":" and what is perceived

[From Bruce Nevin (2017.12.03.23:00 ET)]

Boris Hartman (Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 11:49 PM) –

I’ve been putting some effort into understanding what Boris is trying to say.

Referring to a passage quoted from the IAPCT front page, Boris says:

  1. He sees that the colon in the title Behavior: the control of perception is being interpreted or paraphrased as “is” and claims that this is wrong.Â

HB : Ttitle of the book is not : »Behavior is control of perception«, because somebody could think that »Behavior is control«. Titile is »Behavior : Control of Perception«. It’s a problem when many interpretation of Bills’ book Title are present.

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HB : So Title can be explained in many ways , but with the explanation »Behavior is control of perception« the interpretation somehow determine the way it has to be understand (what is mostly Ricks merit). And it seems that this interpretation offers »Behavior is control« although also other mening as »control of perception« can be in the game.

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HB : So in which way the sentence »Behavior is control of perception« has to be understand ?

A colon is analogous to the equals sign (=) in mathematics, though of course not all mathematical usages apply to language. (All analogies leak.) Maybe the colon has a different significance in some other language, but Bill was writing in English.

There can be no doubt that the colon in the title Behavior: the control of perception asserts that the phrase “the control of perception” is Bill’s definition of the word “behavior”. It is also the accepted PCT definition of the word “behavior”. Therefore the sentence “behavior is the control of perception” is an accurate and adequate paraphrase of the title and (like the title) states what Bill’s book is about.

Boris’s further complaint seems to be about how this equivalence of “behavior” and “the control of perception” is interpreted.

HB: it seems that this interpretation offers »Behavior is control« although also other mening as »control of perception« can be in the game.

Why divide “control” from “control of perception”? What distinction is being made? This seems to have to do with the question what is controlled. There was some controversy on CSGnet not too long ago whether only perceptions controlled or whether variables in the environment are also controlled. Boris has expressed distaste and disinterest in philosophical questions about the epistemology of PCT, but of course that is exactly what this is, an epistemological question about the veridicality of perceptions.Â

In my view, the answer to the question is “both”. More on this presently.

So far as I can find, Boris does not offer an alternative paraphrase in place of “behavior is the control of perception”. He just thinks its wrong. So why does he think it’s wrong?

Is he invoking a more behaviorist sense of the word “behavior”, meaning “observable actions” or “behavioral outputs”? “Behavior” in this sense is not the control of perceptions, it is the observable means of controlling perceptions. Behavior in the sense of “observable actions” or "behavioral outputs" is represented in a control diagram by the output function. Behavior as the control of perception is represented in a control diagram by the entire control loop.

Farther on, he quotes the 2011 jointly authored paper. (I wonder if he might think less highly of that paper and this quote if he fully apprehended that Rick, Martin, and others were co-authors, and and that they may well have written or modified this very passage.)Â

Here is the quote:Â

living things control the perceived environment by means of their behavior. Consequently, the phenomenon of control takes center stage in PCT, with observable behavior playing an important but supporting role.

The phrase “control the perceived environment” neatly encapsulates the “both” answer that I offered above. There can be no controlled perception in the absence of that which is perceived. (Bear in mind that in the PCT model imagination is not in control mode, it is in imagination mode.) During that argument about environmental vs. perceptual variables we found several passages, authored by Bill alone, that say much the same thing

Boris asserts that the above 2011 passage contrasts with a paragraph on the front page of the IAPCT website. Here is that paragraph for reference:

PCT views people as purposeful, living control systems, whose behavior shapes its consequences instead of the other way around. PCT is a feedback-governed view of human behavior. It holds that we target certain variables for control and we compare our perceptions of the current state of those variables with our goal state or reference condition for those variables. If unacceptable gaps exist, we behave in ways that serve to close those gaps. Thus it is that our behavior serves to control our perceptions. There are, however, other actors and factors at work that influence the same variables we are trying to control. Ordinarily these disturbances as they are known in PCT are compensated for and pose no problem. On occasion they can prove overwhelming. Our control is far from perfect.Â

I don’t know who wrote this, but it does not matter. Almost any piece of writing can be improved in one way or another, and as we begin reworking the website we are open to suggestions. Let’s review his objections.Â

1.      PCT is general theory about how all organisms function

This is evidently a sin of omission. He quotes from B:CP about the scope of PCT extending to all living things.Â

2.      Behavior is means of control with supporting role to »Control of perception«

I believe I can paraphrase this more clearly as

Behavior is [the or a?] means of control of environmental variables, with a supporting role from control of perception.

I believe he gets this from the IAPCT website sentence

we target certain variables for control and we compare our perceptions of the current state of those variables with our goal state or reference condition for those variables.

He does not like the idea that we control perceived variables in the environment. But this assertion that we control environmental variables does not relegate the control of perception to a “supporting role”. Control of a neural signal generated by environmental input to a sensor is inseparable from control of whatever it is in the environment that is being sensed. You can’t have one without the other, because the control loop is closed through the environment. The distinction between environmental variable and perceptual variable is analytical but not actual. The perceptual variable is all that we can possess of the environmental variable. There is a well-known process of refining our perceptions and becoming more sure of their veridicality by testing them and by freeing them from a clutter of imagined perceptions. In its most careful and rigorous form, this process is called science. Less formally, it’s called learning from experience. To the extent that this process gives us perceptions of which we can be more confident, it simultaneously gives us that which is perceived. It gives us that which is perceived precisely because (and to the extent that) we can control.

Going back now to the paragraph from Boris’s post that I quoted at the outset:

HB : Problem I see here is that PCT is described as »control of variables« and of course that »behavior serves to control our perceptions« what seems to mean that »Behavior is control«.

He objects to saying “behavior is the control of perception”, evidently because someone might read only “behavior is control” and think that it means “behavior is control of environmental variables”. But no, it clearly says “control of perception.” Anyway, I do not understand what problem he finds with saying that behavior is control, unless he is referring to observable actions, behavioral outputs that are represented in a control diagram by the output function. Behavior, understood as that which is represented in a control diagram by the entire control loop, is control.

His third objection to the above paragraph quoted from the IAPCT front page seems to be another sin of omission:

3. Phenomen of Control … involve also »control of variables« in organism not outside it. Because in organisms there are also processes which don’t look like a control loop but are essential for organisms functioning and they support and even enable control.

I think everyone here agrees that there are variables within the body of the organism which are controlled variables in the sensed environment of the nervous system, and that there are also many biochemical control systems (homeostatic systems) which interact with the neurological control hierarchy only indirectly. And I think we probably all agree that this needs more research. The paragraph on the IAPCT front page does not mention this. It does not contradict it either. And there are many other aspects of PCT that it does not mention. As we begin to reorganize this website we can consider adding something about that, always bearing in mind that this is an introductory paragraph for a lay audience.Â

Going farther down, after some quotations snipped from some of Bill’s writings, things get murkier.

HB : From Bills’ literature we can see also that »control in organism« is quite hard concept to understand. It’s not just about »Controlling variables in organism« and controlling with behavior, but it involves the whole functioning of the organism, where »control of variables« in environment outside organism is not included as Rick is proposing. There is no such a thing in PCT.

I’m having trouble understanding the assertion that control in the organism is not just about controlling variables in the organism. This seems to refer to control of variables within the body such as I just mentioned. Homeostatic systems do not directly concern variables outside the body, but that is not an argument about the existence of environmental variables.

Studies of collective control pretty conclusively demonstrate the reality of controlled environmental variables. That’s an important part of PCT.Â

Finally, Bill strongly disapproved of any sort of PCT fundamentalism referring to what he said or wrote as authoritative gospel. It’s antithetical to the proper character of science, which guards against such natural human proclivities as argument from authority, ad hominem argument, confirmation bias, and so on. Of course, scientists do frequently fall into these traps, but the stance of science is to be alert to them and guard against them. Any kind of authoritarian cult will interfere with the acceptance and establishment of PCT that we seek.Â

As I said, I’ve been putting some effort into understanding what Boris is trying to say. I’m not sure the effort has been much rewarded.

I will not respond to vituperation, ad hominem attack, or just plain incoherence.

···

HB : Problem I see here is that PCT is described as »control of variables« and of course that »behavior serves to control our perceptions« what seems to mean that »Behavior is control«.

He identifies what he sees as three problems.Â

A colon divides a sentence into two parts, such that the second part defines the first part by paraphrasing it, elaborating on it, stating essential inferences, or summarizing such elaborations of its meaning. To confirm this understanding of the function of a colon as a punctuation mark in a sentence, after I wrote the above I looked up the word 'colon’ in the Random House dictionary of English, where I find the following definition of 'colon’ as a punctuation mark:

the sign (:slight_smile: used to mark a major division in a sentence, to indicate that what follows is an elaboration, summation, implication, etc., of what precedes

On Fri, Dec 1, 2017 at 11:49 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Hi all,…

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From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 26, 2017 6:31 PM
To: Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet)
Subject: Re: source code

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We just need to visit https://sites.google.com/site/perceptualcontroldemos/ more often, to boost it in the Google ranking. :slight_smile:

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HB : Well I accidentaly saw this :

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This website serves as a repository for computer programs that were developed to highlight various aspects of Perceptual Control Theory (PCT), a theory of human and animal behavior developed by William T. Powers. According to PCT (and the title of Bill’s seminal 1973 book), behavior is the control of perception. To control a perception is to take actions that tend to bring the perception toward a given state (reference value) and keep it there by opposing the effects of any disturbances to that perception, as in steering a car so as to keep it on the road and heading where we want it to go.

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HB : Ttitle of the book is not : »Behavior is control of perception«, because somebody could think that »Behavior is control«. Titile is »Behavior : Control of Perception«. It’s a problem when many interpretation of Bills’ book Title are present.

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So Title can be explained in many ways , but with the explanation »Behavior is control of perception« the interpretation somehow determine the way it has to be understand (what is mostly Ricks merit). And it seems that this interpretation offers »Behavior is control« although also other mening as »control of perception« can be in the game.

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So in which way the sentence »Behavior is control of perception« has to be understand ?

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The second problem which is much the same as upper interpretation I see in IAPCT interpretation of what PCT means :

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IAPCT : Essentially, PCT views people as purposeful, living control systems, whose behavior shapes its consequences instead of the other way around. PCT is a feedback-governed view of human behavior. It holds that we target certain variables for control and we compare our perceptions of the current state of those variables with our goal state or reference condition for those variables. If unacceptable gaps exist, we behave in ways that serve to close those gaps. Thus it is that our behavior serves to control our perceptions. There are, however, other actors and factors at work that influence the same variables we are trying to control. Ordinarily these disturbances as they are known in PCT are compensated for and pose no problem. On occasion they can prove overwhelming. Our control is far from perfect.Â

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HB : Problem I see here is that PCT is described as »control of variables« and of course that »behavior serves to control our perceptions« what seems to mean that »Behavior is control«.

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Both versions of interpreting Powers work seems to me of »lower level« understanding not worth of Powers real intelectual power.

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In my version of PCT interpretation (as Rick emphasized) I wrote many times that William T. Powers was great genius and such interpretations of PCT as we see above is by my oppinion degradation of his great mind. PCT is much more then :

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1.     »Control of variables« (what is probably Ricks’ version of control as he is the one who is emphasizing Control of variables in LCS environment)

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2.     »Behavior serves to control perception« or »Behavior is Control of Perception« what could mean that »Behavior is control«.

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Both statements can be seen often in RCT (Ricks Control Theory). So we are back to basic problem what PCT is about. My oppinion is that IAPCT should citate William T.Powers thoughts about PCT (it’s his Theory) not inventing some Ricks’ Control imaginational constructs.

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So my proposal is that first page of IAPCT should contain great citations of William T.Powers and it should serve as memorial to his Theory.

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My proposal is that IAPCT should start with citation which shows the real nature of PCT and that is :

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Bill P. at all (50th Anniversary, 2011) :

Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) provides a general theory of functioning for organisms. At the conceptual core of the theory is the observation that living things control the perceived environment by means of their behavior. Consequently, the phenomenon of control takes center stage in PCT, with observable behavior playing an important but supporting role.

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Bill P (B:CP) :

PCT…«can explain a fundamental aspect of how every lliving thing works, form the tiniest amoeba to the being who is reading these words.«Â

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HB : This is significant difference to what was proposed above. It says that :

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1.     PCT is general theory about how all organisms function

2.     Behavior is means of control with supporting role to »Control of perception«

3.     Phenomen of Control takes central stage in PCT what involve also »control of variables« in organism not outside it. Because in organisms there are also processes which don’t look like a control loop but are essential for organisms functioning and they support and even enable control.

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So definition of control in PCT is (B:CP) :

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CONTROL : Achievement and maintenance of a preselected state in the controlling system, through actions on the environment that also cancel the effects of disturbances.

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HB : Achievement and maintainance of »preselected state« in organism is also enabled by »control« of subsequent processes to support actual control loop processes.

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Bill P :

Obviously not every variable ….can bbe involved in this wrongness-detection. Some processes are burried deep in the details of organ function and cellular function.

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Bill P :

For control of most of the variables in the physiological-biochemical system we rely entirely on the inherited system to work right.

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HB : Bills’ legacy show that interpretation of PCT should involve also physiological and biological knowledge not just psychological and algebraic if we want to understand the phenomenon of how references are produced and realized :

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Bill P (LCS I) : Reference state can not exist under the old cause-effect model. They refer, as far as external observations are concerned only to future states of the organism or it’s environment. They cannot affect present behavior, and they must be treated simply as outcomes of events caused by prior events. The flaw of this reasoning is hard to understand if one does not know (as the founders of scientific psychology did not know) of organizations capable of complex internal activities that are essentially independent of current external events.

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HB : From Bills’ literature we can see also that »control in organism« is quite hard concept to understand. It’s not just about »Controlling variables in organism« and controlling with behavior, but it involves the whole functioning of the organism, where »control of variables« in environment outside organism is not included as Rick is proposing. There is no such a thing in PCT.

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Bill P :

All sensory endings act to convert the magnitude of some physical interaction into the magnitude of a neural current (with or without significant emphasis of rates of change). Coverversely, all sensory information available to more central parts of the brain must first exist in the form of these primary neural currents.

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The organism acts to bring under control, in relation to some reference state, the sensed perceptions.

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HB :It’s quite clear that time line shows that perception will be controlled after it is sensed not before so to be »controlled perception«. So how »Control of Perception« really function :

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Bill P (1998) : Our only view of the real world is our view of the neural signals that represent it inside our own brains. When we act to make a perception change to our more desireble state – when we make the perception of the glass change from »on the table« to »near the mouth« - we have no direct knowledge of what we are doing to the reality that is the origin of our neural signal; we know only the final result, how the result looks, feels, smells, sounds, tastes, and so forth…It means that wwe produce actions that alter the world of perception…>

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HB : It’s obviously that »Behavior is not controlling perception«, but it’s used just for changing the world of perception. And it’s obviously that we change perception to our more desirable state not about how we »Control behavior« or some »Controlled variable« in environment or that we even control perception with behavior. Theory is about »Control of perception« inside organism. Everything is grasped in perception.

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Bill P : Briefly, then: what I call the hierarchy of perceptions is the model. When you open your eyes and look around, what you see – and feel, smell, hear, and taste – is the model. In fact we never experience ANYTHING BUT the model. The model is composed of perceptions of all kinds from intensities on up.

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HB : As I proposed many times in these years in my version of PCT understanding PCT definitions should be respected which by my oppinion represent PCT control loop which can be confirmed by biological and physiological evidences :

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Bill P (B:CP):

1.     OUTPUT FUNCTION : The portion of a system that converts the magnitude or state of a signal inside the system into a corresponding set of effects on the immediate environment of the system

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Bill P (LCS III)::…the output function sshown in it’s own box represents the means this system has for causing changes in it’s environment.

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Bill P (LCS III):

2.     FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the action of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

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Bill P (B:CP) :

3.     INPUT FUNCTION : The portion of a system that receives  signals or stimuli from outside the system, and generates a perceptual signal that is some function of the received signals or stimuli.

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Bill P (B:CP) :

4.     COMPARATOR : The portion of control system that computes the magnitude and direction of mismatch between perceptual and reference signal.

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Boris

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On Sat, Nov 25, 2017 at 4:13 PM, Bruce Abbott bbabbott@frontier.com wrote:

Sorry, I meant to include it, and forgot. It’s

https://sites.google.com/site/perceptualcontroldemos/

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The title I gave to the site is actually “Perceptual Control System Demos.�

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I’m surprised that a Google search didn’t turn it up!

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Bruce A.

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From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 25, 2017 11:50 AM
To: Bruce Abbott bbabbott@frontier.com
Subject: Re: source code

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URL, please? A search on “Perceptual Control Demos abbott” doesn’t nail it in an obvious way. I see

http://users.ipfw.edu/abbott/pct/ (I don’t see demos there)

http://www.pct-labs.com (apparently hosted by Dag)

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On Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 2:04 PM, Bruce Abbott bbabbott@frontier.com wrote:

Hi Bruce,

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I have a Google website, Perceptual Control Demos, that offers downloadable copies of all the programs in LCS III, plus a few others that I have written. Each is a zip file that includes source code and the executable. These are all Delphi (a descendent of Pascal) programs. I don’t know anything about posting to SourceForge, but I suppose that could be another repository option. The Google site is probably going to be less permanent as it’s tied to me personally.

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Most of the effort (and code) that goes into writing these programs centers on creating the user interface; in fact readers of the code often are surprised at how little code involves simulating the control systems and the physics. So there’s usually not much that’s reusable

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Bruce A.


From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 9:07 PM
To: Adam Matic adam.matic@gmail.com
Cc: Tom Bourbon tombourbon@sbcglobal.net; Bruce Abbott bbabbott@frontier.com; j richard kenneway jrk@cmp.uea.ac.uk; Rupert Young rupert@perceptualrobots.com; Greg and Pat Williams gwill@mis.net; Gary Cziko gcziko@gmail.com; board@iapct.org
Subject: Re: source code

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BN: Thanks, Rick. Adam now included.

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BN: Bill’s source code was an initial concern, but it’s a much broader issue. We should have a common repository for code developed by others and as new code is developed ongoing. Many code management issues should be considered. Does it make sense to think of libraries of reusable and adaptable code? There’s an obvious modularity to any CT hierarchy. Should we think of the architecture of a control loop in modular terms? Should we organize a project or collection of related projects in sourceforge? Other questions will occur to anyone experienced in software development. These questions are outside my scope–above my pay grade, as the saying goes. But I’m confident they should be addressed.

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/Bruce

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On Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 7:00 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

If it’s source code for Bill’s demos you want you should also copy to Adam Matic (adam.matic@gmail.com).

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On Wed, Nov 22, 2017 at 8:17 AM, Bruce Nevin bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

Friends,

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I sent the below query in August. Greg said he has no source code and referred me to Dag and Gary

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My concern was archiving, but maybe better would be an active development repository in sourceforge. Should I ask more widely on CSGnet for volunteers competent to take this up?

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/Bruce

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On Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 9:56 AM, Bruce Nevin bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

Tom, Bruce, Richard, Rupert, Greg,

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For years when I have told people about demos and simulations I have said that the source code is available so that they can see that we are not ‘cheating’ in any way. For example, the 2011-2012 web-published joint paper says this. This needs to be a true statement. We need to have the source code assembled in an accessible archive.

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Another reason (of which I know you, Tom, have a vivid awareness) is the value of the source code for learning how make computer simulations and other PCT programs. I, personally, have felt the lack.

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Would you five be willing to work together to pull together all the source code you can, and associated documentation if any, and get it to appropriate archives?Â

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It should be archived at Northwestern and on our several websites. Replication is welcome, on the LOCKSS principle beloved of archivists (“lots of copies keep stuff safe”).

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You may well determine among you that other people should be involved. Please let me, Richard Pfau, and Allie know your decisions and how it’s going.

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/Bruce

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Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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[From Rick Marken (2017.12.04.1815)]

···

Bruce Nevin (2017.12.03.23:00 ET)-

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BN: There can be no doubt that the colon in the title Behavior: the control of perception asserts that the phrase “the control of perception” is Bill’s definition of the word “behavior”. It is also the accepted PCT definition of the word “behavior”. Therefore the sentence “behavior is the control of perception” is an accurate and adequate paraphrase of the title and (like the title) states what Bill’s book is about.

RM: Exactly! And what we see as “behaviors” are the possibly varying reference states of controlled variables (as when we see a person walking – varying the controlled position of their center of gravity – or moving their finger in a curved trajectory – varying the position of their finger in space) or the means used to keep these variables under control (which are typically themselves controlled variables, such as the leg movements that keep the center of gravity centered balanced over the legs was a person walks).Â

BN: Why divide “control” from “control of perception”? What distinction is being made?

RM: The distinction between fact (observed control) and theory (control theory).

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BN: Here is the quote:Â

living things control the perceived environment by means of their behavior. Consequently, the phenomenon of control takes center stage in PCT, with observable behavior playing an important but supporting role.

BN: The phrase “control the perceived environment” neatly encapsulates the “both” answer that I offered above.

RM: The problem with this quote is that it uses “behavior” as a synonym for “means of control”. But, as I said, the term behavior usually refers to controlled variables, which are typically also the means of controlling other controlled variables. But by far the most important observation that Bill made is that the events we call behaviors are controlled results of action – controlled variables. PCT explains how these variables are controlled. That is, PCT explains a phenomenon (controlled variables) that is unknown to other other theories of behavior. So it is no wonder PCT has a hard time cracking the life science establishment; PCT explains a phenomenon whose existence is unknown to some life scientists and actively denied by others.Â

BN: He [Boris] does not like the idea that we control perceived variables in the environment. But this assertion that we control environmental variables does not relegate the control of perception to a “supporting role”.

RM: No, it “relegates” "control of perception"Â to a theoretical role; it explains why we see aspects of the environment being controlled. The observation of the existence of controlled variables comes first (phenomena first!); PCT explains how these variables are controlled.Â

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BN:Â Anyway, I do not understand what problem he [Boris] finds with saying that behavior is control, unless he is referring to observable actions, behavioral outputs that are represented in a control diagram by the output function. Behavior, understood as that which is represented in a control diagram by the entire control loop, is control.

RM: I would say that “behavior” refers to the observable aspects of the behavior of a control system. And those are the two variables (other than the disturbance) that are in the environment of the control system: the (possibly varying) reference state of the controlled variable (or controlled quantity as it is sometimes called) and the actions that keep that variable in the reference state.Â

BN: Studies of collective control pretty conclusively demonstrate the reality of controlled environmental variables. That’s an important part of PCT.Â

RM: The reality of controlled aspects of the environment (a better way of saying it than “controlled environmental variables”; like the taste of lemonade, there are controlled aspects of the environment that don’t correspond to any particular variable in the environment) was demonstrated well before studies of collective control were being done. The reality of controlled aspects of the environment were described by Powers in his first papers on control theory (see the demonstrations in part II of the 1960 General Feedback Theory paper, reprinted in LCS I) since the existence of these controlled aspects of the environment are the reason Bill developed the application of control theory to behavior that we now call PCT.Â

BN: Finally, Bill strongly disapproved of any sort of PCT fundamentalism referring to what he said or wrote as authoritative gospel. It’s antithetical to the proper character of science, which guards against such natural human proclivities as argument from authority, ad hominem argument, confirmation bias, and so on. Of course, scientists do frequently fall into these traps, but the stance of science is to be alert to them and guard against them. Any kind of authoritarian cult will interfere with the acceptance and establishment of PCT that we seek.Â

RM: You betcha! What Bill liked was having PCT challenged via experimental test. That’s why he liked me so much;-) Well, he may not have liked me that much, being that I can be a bit of a schmuck sometimes (to other people, never to him; but he was liberal to a degree to which I can’t possibly aspire). But he did like my work a lot.

BestÂ

Rick

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Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Bruce Nevin (2017.12.05.10:15 ET)]

Rick Marken (2017.12.04.1815)–

Your critique is spot on and welcome, but don’t lose sight of the context, my perhaps quixotic attempt to understand what the heck Boris was talking about.

BN: Why divide “control” from “control of perception”? What distinction is being made?

RM: The distinction between fact (observed control) and theory (control theory).

Yes. But I was asking why Boris was (making this distinction. When he objected to “behavior” being defined as "the control of perception" do you think that he had in mind the distinction between phenomenon and theory?

BN: Studies of collective control pretty conclusively demonstrate the reality of controlled environmental variables. That’s an important part of PCT.Â

RM: The reality of controlled aspects of the environment … was demonstrated well before studies of collective control were being done.Â

Yes, I probably should have begun this sentence “For example, …”. Putting it back in context, it was a rejoinder to Boris’s claim that control of aspects of the environment is not part of PCT.

···

On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 9:15 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.04.1815)]

Bruce Nevin (2017.12.03.23:00 ET)-

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BN: There can be no doubt that the colon in the title Behavior: the control of perception asserts that the phrase “the control of perception” is Bill’s definition of the word “behavior”. It is also the accepted PCT definition of the word “behavior”. Therefore the sentence “behavior is the control of perception” is an accurate and adequate paraphrase of the title and (like the title) states what Bill’s book is about.

RM: Exactly! And what we see as “behaviors” are the possibly varying reference states of controlled variables (as when we see a person walking – varying the controlled position of their center of gravity – or moving their finger in a curved trajectory – varying the position of their finger in space) or the means used to keep these variables under control (which are typically themselves controlled variables, such as the leg movements that keep the center of gravity centered balanced over the legs was a person walks).Â

BN: Why divide “control” from “control of perception”? What distinction is being made?

RM: The distinction between fact (observed control) and theory (control theory).

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BN: Here is the quote:Â

living things control the perceived environment by means of their behavior. Consequently, the phenomenon of control takes center stage in PCT, with observable behavior playing an important but supporting role.

BN: The phrase “control the perceived environment” neatly encapsulates the “both” answer that I offered above.

RM: The problem with this quote is that it uses “behavior” as a synonym for “means of control”. But, as I said, the term behavior usually refers to controlled variables, which are typically also the means of controlling other controlled variables. But by far the most important observation that Bill made is that the events we call behaviors are controlled results of action – controlled variables. PCT explains how these variables are controlled. That is, PCT explains a phenomenon (controlled variables) that is unknown to other other theories of behavior. So it is no wonder PCT has a hard time cracking the life science establishment; PCT explains a phenomenon whose existence is unknown to some life scientists and actively denied by others.Â

BN: He [Boris] does not like the idea that we control perceived variables in the environment. But this assertion that we control environmental variables does not relegate the control of perception to a “supporting role”.

RM: No, it “relegates” "control of perception"Â to a theoretical role; it explains why we see aspects of the environment being controlled. The observation of the existence of controlled variables comes first (phenomena first!); PCT explains how these variables are controlled.Â

Â

BN:Â Anyway, I do not understand what problem he [Boris] finds with saying that behavior is control, unless he is referring to observable actions, behavioral outputs that are represented in a control diagram by the output function. Behavior, understood as that which is represented in a control diagram by the entire control loop, is control.

RM: I would say that “behavior” refers to the observable aspects of the behavior of a control system. And those are the two variables (other than the disturbance) that are in the environment of the control system: the (possibly varying) reference state of the controlled variable (or controlled quantity as it is sometimes called) and the actions that keep that variable in the reference state.Â

BN: Studies of collective control pretty conclusively demonstrate the reality of controlled environmental variables. That’s an important part of PCT.Â

RM: The reality of controlled aspects of the environment (a better way of saying it than “controlled environmental variables”; like the taste of lemonade, there are controlled aspects of the environment that don’t correspond to any particular variable in the environment) was demonstrated well before studies of collective control were being done. The reality of controlled aspects of the environment were described by Powers in his first papers on control theory (see the demonstrations in part II of the 1960 General Feedback Theory paper, reprinted in LCS I) since the existence of these controlled aspects of the environment are the reason Bill developed the application of control theory to behavior that we now call PCT.Â

BN: Finally, Bill strongly disapproved of any sort of PCT fundamentalism referring to what he said or wrote as authoritative gospel. It’s antithetical to the proper character of science, which guards against such natural human proclivities as argument from authority, ad hominem argument, confirmation bias, and so on. Of course, scientists do frequently fall into these traps, but the stance of science is to be alert to them and guard against them. Any kind of authoritarian cult will interfere with the acceptance and establishment of PCT that we seek.Â

RM: You betcha! What Bill liked was having PCT challenged via experimental test. That’s why he liked me so much;-) Well, he may not have liked me that much, being that I can be a bit of a schmuck sometimes (to other people, never to him; but he was liberal to a degree to which I can’t possibly aspire). But he did like my work a lot.

BestÂ

Rick

Â


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.05.1045)]

···

Bruce Nevin (2017.12.05.10:15 ET)

Rick Marken (2017.12.04.1815)–

BN: Your critique is spot on and welcome, but don’t lose sight of the context, my perhaps quixotic attempt to understand what the heck Boris was talking about.

RM: I know. I was just using your comments to make some points about PCT. Â

RM: The distinction between fact (observed control) and theory (control theory).

BN: Yes. But I was asking why Boris was (making this distinction. When he objected to “behavior” being defined as "the control of perception" do you think that he had in mind the distinction between phenomenon and theory?

RM: Of course not. Again, I was just using your comment to point out that PCT is an application of theory (control theory)Â explain the phenomenon of control as it is observed in the behavior of living systems. I think the biggest problem we have on CSGNet is a failure to understand this fact about PCT.

RM: The reality of controlled aspects of the environment … was demonstrated well before studies of collective control were being done.Â

BN: Yes, I probably should have begun this sentence “For example, …”. Putting it back in context, it was a rejoinder to Boris’s claim that control of aspects of the environment is not part of PCT.

RM: Virtually everyone (except me) who was involved in the discussion of controlling perceptions and controlling aspects of the environment accepted the idea that it was only perception that is controlled by a control system. Boris was just an extreme case, with his carrying on about control of aspects of the environment not being part of PCT. But others were apparently comfortable with the idea that the aspects of the environment that correspond to controlled perceptions are “stabilized”, not controlled, as a side effect of controlling perception.Â

RM: These ideas about how control works comes from taking a “theory first” (or “theory only”) approach to PCT – an approach that results from a failure to understand that PCT (unlike other applications of control theory in the life sciences) was developed to explain the phenomenon of control as it is seen in living systems. The PCT approach to understanding behavior is “phenomena first” because it is only applicable when you know you are dealing with a control phenomenon. When you take a phenomena first approach to PCT it’s easy to understand that what organisms do is control are aspects of their external environment; they do this by controlling perceptual variables that correspond to the aspects of the environment that we see being controlled. From a phenomena first perspective the idea that perception is all that is controlled is clearly ludicrous.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Â

/Bruce


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 9:15 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.04.1815)]

Bruce Nevin (2017.12.03.23:00 ET)-

Â

BN: There can be no doubt that the colon in the title Behavior: the control of perception asserts that the phrase “the control of perception” is Bill’s definition of the word “behavior”. It is also the accepted PCT definition of the word “behavior”. Therefore the sentence “behavior is the control of perception” is an accurate and adequate paraphrase of the title and (like the title) states what Bill’s book is about.

RM: Exactly! And what we see as “behaviors” are the possibly varying reference states of controlled variables (as when we see a person walking – varying the controlled position of their center of gravity – or moving their finger in a curved trajectory – varying the position of their finger in space) or the means used to keep these variables under control (which are typically themselves controlled variables, such as the leg movements that keep the center of gravity centered balanced over the legs was a person walks).Â

BN: Why divide “control” from “control of perception”? What distinction is being made?

RM: The distinction between fact (observed control) and theory (control theory).

Â

BN: Here is the quote:Â

living things control the perceived environment by means of their behavior. Consequently, the phenomenon of control takes center stage in PCT, with observable behavior playing an important but supporting role.

BN: The phrase “control the perceived environment” neatly encapsulates the “both” answer that I offered above.

RM: The problem with this quote is that it uses “behavior” as a synonym for “means of control”. But, as I said, the term behavior usually refers to controlled variables, which are typically also the means of controlling other controlled variables. But by far the most important observation that Bill made is that the events we call behaviors are controlled results of action – controlled variables. PCT explains how these variables are controlled. That is, PCT explains a phenomenon (controlled variables) that is unknown to other other theories of behavior. So it is no wonder PCT has a hard time cracking the life science establishment; PCT explains a phenomenon whose existence is unknown to some life scientists and actively denied by others.Â

BN: He [Boris] does not like the idea that we control perceived variables in the environment. But this assertion that we control environmental variables does not relegate the control of perception to a “supporting role”.

RM: No, it “relegates” "control of perception"Â to a theoretical role; it explains why we see aspects of the environment being controlled. The observation of the existence of controlled variables comes first (phenomena first!); PCT explains how these variables are controlled.Â

Â

BN:Â Anyway, I do not understand what problem he [Boris] finds with saying that behavior is control, unless he is referring to observable actions, behavioral outputs that are represented in a control diagram by the output function. Behavior, understood as that which is represented in a control diagram by the entire control loop, is control.

RM: I would say that “behavior” refers to the observable aspects of the behavior of a control system. And those are the two variables (other than the disturbance) that are in the environment of the control system: the (possibly varying) reference state of the controlled variable (or controlled quantity as it is sometimes called) and the actions that keep that variable in the reference state.Â

BN: Studies of collective control pretty conclusively demonstrate the reality of controlled environmental variables. That’s an important part of PCT.Â

RM: The reality of controlled aspects of the environment (a better way of saying it than “controlled environmental variables”; like the taste of lemonade, there are controlled aspects of the environment that don’t correspond to any particular variable in the environment) was demonstrated well before studies of collective control were being done. The reality of controlled aspects of the environment were described by Powers in his first papers on control theory (see the demonstrations in part II of the 1960 General Feedback Theory paper, reprinted in LCS I) since the existence of these controlled aspects of the environment are the reason Bill developed the application of control theory to behavior that we now call PCT.Â

BN: Finally, Bill strongly disapproved of any sort of PCT fundamentalism referring to what he said or wrote as authoritative gospel. It’s antithetical to the proper character of science, which guards against such natural human proclivities as argument from authority, ad hominem argument, confirmation bias, and so on. Of course, scientists do frequently fall into these traps, but the stance of science is to be alert to them and guard against them. Any kind of authoritarian cult will interfere with the acceptance and establishment of PCT that we seek.Â

RM: You betcha! What Bill liked was having PCT challenged via experimental test. That’s why he liked me so much;-) Well, he may not have liked me that much, being that I can be a bit of a schmuck sometimes (to other people, never to him; but he was liberal to a degree to which I can’t possibly aspire). But he did like my work a lot.

BestÂ

Rick

Â


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.14.08]

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.05.1045)]

We disagree on our perceptions of what people believed or said in

that everlasting discussion. I don’t suppose it will make any
difference, but here is my position (again).

What you know of the world is what you perceive. That is the only

truth of which you can be sure (paraphrasing Bill Powers because I
believe it to be true). Therefore all you can be sure of controlling
is your perception of the world. How you control that is theory.

Whether you live happily or suffer damage and death depends on what

happens in the real outer world that affects your body. If
controlling what you perceive fails to control something in the real
world that corresponds to that perception, it does not make any
difference to your happy survival, except possibly because of the
random side-effects generated by your actions. Therefore most of the
perceptions you control must result in control of some aspect of the
real world.

Evolution (including reorganization, both being theories about the

real world) favours structures that enhance the likelihood that
those structures will be reproduced, and perceptions that when
controlled do not result in control of some aspect of the real world
are more likely to reduce the likelihood of survival and
reproduction. Such perceptions are unlikely to survive. Therefore
the processes that produce the perceptions, which are the only
aspects of the world of which we can be sure, will almost all
produce perceptions that allow effective control of those aspects of
the world that correspond to them.

Bottom line: because of evolutionary and reorganizational processes,

control of aspects of the real world coexists with control of
perception. That you control your perceptions is theory that I
perceive because I perceive that you control aspects of the world.
That I control something in the real world is also theory that I
perceive because I perceive that I control some of my perceptions,
as is the theory that what I perceive corresponds in some way to a
real world in which you exist.

Given my theory that my perceptions correspond to aspects of a real

world, then control of aspects of the real world is what matters.
Control of your perceptions is how you do it, in my theory, though
my control of my perceptions is basic and not theoretical.

That's not quite what you said. I don't know to what degree what you

said applies to others in the discussion, but my perception is that
it applies to not many, if any, other than Boris.

I'm not going to touch the various definitions of "behaviour" other

than to note that most words in most natural languages mean whatever
they imply to the reader-listener at the time. Definitions may help
the reader-listener determine the effect the writer-talker intended,
but not much more.

Martin
···


RM: Virtually everyone (except me) who was involved in
the discussion of controlling perceptions and controlling
aspects of the environment accepted the idea that it was
only perception that is controlled by a control system.

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.15.56]

There's a typo or brain fart (call it what you will) in

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.14.08]

Evolution (including reorganization, both being theories about the real world) favours structures that enhance the likelihood that those structures will be reproduced, and perceptions that when controlled do not result in control of some aspect of the real world are more likely to reduce the likelihood of survival and reproduction. Such perceptions are unlikely to survive.

might better read

Evolution (including reorganization, both being theories about the real world) favours structures that enhance the likelihood that those structures will be reproduced. Perceptions are unlikely to last long that when controlled do not result in control of some aspect of the real world, and are therefore likely to reduce the likelihood of survival and reproduction.

Martin

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.05.1520)]

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.14.0

RM: Virtually everyone (except me) who was involved in the discussion of controlling perceptions and controlling aspects of the environment accepted the idea that it was only perception that is controlled by a control system.

MT: We disagree on our perceptions of what people believed or said in that everlasting discussion. I don't suppose it will make any difference, but here is my position (again).

RM: Do you agree that when a control system controls a perceptual variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds?Â
BestÂ
Rick
 >

···

What you know of the world is what you perceive. That is the only truth of which you can be sure (paraphrasing Bill Powers because I believe it to be true). Therefore all you can be sure of controlling is your perception of the world. How you control that is theory.

Whether you live happily or suffer damage and death depends on what happens in the real outer world that affects your body. If controlling what you perceive fails to control something in the real world that corresponds to that perception, it does not make any difference to your happy survival, except possibly because of the random side-effects generated by your actions. Therefore most of the perceptions you control must result in control of some aspect of the real world.

Evolution (including reorganization, both being theories about the real world) favours structures that enhance the likelihood that those structures will be reproduced, and perceptions that when controlled do not result in control of some aspect of the real world are more likely to reduce the likelihood of survival and reproduction. Such perceptions are unlikely to survive. Therefore the processes that produce the perceptions, which are the only aspects of the world of which we can be sure, will almost all produce perceptions that allow effective control of those aspects of the world that correspond to them.

Bottom line: because of evolutionary and reorganizational processes, control of aspects of the real world coexists with control of perception. That you control your perceptions is theory that I perceive because I perceive that you control aspects of the world. That I control something in the real world is also theory that I perceive because I perceive that I control some of my perceptions, as is the theory that what I perceive corresponds in some way to a real world in which you exist.

Given my theory that my perceptions correspond to aspects of a real world, then control of aspects of the real world is what matters. Control of your perceptions is how you do it, in my theory, though my control of my perceptions is basic and not theoretical.

That's not quite what you said. I don't know to what degree what you said applies to others in the discussion, but my perception is that it applies to not many, if any, other than Boris.

I'm not going to touch the various definitions of "behaviour" other than to note that most words in most natural languages mean whatever they imply to the reader-listener at the time. Definitions may help the reader-listener determine the effect the writer-talker intended, but not much more.

Martin

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ
"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sorry Martin…

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 12:20 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: “:” and what is perceived

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.05.1520)]

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.14.0

RM: Virtually everyone (except me) who was involved in the discussion of controlling perceptions and controlling aspects of the environment accepted the idea that it was only perception that is controlled by a control system.

MT: We disagree on our perceptions of what people believed or said in that everlasting discussion. I don’t suppose it will make any difference, but here is my position (again).

RM: Do you agree that when a control system controls a perceptual variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds?

HB : Again. Why didn’t you use this course of thinking in sleeping example ? It’s 6-10 hours how people control. How can you use it in sitting and thinking example ? Stop confussing people arround if even you don’t beleive in generality of your own thinking ?

RM (earlier) : Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : So where is »controlled aspect« of enviroment ? PCT is general theory about how organisms function not just about two or three experimental examples of »controlled aspect« of environment.

Boris

What you know of the world is what you perceive. That is the only truth of which you can be sure (paraphrasing Bill Powers because I believe it to be true). Therefore all you can be sure of controlling is your perception of the world. How you control that is theory.

Whether you live happily or suffer damage and death depends on what happens in the real outer world that affects your body. If controlling what you perceive fails to control something in the real world that corresponds to that perception, it does not make any difference to your happy survival, except possibly because of the random side-effects generated by your actions. Therefore most of the perceptions you control must result in control of some aspect of the real world.

Evolution (including reorganization, both being theories about the real world) favours structures that enhance the likelihood that those structures will be reproduced, and perceptions that when controlled do not result in control of some aspect of the real world are more likely to reduce the likelihood of survival and reproduction. Such perceptions are unlikely to survive. Therefore the processes that produce the perceptions, which are the only aspects of the world of which we can be sure, will almost all produce perceptions that allow effective control of those aspects of the world that correspond to them.

Bottom line: because of evolutionary and reorganizational processes, control of aspects of the real world coexists with control of perception. That you control your perceptions is theory that I perceive because I perceive that you control aspects of the world. That I control something in the real world is also theory that I perceive because I perceive that I control some of my perceptions, as is the theory that what I perceive corresponds in some way to a real world in which you exist.

Given my theory that my perceptions correspond to aspects of a real world, then control of aspects of the real world is what matters. Control of your perceptions is how you do it, in my theory, though my control of my perceptions is basic and not theoretical.

That’s not quite what you said. I don’t know to what degree what you said applies to others in the discussion, but my perception is that it applies to not many, if any, other than Boris.

I’m not going to touch the various definitions of “behaviour” other than to note that most words in most natural languages mean whatever they imply to the reader-listener at the time. Definitions may help the reader-listener determine the effect the writer-talker intended, but not much more.

Martin

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.23.48]

Three independent questions to which an answer is required before I

can answer your question.

Do you agree that when a schizophrenic controls a perceptual

variable p that is completely real to him but not to those around
him, he is controlling the aspect of the environment q.i, to which
that variable corresponds (i.e. not in the environment perceptible
to anyone else)?

Do you believe that any (or all) perceptions p have a corresponding

environmental variable q.i that is is a 1 to 1 noise-free
relationship with p?

How, precisely, do you define "controlling" in this question?

Martin
···

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.05.1520)]

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.14.0

            MT: We disagree on our perceptions of what people

believed or said in that everlasting discussion. I don’t
suppose it will make any difference, but here is my
position (again).

          RM: Do you agree that when a control system controls a

perceptual variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of
the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds?

                        RM: Virtually everyone (except me) who

was involved in the discussion of
controlling perceptions and controlling
aspects of the environment accepted the idea
that it was only perception that is
controlled by a control system.

Down…

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 7:48 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: “:” and what is perceived

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.05.1045)]

Bruce Nevin (2017.12.05.10:15 ET)

Rick Marken (2017.12.04.1815)–

BN: Your critique is spot on and welcome, but don’t lose sight of the context, my perhaps quixotic attempt to understand what the heck Boris was talking about.

HB : Indeed. What I was talking about ???

RM: I know. I was just using your comments to make some points about PCT.

RM: The distinction between fact (observed control) and theory (control theory).

BN: Yes. But I was asking why Boris was (making this distinction. When he objected to “behavior” being defined as “the control of perception” do you think that he had in mind the distinction between phenomenon and theory?

HB : Who objects that ? Where did you see it ?

RM: Of course not. Again, I was just using your comment to point out that PCT is an application of theory (control theory) explain the phenomenon of control as it is observed in the behavior of living systems.

HB : PCT is not an application of theory (control theory) explain the phenomenon of control as it is observed in the behavior of living systems. It’s much more. It is general theory about how organisms function. You can observe whatever you want in behavior of people and you can see control. But if you don’t understand what people are controlling you probably ask »What are you doing« ? Most people will not see behavior as »control«. It’s the matter of interpretation of individual. But if you are talking about PCT then »Behavior (output)« is not controlled. Can you prove it that you can control muscle tension ?

I think the biggest problem we have on CSGNet is a failure to understand this fact about PCT.

HB : Right. And you are the biggest problem.

RM: The reality of controlled aspects of the environment … was demonstrated well before studies of collective control were being done.

HB : Show me one Bills’ diagram where »controlled aspects« of environment are presented.

In environment of PCT organism is just »feedback«, because it is general diagram. The only controlled variable is perceptual signal

Bill P : (LCS III) : Note that we classify the controlled variable as an input variable, not an output variable.

HB : Why didn’t you use »controlled aspect« of environment in sleeping case ? Again PCT is general theory about human behavior. It has to be right in every case of behavior. Your RCT theory can be applyed just to certain behaviors. Do you feel the difference ?Â

BN: Yes, I probably should have begun this sentence “For example, …”. Putting it back in context, it was a rejoinder to Boris’s claim that control of aspects of the environment is not part of PCT.

HB : Right. Where did you see it PCT ? Show me one PCT diagram that is showing »controlled aspect of environment« ??? And explain me sleeping behavior which should feet to your theory (BNCT) how you control »aspect of environment« ??? You can choose also any other behavior ? For ex. observing ?

RM: Virtually everyone (except me) who was involved in the discussion of controlling perceptions and controlling aspects of the environment accepted the idea that it was only perception that is controlled by a control system.

HB : What else can be controlled in PCT as theory of »Control of perception« ?

RM : Boris was just an extreme case, with his carrying on about control of aspects of the environment not being part of PCT.

HB : It’s not part of PCT. Show me where did you see it and again, why didnt’ you use it in your case of sleeping ? If PCT is general theory about our lives it has to work in every behavior you see.

RM : But others were apparently comfortable with the idea that the aspects of the environment that correspond to controlled perceptions are “stabilized”, not controlled, as a side effect of controlling perception.

HB : Right. It is stabilized not controlled… To understand this you have to understand PCT not RCT.

RM: These ideas about how control works comes from taking a “theory first” (or “theory only”) approach to PCT

HB : These ideas about how control works comes from taking physiological facts into account where you recursed when you were trying to expalin sleeping example. And this was one of the better things you did in your PCT career.

RM (earlier) : Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

RM : …-- an approach that resuults from a failure to understand that PCT (unlike other applications of control theory in the life sciences) was developed to explain the phenomenon of control as it is seen in living systems.

HB : The only right approach to understanding how organisms function was done by Bill. If I could understand right he started his career with physioogist and in medicine facilities. And that’s how he probably make firm models of how organisms functions so he didn’t have to »wander« arround and imagine things like most psycholgist do. Physiological knowledge is real. It helps saving people every day. What can you do with RCT ?

RM : The PCT approach to understanding behavior is “phenomena first” because it is only applicable when you know you are dealing with a control phenomenon. When you take a phenomena first approach to PCT it’s easy to understand that what organisms do is control are aspects of their external environment;

HB : How many times we have to repat that PCT approach to understanding behavior is through how orgsnism function. See you example of sleeping.

RM : …tthey do this by controlling perceptual variables that correspond to the aspects of the environment that we see being controlled.

HB : This could go through… You see them being controlled. How many of 7.000.000.000 people on theWorld would beleive you ? For example if they could observe you when you are sleeping how many of them would beleive that to extend that you are controlling inside you control also outside ? Or vica verse…

RM : From a phenomena first perspective the idea that perception is all that is controlled is clearly ludicrous.

HB : That’s what really happens in reality. Perceptions are all that you have and you make your own perceptual model. If you imagine that things outside and environment is also controlled than that is your deccission.

When you are sitting behind computer and let imagination go, you can made too many logical mistakes. So one solution is to start observing and researching as Rupert proposed.

RY : Regarding collaborations I think the most useful topic to pursue is learning within PCT. Although there is a general theory of how learning, by reorganisation, happens in PCT and there are some demonstrations showing it working within simulations the theory lacks detail and the demos are quite limited. There is, therefore, a lot of scope for a more comprehensive understanding of PCT learning that can be demonstrated in working models, particularly of how perceptual functions arise. The ultimate goal would be, I think, to throw an unorganised hierarchy at a control problem and it would learn a resolution. This would be a great coup in the field of AI and machine learning, as well as in the behaviour of living systems, to show the power of PCT. An initial target application could be something like the mountain car problem.

Boris

Best

Rick

/Bruce

On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 9:15 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.04.1815)]

Bruce Nevin (2017.12.03.23:00 ET)-

BN: There can be no doubt that the colon in the title Behavior: the control of perception asserts that the phrase “the control of perception” is Bill’s definition of the word “behavior”. It is also the accepted PCT definition of the word “behavior”. Therefore the sentence “behavior is the control of perception” is an accurate and adequate paraphrase of the title and (like the title) states what Bill’s book is about.

RM: Exactly! And what we see as “behaviors” are the possibly varying reference states of controlled variables (as when we see a person walking – varying the controlled position of their center of gravity – or moving their finger in a curved trajectory – varying the position of their finger in space) or the means used to keep these variables under control (which are typically themselves controlled variables, such as the leg movements that keep the center of gravity centered balanced over the legs was a person walks).

BN: Why divide “control” from “control of perception”? What distinction is being made?

RM: The distinction between fact (observed control) and theory (control theory).

BN: Here is the quote:

living things control the perceived environment by means of their behavior. Consequently, the phenomenon of control takes center stage in PCT, with observable behavior playing an important but supporting role.

BN: The phrase “control the perceived environment” neatly encapsulates the “both” answer that I offered above.

RM: The problem with this quote is that it uses “behavior” as a synonym for “means of control”. But, as I said, the term behavior usually refers to controlled variables, which are typically also the means of controlling other controlled variables. But by far the most important observation that Bill made is that the events we call behaviors are controlled results of action – controlled variables. PCT explains how these variables are controlled. That is, PCT explains a phenomenon (controlled variables) that is unknown to other other theories of behavior. So it is no wonder PCT has a hard time cracking the life science establishment; PCT explains a phenomenon whose existence is unknown to some life scientists and actively denied by others.

BN: He [Boris] does not like the idea that we control perceived variables in the environment. But this assertion that we control environmental variables does not relegate the control of perception to a “supporting role”.

RM: No, it “relegates” “control of perception” to a theoretical role; it explains why we see aspects of the environment being controlled. The observation of the existence of controlled variables comes first (phenomena first!); PCT explains how these variables are controlled.

BN: Anyway, I do not understand what problem he [Boris] finds with saying that behavior is control, unless he is referring to observable actions, behavioral outputs that are represented in a control diagram by the output function. Behavior, understood as that which is represented in a control diagram by the entire control loop, is control.

RM: I would say that “behavior” refers to the observable aspects of the behavior of a control system. And those are the two variables (other than the disturbance) that are in the environment of the control system: the (possibly varying) reference state of the controlled variable (or controlled quantity as it is sometimes called) and the actions that keep that variable in the reference state.

BN: Studies of collective control pretty conclusively demonstrate the reality of controlled environmental variables. That’s an important part of PCT.

RM: The reality of controlled aspects of the environment (a better way of saying it than “controlled environmental variables”; like the taste of lemonade, there are controlled aspects of the environment that don’t correspond to any particular variable in the environment) was demonstrated well before studies of collective control were being done. The reality of controlled aspects of the environment were described by Powers in his first papers on control theory (see the demonstrations in part II of the 1960 General Feedback Theory paper, reprinted in LCS I) since the existence of these controlled aspects of the environment are the reason Bill developed the application of control theory to behavior that we now call PCT.

BN: Finally, Bill strongly disapproved of any sort of PCT fundamentalism referring to what he said or wrote as authoritative gospel. It’s antithetical to the proper character of science, which guards against such natural human proclivities as argument from authority, ad hominem argument, confirmation bias, and so on. Of course, scientists do frequently fall into these traps, but the stance of science is to be alert to them and guard against them. Any kind of authoritarian cult will interfere with the acceptance and establishment of PCT that we seek.

RM: You betcha! What Bill liked was having PCT challenged via experimental test. That’s why he liked me so much;-) Well, he may not have liked me that much, being that I can be a bit of a schmuck sometimes (to other people, never to him; but he was liberal to a degree to which I can’t possibly aspire). But he did like my work a lot.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Bruce Nevin (2017.12.06.08:45 ET)]

Boris Hartman (Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 11:39 PM) –

In response to Rick Marken (2015.11.09.1620), Boris asks “where is »controlled aspect« of enviroment ?” when the subject organism is sleeping.Â

To repeat: The environment of the neurological control hierarchy includes sensed aspects of muscular, organ, and chemical systems within the body. These in turn have effects that evoke perceptual signals stored in memory. (Memory is reportedly local to synapses distributed through the nervous system.)

···

On Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 11:39 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Sorry Martin…

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 12:20 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: “:” and what is perceived

Â

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.05.1520)]

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.14.0

RM: Virtually everyone (except me) who was involved in the discussion of controlling perceptions and controlling aspects of the environment accepted the idea that it was only perception that is controlled by a control system.

MT: We disagree on our perceptions of what people believed or said in that everlasting discussion. I don’t suppose it will make any difference, but here is my position (again).

Â

RM: Do you agree that when a control system controls a perceptual variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds?Â

Â

HB : Again. Why didn’t you use this course of thinking in sleeping example ? It’s 6-10 hours how people control. How can you use it in sitting and thinking example ? Stop confussing people arround if even you don’t beleive in generality of your own thinking ?

Â

RM (earlier) : Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : So where is »controlled aspect« of enviroment ? PCT is general theory about how organisms function not just about two or three experimental examples of »controlled aspect« of environment.

Â

Boris

Â

What you know of the world is what you perceive. That is the only truth of which you can be sure (paraphrasing Bill Powers because I believe it to be true). Therefore all you can be sure of controlling is your perception of the world. How you control that is theory.

Whether you live happily or suffer damage and death depends on what happens in the real outer world that affects your body. If controlling what you perceive fails to control something in the real world that corresponds to that perception, it does not make any difference to your happy survival, except possibly because of the random side-effects generated by your actions. Therefore most of the perceptions you control must result in control of some aspect of the real world.

Evolution (including reorganization, both being theories about the real world) favours structures that enhance the likelihood that those structures will be reproduced, and perceptions that when controlled do not result in control of some aspect of the real world are more likely to reduce the likelihood of survival and reproduction. Such perceptions are unlikely to survive. Therefore the processes that produce the perceptions, which are the only aspects of the world of which we can be sure, will almost all produce perceptions that allow effective control of those aspects of the world that correspond to them.

Bottom line: because of evolutionary and reorganizational processes, control of aspects of the real world coexists with control of perception. That you control your perceptions is theory that I perceive because I perceive that you control aspects of the world. That I control something in the real world is also theory that I perceive because I perceive that I control some of my perceptions, as is the theory that what I perceive corresponds in some way to a real world in which you exist.

Given my theory that my perceptions correspond to aspects of a real world, then control of aspects of the real world is what matters. Control of your perceptions is how you do it, in my theory, though my control of my perceptions is basic and not theoretical.

That’s not quite what you said. I don’t know to what degree what you said applies to others in the discussion, but my perception is that it applies to not many, if any, other than Boris.

I’m not going to touch the various definitions of “behaviour” other than to note that most words in most natural languages mean whatever they imply to the reader-listener at the time. Definitions may help the reader-listener determine the effect the writer-talker intended, but not much more.

Martin

Â

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.06.0840)]

···

Martin Taylor (2017.12.05.23.48)–

MT: Three independent questions to which an answer is required before I

can answer your question.

MT: Do you agree that when a schizophrenic controls a perceptual

variable p that is completely real to him but not to those around
him, he is controlling the aspect of the environment q.i, to which
that variable corresponds (i.e. not in the environment perceptible
to anyone else)?

 RM: Yes.Â

MT: Do you believe that any (or all) perceptions p have a corresponding

environmental variable q.i that is is a 1 to 1 noise-free
relationship with p?

RM: Yes.

How, precisely, do you define “controlling” in this question?

RM: Maintenance of an aspect of the environment, q.i, in a fixed or viable reference state, protected from disturbance.Â

RM: Now it’s your turn: Do you agree that when a control system controls a perceptual variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds?Â

RM: This question can be answered “yes” or “no” and one of those answers is correct. Good luck.

BestÂ

Rick

          RM: Do you agree that when a control system controls a

perceptual variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of
the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds?Â

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.06.14.06]

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.06.0840)]

You do contradict yourself quite nicely, don't you? The taste of

lemonade, which I (and I imagine you) perceive as surely as I
perceive any other property of the environment, does not exist in
the environment, but the hallucination of a schizophrenic does.
That’s very interesting. Which answer should I use, today’s “Yes” or
your much argued “No”?

Could you explain how this is possible in a physically realistic

environment, perhaps with an example. Just one would be enough. Does
you “Yes” refer to “any” or to “all”?

The reason I asked this question with the word "precisely" was

because this answer is the usual one and it is not precise. Nor does
it include a way that an observer could distinguish whether a change
in an aspect of the environment was caused by non-control, imperfect
control, or changes in an unobservable reference state.

In the very sloppy way you define control, my answer is "yes", but

that depends on my conceiving control in a very specific way, which
implicitly involves the fictional “neural current” construct and
therefore is purely an aspect of theory rather than of what
organisms may or may not do.

No, one of the answers is consistent with a particular

simplification of a more generally powerful theory called
“Perceptual Control Theory”. Neither answer is “correct” according
to Mother Nature, nor necessarily according to the de-simplified
theory that Bill powers acknowledged that he was approximating,
though one of them is correct according to you. I prefer Mother
Nature (as did Powers), and like to keep my options open, in
recognition of the possibility that I have failed to think of
something that would affect my theory. What, for example, might be
the implication of the probable fact that nowhere in the brain is
there any individual value at any time that could map onto your “p”?

In Bill's deliberate simplification, "p" is an approximation to the

combined value of lots of individual events in the brain averaged
over time and place. To make a “p” takes time, and in that time the
environmental variable may have changed. That wouldn’t affect the
“Yes” answer to a sloppy definition of control, but it might affect
an answer to a precise definition, depending on what that definition
might be.

Martin

Martin
···

Martin Taylor (2017.12.05.23.48)–

            MT: Three independent questions to which an

answer is required before I can answer your question.

            MT: Do you agree that when a schizophrenic controls a

perceptual variable p that is completely real to him but
not to those around him, he is controlling the aspect of
the environment q.i, to which that variable corresponds
(i.e. not in the environment perceptible to anyone
else)?

RM: Yes.

                        RM: Do you agree that when a control

system controls a perceptual variable, p, it
is controlling the aspect of the
environment, q.i, to which that variable
corresponds?

            MT: Do you believe that any (or

all) perceptions p have a corresponding environmental
variable q.i that is is a 1 to 1 noise-free relationship
with p?

RM: Yes.

            How, precisely, do you define

“controlling” in this question?

          RM: Maintenance of an aspect of the environment, q.i,

in a fixed or viable reference state, protected from
disturbance.

          RM: Now it's your turn: Do you agree that when a

control system controls a perceptual variable, p, it is
controlling the aspect of the environment, q.i, to which
that variable corresponds?

          RM: This question can be answered "yes" or "no" and one

of those answers is correct. Good luck.

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.06.1600)]:

···

Martin Taylor (2017.12.06.14.06)–

MT: You do contradict yourself quite nicely, don't you? The taste of

lemonade, which I (and I imagine you) perceive as surely as I
perceive any other property of the environment, does not exist in
the environment, but the hallucination of a schizophrenic does.
That’s very interesting. Which answer should I use, today’s “Yes” or
your much argued “No”?

RM: No contradiction. The taste of lemonade exists as an aspect (function) of the environment (the “environment” being the variables in the world according to physics). You asked whether a schizophrenic controlling a perceptual variable, p, is controlling an aspect of the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds. The correct answer to that question is “yes” because there would be no need to assume that the schizophrenic is controlling a perceptual variable,p, that corresponds to q.i unless it was known that q.i was being controlled.Â

MT: Could you explain how this is possible in a physically realistic

environment, perhaps with an example. Just one would be enough. Does
you “Yes” refer to “any” or to “all”?

RM: In the PCT model, p is a noiseless function of environmental variables. For example, in my model of object interception, one controlled variable is p = dv/dt, which is the instantaneous rate of change in vertical optical velocity of the object being pursued; dv/dt is the aspect of the environment that corresponds to the perceptual signal, p. So in PCT models, it is always true that “perceptions, p, have a corresponding environmental variable (I presume you mean “aspect of the environment”), q.i, that is in a 1 to 1 noise-free relationship with p”.Â

MT: The reason I asked this question with the word "precisely" was

because this answer is the usual one and it is not precise. Nor does
it include a way that an observer could distinguish whether a change
in an aspect of the environment was caused by non-control, imperfect
control, or changes in an unobservable reference state.

RM: Well, that certainly explains why you have never done any PCT research; you believe it is impossible.Â

MT: In the very sloppy way you define control, my answer is "yes", but

that depends on my conceiving control in a very specific way, which
implicitly involves the fictional “neural current” construct and
therefore is purely an aspect of theory rather than of what
organisms may or may not do.

RM: The “sloppy” way I define control is precisely the way control is defined in PCT. What’s wrong with it?

MT: No, one of the answers is consistent with a particular

simplification of a more generally powerful theory called
“Perceptual Control Theory”.

RM: Well, I prefer the “simplified” version of PCT since the “non-simplified” version has not resulted in any research and, thus, has not advanced the science of PCT one nanometer.

MT: Neither answer is "correct" according

to Mother Nature, nor necessarily according to the de-simplified
theory that Bill powers acknowledged that he was approximating,
though one of them is correct according to you. I prefer Mother
Nature (as did Powers), and like to keep my options open, in
recognition of the possibility that I have failed to think of
something that would affect my theory. What, for example, might be
the implication of the probable fact that nowhere in the brain is
there any individual value at any time that could map onto your “p”?

RM: You can’t answer that question by just thinking about it. You first have to develop a hypothesis about what the observable consequences would be if that presumed fact were, indeed, true. Then you have to test to see if those consequences are, indeed, observed. That is, you have to test your theory against what Mother Nature actually does; that’s the “Mother Nature” that Bill preferred and that you seem to scorn.Â

MT: In Bill's deliberate simplification, "p" is an approximation to the

combined value of lots of individual events in the brain averaged
over time and place. To make a “p” takes time, and in that time the
environmental variable may have changed. That wouldn’t affect the
“Yes” answer to a sloppy definition of control, but it might affect
an answer to a precise definition, depending on what that definition
might be.

RM: It might affect it and it might not. Why not test it?Â

            MT: Do you agree that when a schizophrenic controls a

perceptual variable p that is completely real to him but
not to those around him, he is controlling the aspect of
the environment q.i, to which that variable corresponds
(i.e. not in the environment perceptible to anyone
else)?

 RM: Yes.Â

            MT: Do you believe that any (or

all) perceptions p have a corresponding environmental
variable q.i that is is a 1 to 1 noise-free relationship
with p?

RM: Yes.

            MT: How, precisely, do you define

“controlling” in this question?

          RM: Maintenance of an aspect of the environment, q.i,

in a fixed or viable reference state, protected from
disturbance.Â

          RM: Now it's your turn: Do you agree that when a

control system controls a perceptual variable, p, it is
controlling the aspect of the environment, q.i, to which
that variable corresponds?Â

          RM: This question can be answered "yes" or "no" and one

of those answers is correct. Good luck.

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Eetu Pikkarainen 2017-12-07 4:55]

Excuse me, I would like to write some thoughts to this thread.

First, I agree with Boris that PCT could and should be a general theory of the foundations of the action of human and all living beings, that is: a theory of life. For example Powers
clearly drafted this kind of theory for example in his article about birth life in first organic molecules (The origins of purpose, 1995, e.g. in

ftp://ftp.vub.ac.be/pub/papers/Principia_Cybernetica/WF-issue/Powers.txt ). For living beings it is most important to keep their internal structure and functioning in order. This is called homeostasis in biology. I would here call it internal control i.e.
control(i). This is the basic and fundamental form of control and it is assumed to be the motor of reorganization.

The state of affairs in the external environment is important and interesting for living beings only as much as it affects its internal structure and functioning (and possibility to
procreate like Martin said). That is of course quite much because living beings are open systems in continuous interaction and energy flow with their environments. But still there can be much control(i), like just for example sleeping, thinking, observing
which does not much affect the environment.

The control which affects the environment – control(e) –– has evolved to help control(i). Often it may be important to affect the environment in accurate ways but even then the most important
thing is how that control(e) helps control(i), i.e. what happens inside organism not what happens outside. The mechanism which makes that more or less accurate control(e) possible is the control of perception – control§).

Rick seems to be quite right that if we want make empirical psychological research of human behavior (methodologically behavioristic research) then we can and perhaps must assume that
the (real or modelled) testee can control(e) and cause accurate effects in environment and the tester can measure and disturb these effects and make plausible inferences from them.

(But still the concept of control(e) is problematic and stabilization is stricter because there can be predetermined references only inside the organisms, not in the environment. The
so called reference state of the environmental variable is always only afterwards determined both by the observer and the controller.)

As for the question about theory and phenomenon and their relationship, it should be a long known fact that our perceptions are always theory laden – especially in science. This meanss
in way that there is always theory first but on the other hand perceptions affect and should make changes to theories. Thus there is that familiar circular interaction between them. I don’t believe it is for any good to try to make only the other side or the
other direction allowed and compulsory.

Eetu

Please, regard all my statements as questions,

no matter how they are formulated.

···

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.06.1600)]:

Martin Taylor (2017.12.06.14.06)–

MT: Do you agree that when a schizophrenic controls a perceptual variable p that is completely real to him but not to those around him, he is controlling the aspect of the environment q.i, to which that variable corresponds (i.e. not in
the environment perceptible to anyone else)?

RM: Yes.

MT: You do contradict yourself quite nicely, don’t you? The taste of lemonade, which I (and I imagine you) perceive as surely as I perceive any other property of the environment, does not exist in the environment, but the hallucination
of a schizophrenic does. That’s very interesting. Which answer should I use, today’s “Yes” or your much argued “No”?

RM: No contradiction. The taste of lemonade exists as an aspect (function) of the environment (the “environment” being the variables in the world according to physics). You asked whether a schizophrenic controlling a perceptual variable,
p, is controlling an aspect of the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds. The correct answer to that question is “yes” because there would be no need to assume that the schizophrenic is controlling a perceptual variable,p, that corresponds to
q.i unless it was known that q.i was being controlled.

MT: Do you believe that any (or all) perceptions p have a corresponding environmental variable q.i that is is a 1 to 1 noise-free relationship with p?

RM: Yes.

MT: Could you explain how this is possible in a physically realistic environment, perhaps with an example. Just one would be enough. Does you “Yes” refer to “any” or to “all”?

RM: In the PCT model, p is a noiseless function of environmental variables. For example, in my model of object interception, one controlled variable is p = dv/dt, which is the instantaneous rate of change in vertical optical velocity of
the object being pursued; dv/dt is the aspect of the environment that corresponds to the perceptual signal, p. So in PCT models, it is always true that “perceptions, p, have a corresponding environmental variable (I presume you mean “aspect of the environment”),
q.i, that is in a 1 to 1 noise-free relationship with p”.

MT: How, precisely, do you define “controlling” in this question?

RM: Maintenance of an aspect of the environment, q.i, in a fixed or viable reference state, protected from disturbance.

MT: The reason I asked this question with the word “precisely” was because this answer is the usual one and it is not precise. Nor does it include a way that an observer could distinguish whether a change in an aspect of the environment
was caused by non-control, imperfect control, or changes in an unobservable reference state.

RM: Well, that certainly explains why you have never done any PCT research; you believe it is impossible.

RM: Now it’s your turn: Do you agree that when a control system controls a perceptual variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds?

MT: In the very sloppy way you define control, my answer is “yes”, but that depends on my conceiving control in a very specific way, which implicitly involves the fictional “neural current” construct and therefore is purely an aspect of
theory rather than of what organisms may or may not do.

RM: The “sloppy” way I define control is precisely the way control is defined in PCT. What’s wrong with it?

RM: This question can be answered “yes” or “no” and one of those answers is correct. Good luck.

MT: No, one of the answers is consistent with a particular simplification of a more generally powerful theory called “Perceptual Control Theory”.

RM: Well, I prefer the “simplified” version of PCT since the “non-simplified” version has not resulted in any research and, thus, has not advanced the science of PCT one nanometer.

MT: Neither answer is “correct” according to Mother Nature, nor necessarily according to the de-simplified theory that Bill powers acknowledged that he was approximating, though one of them is correct according to you. I prefer Mother Nature
(as did Powers), and like to keep my options open, in recognition of the possibility that I have failed to think of something that would affect my theory. What, for example, might be the implication of the probable fact that nowhere in the brain is there any
individual value at any time that could map onto your “p”?

RM: You can’t answer that question by just thinking about it. You first have to develop a hypothesis about what the observable consequences would be if that presumed fact were, indeed, true. Then you have to test to see if those consequences
are, indeed, observed. That is, you have to test your theory against what Mother Nature actually does; that’s the “Mother Nature” that Bill preferred and that you seem to scorn.

MT: In Bill’s deliberate simplification, “p” is an approximation to the combined value of lots of individual events in the brain averaged over time and place. To make a “p” takes time, and in that time the environmental variable may have
changed. That wouldn’t affect the “Yes” answer to a sloppy definition of control, but it might affect an answer to a precise definition, depending on what that definition might be.

RM: It might affect it and it might not. Why not test it?

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�

                            --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.06.23.15]

I don't see much point in continuing a conversation in which logic

is turned on its head, agreements with what I say are cast as
contradictions, and contradictions are claimed to be consistencies.
It’s a form of debate in which I have no practice, and one that I do
not wish to learn.

Martin
···

Martin Taylor (2017.12.06.14.06)–

            MT: You do contradict yourself quite nicely,

don’t you? The taste of lemonade, which I (and I imagine
you) perceive as surely as I perceive any other property
of the environment, does not exist in the environment,
but the hallucination of a schizophrenic does. That’s
very interesting. Which answer should I use, today’s
“Yes” or your much argued “No”?

          RM: No contradiction. The taste of lemonade exists as

an aspect (function) of the environment (the
“environment” being the variables in the world according
to physics). You asked whether a schizophrenic controlling
a perceptual variable, p, is controlling an aspect of the
environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds. The
correct answer to that question is “yes” because there
would be no need to assume that the schizophrenic is
controlling a perceptual variable,p, that corresponds to
q.i unless it was known that q.i was being controlled.Â

            MT: Could you explain how this is possible in a

physically realistic environment, perhaps with an
example. Just one would be enough. Does you “Yes” refer
to “any” or to “all”?

          RM: In the PCT model, p is a noiseless function of

environmental variables. For example, in my model of
object interception, one controlled variable is p = dv/dt,
which is the instantaneous rate of change in vertical
optical velocity of the object being pursued; dv/dt is the
aspect of the environment that corresponds to the
perceptual signal, p. So in PCT models, it is always true
that “perceptions, p, have a corresponding environmental
variable (I presume you mean “aspect of the environment”),
q.i, that is in a 1 to 1 noise-free relationship with p”.Â

            MT: The reason I asked this question with the

word “precisely” was because this answer is the usual
one and it is not precise. Nor does it include a way
that an observer could distinguish whether a change in
an aspect of the environment was caused by non-control,
imperfect control, or changes in an unobservable
reference state.

          RM: Well, that certainly explains why you have never

done any PCT research; you believe it is impossible.Â

            MT: In the very sloppy way you define control, my

answer is “yes”, but that depends on my conceiving
control in a very specific way, which implicitly
involves the fictional “neural current” construct and
therefore is purely an aspect of theory rather than of
what organisms may or may not do.

          RM: The "sloppy" way I define control is precisely the

way control is defined in PCT. What’s wrong with it?

            MT: No, one of the answers is consistent with a

particular simplification of a more generally powerful
theory called “Perceptual Control Theory”.

          RM: Well, I prefer the "simplified" version of PCT

since the “non-simplified” version has not resulted in any
research and, thus, has not advanced the science of PCT
one nanometer.

            MT: Neither answer is "correct"

according to Mother Nature, nor necessarily according to
the de-simplified theory that Bill powers acknowledged
that he was approximating, though one of them is correct
according to you. I prefer Mother Nature (as did
Powers), and like to keep my options open, in
recognition of the possibility that I have failed to
think of something that would affect my theory. What,
for example, might be the implication of the probable
fact that nowhere in the brain is there any individual
value at any time that could map onto your “p”?

          RM: You can't answer that question by just thinking

about it. You first have to develop a hypothesis about
what the observable consequences would be if that presumed
fact were, indeed, true. Then you have to test to see if
those consequences are, indeed, observed. That is, you
have to test your theory against what Mother Nature
actually does; that’s the “Mother Nature” that Bill
preferred and that you seem to scorn.Â

            MT: In Bill's deliberate

simplification, “p” is an approximation to the combined
value of lots of individual events in the brain averaged
over time and place. To make a “p” takes time, and in
that time the environmental variable may have changed.
That wouldn’t affect the “Yes” answer to a sloppy
definition of control, but it might affect an answer to
a precise definition, depending on what that definition
might be.

      RM: It might affect it and it might not. Why not test it?Â
                          MT: Do you agree

that when a schizophrenic controls a
perceptual variable p that is completely
real to him but not to those around him,
he is controlling the aspect of the
environment q.i, to which that variable
corresponds (i.e. not in the environment
perceptible to anyone else)?

 RM: Yes.Â

                          MT: Do you believe

that any (or all) perceptions p have a
corresponding environmental variable q.i
that is is a 1 to 1 noise-free
relationship with p?

RM: Yes.

                          MT: How, precisely,

do you define “controlling” in this
question?

                        RM: Maintenance of an aspect of the

environment, q.i, in a fixed or viable
reference state, protected from
disturbance.Â

                        RM: Now it's your turn: Do you agree that

when a control system controls a perceptual
variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of
the environment, q.i, to which that variable
corresponds?Â

                        RM: This question can be answered "yes"

or “no” and one of those answers is correct.
Good luck.

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

                                  "Perfection

is achieved not when you have
nothing more to add, but when you
have
nothing left to take away.�
  Â
            Â
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.08.0950)]

···

Eetu Pikkarainen (2017-12-07 4:55)–

EP: First, I agree with Boris that PCT could and should be a general theory of the foundations of the action of human and all living beings, that is: a theory of life.

 RM: Yes, Bill certainly thought of it that way (as a general theory of life) and so do I.Â

 EP: The state of affairs in the external environment is important and interesting for living beings only as much as it affects its internal structure and functioning (and possibility to
procreate like Martin said).Â

RM: I agree with that too. And given my experience with procreation I agree that it has typically involved states of “affairs” in the external environment!:wink:

 EP: The control which affects the environment – control(e) – hashas evolved to help control(i). Often it may be important to affect the environment in accurate ways but even then the most important
thing is how that control(e) helps control(i), i.e. what happens inside organism not what happens outside. The mechanism which makes that more or less accurate control(e) possible is the control of perception – contrrol§.

RM: This is all part of PCT also, except for the part about “accuracy” of control. Accuracy is a judgment about the quality of control that is made by an outside observer who has an idea about what someone should be controlling. Survival in terms of successful control(i) depends, not on “accurate” control(e) but, rather, on high quality control(e). That is, control of intrinsic variables depends on good control – keeping controlled variables in their specified reference states --Â of variables which, when controlled, keep intrinsic variables at their reference as a side effect.Â

 EP: Rick seems to be quite right that if we want make empirical psychological research of human behavior (methodologically behavioristic research) then we can and perhaps must assume that
the (real or modelled) testee can control(e) and cause accurate effects in environment and the tester can measure and disturb these effects and make plausible inferences from them.

RM: We don’t have to assume that people can control aspects of the environment; we can demonstrate that they do and that we can rather accurately determine which aspects of the environment are being controlled and which aren’t. This is demonstrated by my “Mind Reading” demo (http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Mindread.html).Â

 EP: (But still the concept of control(e) is problematic and stabilization is stricter because there can be predetermined references only inside the organisms, not in the environment. The
so called reference state of the environmental variable is always only afterwards determined both by the observer and the controller.)

RM: Control is an actual, observable phenomenon (which is demonstrated rather dramatically by the Mind Reading demo). The reference states of controlled variables – which can be constant or, as in the Mind Reading demo, variable – are an objectively determinable characteristic of control. The reference signals that are presumed to exist inside the organism are part of the theoretical explanation of the existence of reference states. “Stabilization” could be a synonym for control but it is typically used in studies of motor control to refer to the behavior of “equilibrium” systems, such as pendulums and mass-spring systems, that return to a stable resting or “equilibrium” state after a transient disturbance. Stability and control refer to two very different phenomena; one (stability) being explicable in terms of lineal causal laws and the other (control) being explicable only in terms of circular causality (control theory).

EP:Â Â
As for the question about theory and phenomenon and their relationship, it should be a long known fact that our perceptions are always theory laden – especially in science. This means
in way that there is always theory first but on the other hand perceptions affect and should make changes to theories. Thus there is that familiar circular interaction between them. I don’t believe it is for any good to try to make only the other side or the
other direction allowed and compulsory.

RM: I agree. It’s certainly possible to start research “theory first”. But, as you say, you then have to test the theory against observation to see if you’ve got it right. And the cycle continues. Bill and I liked the phrase “phenomena first” because so few people were making any observations to test PCT. It was all about theory. I love the theory as much as the next person but I particularly love the experience of seeing the theory explain, data – and with amazing precision. I have had this experience several times and it’s really quite wonderful – spiritual even; it’s the experience of discovering a small “truth” about how life actually works.Â

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Sorry Martin to jump in…

···

From: Martin Taylor [mailto:mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net]
Sent: Thursday, December 07, 2017 5:18 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: “:” and what is perceived

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.06.23.15]

I don’t see much point in continuing a conversation in which logic is turned on its head, agreements with what I say are cast as contradictions, and contradictions are claimed to be consistencies. It’s a form of debate in which I have no practice, and one that I do not wish to learn.

HB : I understand you Martin. Rick is a tought one…. I wonder when Powers ladies will stop him.

I wouldn’t answer on his challenge iether but he probably produced »third biggest nonsense« in history of PCT.

RM: No contradiction. The taste of lemonade exists as an aspect (function) of the environment (the “environment” being the variables in the world according to physics).

HB : Ha,ha, ha…. Do II undertand right that »The taste already exist in environment as being the variables in the world according to physics» ???

And if this is true for »one sense« it is valid for all senses. So the colors, smell, skin sensibility …¦ etc already exist in environment. This is the biggest nonsense I ever heard. If I understood it right it is the biggest joke of millennium. I doubt that even in Ancient Greece they would beleive this.

So every LCS (from bacteria to human) has the same taste of lemonade and they see the same colors and smell the same for ex. shit. So fly and human has the same smell of shit because it’s already in environment ???

And that probably inlcudes spiders, ants, crocodiles and so on… because any sensitivity for environmental vvariables already exist in environent. So they will all perceive all sensibilities the same …. Because they are already in environment.
/o:p>

Is this what you are saying ?

Boris

[From Bruce Nevin (2017.12.06.08:45 ET)]

Boris Hartman (Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 11:39 PM) –

In response to Rick Marken (2015.11.09.1620), Boris asks “where is »controlled aspect« of enviroment ?” when the subject organism is sleeping.

To repeat: The environment of the neurological control hierarchy includes sensed aspects of muscular, organ, and chemical systems within the body. These in turn have effects that evoke perceptual signals stored in memory. (Memory is reportedly local to synapses distributed through the nervous system.)

HB : Well I don’t exactly understand what you wanted to say, so could you explain it to me through some physiological book. Do I understand right that you wanted to say that internal environment is controlled by muscle tensions ? That’s what the discussion was about. The existance of »controlled variable« in outer environment (outside body). And Rick correctly answered that nothing is controlled in outer environment. Only internal environment is controlled.  So I can tell you on first sight that Ricks’ explanation is much better.

RM (earlier) : Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : What exactly you wanted to say Bruce ? That during sleeping »external« environment is normally controlled as in any other activity which occurs in 24 hours day cycle ?

Boris

/Bruce

Sorry Martin…

···

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 2:58 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: “:” and what is perceived

On Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 11:39 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 12:20 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: “:” and what is perceived

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.05.1520)]

[Martin Taylor 2017.12.05.14.0

RM: Virtually everyone (except me) who was involved in the discussion of controlling perceptions and controlling aspects of the environment accepted the idea that it was only perception that is controlled by a control system.

MT: We disagree on our perceptions of what people believed or said in that everlasting discussion. I don’t suppose it will make any difference, but here is my position (again).

RM: Do you agree that when a control system controls a perceptual variable, p, it is controlling the aspect of the environment, q.i, to which that variable corresponds?

HB : Again. Why didn’t you use this course of thinking in sleeping example ? It’s 6-10 hours how people control. How can you use it in sitting and thinking example ? Stop confussing people arround if even you don’t beleive in generality of your own thinking ?

RM (earlier) : Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : So where is »controlled aspect« of enviroment ? PCT is general theory about how organisms function not just about two or three experimental examples of »controlled aspect« of environment.

Boris

What you know of the world is what you perceive. That is the only truth of which you can be sure (paraphrasing Bill Powers because I believe it to be true). Therefore all you can be sure of controlling is your perception of the world. How you control that is theory.

Whether you live happily or suffer damage and death depends on what happens in the real outer world that affects your body. If controlling what you perceive fails to control something in the real world that corresponds to that perception, it does not make any difference to your happy survival, except possibly because of the random side-effects generated by your actions. Therefore most of the perceptions you control must result in control of some aspect of the real world.

Evolution (including reorganization, both being theories about the real world) favours structures that enhance the likelihood that those structures will be reproduced, and perceptions that when controlled do not result in control of some aspect of the real world are more likely to reduce the likelihood of survival and reproduction. Such perceptions are unlikely to survive. Therefore the processes that produce the perceptions, which are the only aspects of the world of which we can be sure, will almost all produce perceptions that allow effective control of those aspects of the world that correspond to them.

Bottom line: because of evolutionary and reorganizational processes, control of aspects of the real world coexists with control of perception. That you control your perceptions is theory that I perceive because I perceive that you control aspects of the world. That I control something in the real world is also theory that I perceive because I perceive that I control some of my perceptions, as is the theory that what I perceive corresponds in some way to a real world in which you exist.

Given my theory that my perceptions correspond to aspects of a real world, then control of aspects of the real world is what matters. Control of your perceptions is how you do it, in my theory, though my control of my perceptions is basic and not theoretical.

That’s not quite what you said. I don’t know to what degree what you said applies to others in the discussion, but my perception is that it applies to not many, if any, other than Boris.

I’m not going to touch the various definitions of “behaviour” other than to note that most words in most natural languages mean whatever they imply to the reader-listener at the time. Definitions may help the reader-listener determine the effect the writer-talker intended, but not much more.

Martin

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Rick Marken (2017.12.18.1545)]

···

On Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 10:57 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Â

RM: No contradiction. The taste of lemonade exists as an aspect (function) of the environment (the “environment” being the variables in the world according to physics).

Â

HB : Ha,ha, ha…. Do I undertand right that »Thhe taste already exist in environment as being the variables in the world according to physics» ???Â

RM: No.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Â

And if this is true for »one sense« it is valid for all senses. So the colors, smell, skin sensibility … etc already exist in environment. This is the bigggest nonsense I ever heard. If I understood it right it is the biggest joke of millennium. I doubt that even in Ancient Greece they would beleive this.

Â

So every LCS (from bacteria to human) has the same taste of lemonade and they see the same colors and smell the same for ex. shit. So fly and human has the same smell of shit because it’s already in environment ???

Â

And that probably inlcudes spiders, ants, crocodiles and so on… because any sensitivity for environmental variables already existt in environent. So they will all perceive all sensibilities the same …. Because they are already in environment.

Â

Is this what you are saying ?

Â

Boris

Â

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery