AST, Good David, Hacker redux

[From Rick Marken (930507.0800)]

The word "control", as we all know, has been one obstacle to
popular acceptance of PCT. I like the word "control" because
I know what it means and, therefore, think of control as a "good"
thing. But many people hear "control" and think of dictatorships and
oppression; so "control theory" sounds like a theory of how to oppress
people. This morning I thought of an alternative name that, while
not as good as control theory (once you know what "control" means),
does seem to describe the phenomenon that control theory tries to
explain, using a word that most people seem to like -- "autonomy".
I propose "Autonomous Systems Theory" (AST) as a possible alternative
to PCT (at least, when you are taking about the theory with the
non-PCT public -- which includes just about everyone).

I read the definitions of "autonomous" and "autonomy" in the dictionary
(Webster's new collegiate) and these words clearly describe the kind of
systems whose behavior we are trying to understand. For example, one
definition of "autonomous" is "b. undertaken or carried out without
outside control". The first definition of "autonomy" is "the quality or
state of being self-governing". Of course, we could buff up these
definitions a bit (for example, what is a "self" that it can be
"governed"?). "Autonomy" could be improved by saying that it's "the
quality or state of a system that makes it able to govern what happens
to itself" (to control its perception).

The only problem I see with Autonomous Systems Theory is that the
initials, AST, have already been taken by a local computer company.
But maybe the publicity of a lawsuit would help us out. Or, even
better, maybe we could work out a deal where they provide the AST
computers on which we could do our AST (pseudo-scientific) experiments.

David Goldstein (930507) --

Excellent ideas about the paper.
I especially like the idea of including (as you suggest) some
discission of:

(1) People Who Have Adopted PCT But...

(2) People Who Are Gung Ho PCT

(3) PCT Analysis Of Why Reviewers Oppose PCT And PCT Solution To

Ken Hacker (930506) --

I will try to give a serious response to your proposed social
psychology experiment. But I would prefer to wait a bit because
I am sure that Bill P., Mary P., Tom B. and possibly several others
will have plenty to say about it. Besides, it appears that just about
everything I say is a disturbance to something you are controlling for
-- so even if I said that your proposed experiment sounds like a
basically good idea (which it does -- it just needs a bit more detail
and clarification regarding its relationship to your model and ours)
you would probably treat that as an attack. So I'll wait to see if
anyone else has something to say. But, at the risk of being offensive,
I do appreciate your responsiveness to our request for a test of
the difference between PCT and your social theories.

Best

Rick