Are Cultures Control Systems? With header this time.

[From Bruce Gregory (980318.1000 EST)]

i.kurtzer (980316.2100)

Do you miss Hans that much to be recreating his arguments in abstentia?

Interesting question. I wonder if Hans would agree that I am
recreating his arguments?

PCT is not necessarily pro-individual anti-supra-individual anymore than it
is pro-prokaryote. What PCT demands is
1) a control phenomena
2) identifiable physical mechanisms to map the functions to.

Both of these are empirically testable.
Clearly, there are collective activities that stabilize portions of the world.
When a city of bereft of citizens, the city crumbles. Cities, functioning
power lines, dikes that don't leak, and many other things are certainly a
function of concerted purposeful behavior. So we have 1. But we do not have
2. There are some activities that look like 2, but that is refication. I do
count PIFs that can decide to call in sick.

Ah, reification. One of my favorite words. I lost some of my
enthusiasm for "identifiable physical mechanisms" as a result of
thinking too much about quantum physics. I'll have to keep in
mind that PCT is a classical theory. By the way I understand the
world that you and Bill dwell in. In it the above rules are in
force. In my world, on the other hand, all there is is
perception and the stories we tell about perception. Some of
those stories involve only leptons and quarks. Other stories
involve control systems. In the latter stories, some involve
only individuals and others involve cultures. If you tell me
that you have figured out a way to avoid introducing cultures
into any of the stories you tell and can still predict complex
human behaviors, I find that very interesting. (Physicists tell
me that "in principle" they don't need to involve chemistry in
the stories they tell. I don't find that very interesting. I've
learned that "in principle" means "impossible in practice.")

We can avoid confusion if I call the version of PCT that exists
in my world PCT'. It looks very much like the version of PCT
that exists in your world, Bill's world, and Ric's world. The
fundamental difference is that my only ontological commitment is
to perceptions and stories about perceptions.


Here, for those of you who might have forgotten, is W.V.O.
Quine's prescient comment about my world. "What there is does
not in general depend on our use of language. But what we say
there is, does."