

Of course. Testing is the only way to know with any confidence what a person
intends (what variable(s) they are controlling). I certainly might not have
been intending to describe jaw movements as simultaneously actions and
controlled variables.

Isn't it possible that what you're controlling for might change,
even with respect to PCT, and that thinking you know what the other person
is controlling for would be wrong in light of change?

Absolutely correct!

I can certainly see
the merit of being confident in one's judgment as to what someone is
controlling for after having repeatedly performed the test to find out but
it would also seem to make sense to intermittently perform the test
thereafter as a way of maintaining confidence in one's judgment.

Again, absolutely correct!

Just a thought.

And an excellent one!

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
marken@mindreadings.com
310 474-0313

[From Fred Nickols (2003.05.22.1220)] --

Marc Abrams (2003.05.22.1156) ]

> [From Rick Marken (2003.05.22.0700)]
>
> > Fred Nickols (2003.05.22.0840)--

> > I can certainly see
> > the merit of being confident in one's judgment as to what someone is
> > controlling for after having repeatedly performed the test to find out
but
> > it would also seem to make sense to intermittently perform the test
> > thereafter as a way of maintaining confidence in one's judgment.
>
> Again, absolutely correct!
>
> > Just a thought.
>
> And an excellent one!

Rick, You seem to think that the "Test" is somehow the privileged knowledge
of only those who "know" PCT. People in the real world, do the "Test" all
the time in various ways.

I think the statement above needs to be clarified. I'll readily grant that
some people regularly do things as a way of testing others' reactions but I
don't think the people who do this kind of testing think of what they're
doing as "the test" a la PCT. "What happens when I do 'X'? is a far cry
from "When I disturb X does Y attempt to restore the previous state of
X? So, while I'll grant that people are "testing" all the time in various
ways, I have a hard time agreeing with the assertion that they're doing
"the test" all the time.

If not, the world would be largely
incomprehensible to us. Sometimes we don't do the "Test", and to our own
detriment, it comes back to bite us on the tush. PCT suggests that we need
to do it more often then we think. The "Test" Bill designed ( if he did, I
don't know if he takes credit for it, I never asked. ) is a formal way of
validating ( a way of guessing ) what a "controlled" variable may be. A
problem with the "Test" is that for theoretical work it's fine. But in the
real world it's very limited in both practicality and usefulness. That
is,the person doing the Testing is guessing that the variable you are
Testing for is someone either "important" or "meaningful" to the client.
When in fact it might be only meaningful or important to the tester. So even
if you "know" that something is controlled, How do you know if it is in fact
of significance to the individual. Just because something is controlled
doesn't make it significant. All control takes place in a _context_ as B.
Gregory pointed out
yesterday.

I see a problem bigger than the guessing factor or the relative importance
of the variables being contemplated. Suppose experimenter X disturbs one
or more variables in which subject Y might be interested. Chances are, Y
will spot X's manipulation and, if Y is indeed controlling for the
variable(s) being disturbed, Y might disturb some of X's controlled
variables in return, namely the position of the nose on X's face or the
number of teeth in X's mouth. That's a somewhat violent reaction, to be
sure, and probably overly dramatic for the point I'm making -- which is
this: The very act of conducting "the test" could conceivably pose a
disturbance to variables other than those being tested for -- without the
knowledge of the person conducting the test. That, in turn, could be
disruptive and even dangerous. I don't, for example, see much practicality
in going around "dissing" people to see if they're controlling for some
variable which I've called "self respect" (especially in light of the
possibility that they could be controlling for it in ways that escape my
experience or imagination). Nor do I see a lot of payoff in threatening to
fire people just to see if they're controlling for "employment" or
"paycheck" or some other variable that I want to test. Therein lies a
second difficulty: When I conduct "the test," am I really testing to see if
they're controlling for the variable I think is at the heart of my test or
am I simply reading control into their reactions to my actions? Said a
little differently, if "it's all perception," how can I ever know what
another person is controlling, even after doing "the test" because "the
test" hangs on my perceptions and interpretations of the other person's
actions and the effects of those actions, not direct knowledge of the other
person's perceptions or reference signals.

Regards,

Fred Nickols
nickols@safe-t.net

from [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.22.1156) ]

[From Rick Marken (2003.05.22.0700)]

> Fred Nickols (2003.05.22.0840)--

> I can certainly see
> the merit of being confident in one's judgment as to what someone is
> controlling for after having repeatedly performed the test to find out

but

> it would also seem to make sense to intermittently perform the test
> thereafter as a way of maintaining confidence in one's judgment.

Again, absolutely correct!

> Just a thought.

And an excellent one!

Rick, You seem to think that the "Test" is somehow the privileged knowledge
of only those who "know" PCT. People in the real world, do the "Test" all
the time in various ways. If not, the world would be largely
incomprehensible to us. Sometimes we don't do the "Test", and to our own
detriment, it comes back to bite us on the tush. PCT suggests that we need
to do it more often then we think. The "Test" Bill designed ( if he did, I
don't know if he takes credit for it, I never asked. ) is a formal way of
validating ( a way of guessing ) what a "controlled" variable may be. A
problem with the "Test" is that for theoretical work it's fine. But in the
real world it's very limited in both practicality and usefulness. That
is,the person doing the Testing is guessing that the variable you are
Testing for is someone either "important" or "meaningful" to the client.
When in fact it might be only meaningful or important to the tester. So even
if you "know" that something is controlled, How do you know if it is in fact
of significance to the individual. Just because something is controlled
doesn't make it significant. All control takes place in a _context_ as B.
Gregory pointed out
yesterday.

Marc

from [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.22.1535) ]

[From Fred Nickols (2003.05.22.1220)] --

>Rick, You seem to think that the "Test" is somehow the privileged

knowledge

>of only those who "know" PCT. People in the real world, do the "Test"

all

>the time in various ways.

I think the statement above needs to be clarified. I'll readily grant

that

some people regularly do things as a way of testing others' reactions ...

Ok, What I meant was not a test of someones reactions necessarily, but a
"validation" of a perception. A question like, "Are you angry at me for some
reason?" Might be a "test" question ( action ). When you say "reaction" are
you meaning "response"? If so ( and I think you do ) Then I think you can
see how we might "test" others continuously.

but I don't think the people who do this kind of testing think of what

they're doing as "the test" a la PCT.

No and they are not. The PCT "Test" is a formal structured way of "testing"
for _A_ controlled variable. _What_ is being controlled is irrelevant to the
"Test" and might be to the tester. The PCT "Test" is _one_ way to validate
control. There are others. As you suggest later in this post. You could go
around tying to disturb people, or threaten to fire someone to see what they
are controlling for. In my mind these are all "Tests" to "validate" intended
consequences of our behavior ( actions )

"What happens when I do 'X'? is a far cry
from "When I disturb X does Y attempt to restore the previous state of
X? So, while I'll grant that people are "testing" all the time in various
ways, I have a hard time agreeing with the assertion that they're doing
"the test" all the time.

Have I cleared up this question?

I see a problem bigger than the guessing factor or the relative importance
of the variables being contemplated. ...

...The very act of conducting "the test" could conceivably pose a

disturbance to variables other than those being tested for -- without the
knowledge of the person conducting the test. That, in turn, could be
disruptive and even dangerous.

I agree. Great point.

I don't, for example, see much practicality...

Yes. You brought up a number of important issues if you intend to "use" the
test to validate what someone was "intending" to do. It was not "intended"
for that purpose. The sole purpose was to test for a controlled variable.
The Test should come with a warning label; "Use at your own Risk"

When I conduct "the test," am I really testing to see if they're

controlling for the variable I think is at the heart of my test or

am I simply reading control into their reactions to my actions?

When you, or I, or anyone does the Test, we are testing an assumption _we_
have about someone else. The assumption being that they are "controlling"
for some "variable". Several problems are seen here by me. One, how do you
know that what the person is pushing aginst is in fact what you think it is.
That is strictly a judgement call.

Said a little differently, if "it's all perception," how can I ever know

what another person is controlling,

You can never know _everything_ a person is controlling for. Neither can the
person being tested. This is another problem. What the person "thinks" is
so, may not be so upon further reflection or thought. Argyris calls it our
espoused theories vs. our theories-in-use. Interesting stuff.

even after doing "the test" because "the
test" hangs on my perceptions and interpretations of the other person's
actions and the effects of those actions, not direct knowledge of the

other

person's perceptions or reference signals.

Well said. I agree. The PCT "Test" is not necessarily the one you want to
use to validate someone's "intended consequences".

Marc