Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and "Behaviour")

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.01.2315 PST)]

···

Martin Taylor (2015.11/-1/08/09)–

MT: As far as I understand Bruce's reasoning (and I fear that I don't

understand it very well), he interprets the passage of LCS 1 pp171ff
differently from the way I interpret it

RM: The section of LCS I on pp. 171-176, titled “The Phenomenon of Control”, is an analysis of what is called “behavior”. The results of the analysis are presented in Table 1, p. 172. The first column, titled “Behavior”, contains “…phrases of a kind used both in ordinary discourse and in scientific psychology to denote what an organism is doing”; that is, they are descriptions of behaviors “…at the level at which most scientists perceive the actions of organisms”.

RM: Each behavior described in the “Behavior” column is then analyzed into the three components given by the titles of the next three columns: Means, Variable and Reference state. These are the three visible components of the phenomenon of control: the Means used to bring a Variable to a Reference state “despite any ordinary disturbance”. So the behavior denoted by the phrase “Open door” is analyzed into grasping and pulling as the Means that brings the Angle of the door, a Variable, to a Reference state, 80 degrees relative to the car.

RM: The point of Table 1 is that the events we call “behaviors”, such as “Opening the car door”, “Getting in”, “Shutting the door”, etc. are examples of control; all involve using variable Means to bring a Variable to a Reference state in the face of ordinary disturbances.That is the phenomenon of control as seen in what is called “behavior”. Table 1 shows that the events we call “behaviors” (of living organisms) are examples of control. “Opening the car door” involves controlling a Variable, the angle of the door, bringing it to and maintaining it in a Reference state, 80 degrees, by Means of grasping and pulling. The same is true for all the other behaviors listed in the Behavior column of Table 1.

RM: So the point of Table 1 and the discussion on pp. 171-176 is that a careful analysis of what are called “behaviors” shows that they are a process of control: behavior IS control. Perceptual Control Theory explains how this control is achieved in living organisms.

RM: So there is really no reason to try to find the “correct” definition of behavior. There is no correct definition. “Behavior” is not a technical term; it just points to the things organisms do. The analysis in Table 1 shows that the “doings” pointed to by behavior words involve Means, controlled Variables and Reference states for those variables. You can point to any one of these aspects of control and say “that’s behavior” but that doesn’t help because then you are leaving out another aspect of contorl that could also be called “behavior”.

RM: Rather than try to come up with a PCT approved definition of behavior, I think the thing to try to get across to people is that PCT starts with the realization that what has always been referred to as “behavior” is a process of control. Then explain that control is an objectively observable phenomenon that involves bringing variables to reference states and maintaining them there, protected from ordinary disturbance; finally, explain how control works – by control of perception.

Best

Rick


Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

One thing Rick,

do you have to add any changes with your theory of »Behavior icontrol« to »generic PCT diagram« or to any defitnition I expsed in my post, which can be found in B:CP, 2005 ???

If you don’t have any changes  than »Behavior is not Control…!!!

RM: So the point of Table 1 and the discussion on pp. 171-176 is that a careful analysis of what are called “behaviors” shows that they are a process of control: behavior IS control. Perceptual Control Theory explains how this control is achieved in living organisms.

HB : You are going again too far.

You know so little about organisms that I think you are not competent to judge how living organisms »control«. You will have to read much more about before in living organisms »Behavior will be  Cotnrol« You can’t force nature to be »squized« into Theory«. There will not be enough »wording« and »phylosophing« like you can do here in theoretical modeling. There it will go for real. So I’d still advice you to get some physiological oppinion before you put so brave statements on CSGnet such as how organisms control and mislead others.

When it will go for real. you’ll have to prove that »Behvaior is Control«. But aanyway »Behavior is not Control« in living organisms. There you’ll have to put some physiological evdiences that you are talking the truth. And you didn’t show any till now, although I asked you many times. And I know now that you don’t understand even those in B:CP. But there is sure much more to come.

As I said at the best shot you can get »Perception of behavior« can be controlled in relative way from observer to oberver, as Martin mentioned some time.

Expect in future that I’ll find time to read LCS I part about Control., you are mentioning. Now I really got no time.

My feeling says that you misunderstood it. But we’ll see. Whatever it’s just your perception of PCT till now, and there is no need for others to beleive you. But they can decide whatever they want to. And everyone can beleive what he wants to, until we come on the real »stuff« of living organisms. If ever. But one thing is sure : All is just perception.

Best,

Boris

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 02, 2015 8:14 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Cc: Richard Marken
Subject: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.01.2315 PST)]

Martin Taylor (2015.11/-1/08/09)–

MT: As far as I understand Bruce’s reasoning (and I fear that I don’t understand it very well), he interprets the passage of LCS 1 pp171ff differently from the way I interpret it

RM: The section of LCS I on pp. 171-176, titled “The Phenomenon of Control”, is an analysis of what is called “behavior”. The results of the analysis are presented in Table 1, p. 172. The first column, titled “Behavior”, contains “…phrases of a kind used both in ordinary discourse and in scientific psychology to denote what an organism is doing”; that is, they are descriptions of behaviors “…at the level at which most scientists perceive the actions of organisms”.

RM: Each behavior described in the “Behavior” column is then analyzed into the three components given by the titles of the next three columns: Means, Variable and Reference state. These are the three visible components of the phenomenon of control: the Means used to bring a Variable to a Reference state “despite any ordinary disturbance”. So the behavior denoted by the phrase “Open door” is analyzed into grasping and pulling as the Means that brings the Angle of the door, a Variable, to a Reference state, 80 degrees relative to the car.

RM: The point of Table 1 is that the events we call “behaviors”, such as “Opening the car door”, “Getting in”, “Shutting the door”, etc. are examples of control; all involve using variable Means to bring a Variable to a Reference state in the face of ordinary disturbances.That is the phenomenon of control as seen in what is called “behavior”. Table 1 shows that the events we call “behaviors” (of living organisms) are examples of control. “Opening the car door” involves controlling a Variable, the angle of the door, bringing it to and maintaining it in a Reference state, 80 degrees, by Means of grasping and pulling. The same is true for all the other behaviors listed in the Behavior column of Table 1.

RM: So the point of Table 1 and the discussion on pp. 171-176 is that a careful analysis of what are called “behaviors” shows that they are a process of control: behavior IS control. Perceptual Control Theory explains how this control is achieved in living organisms.

RM: So there is really no reason to try to find the “correct” definition of behavior. There is no correct definition. “Behavior” is not a technical term; it just points to the things organisms do. The analysis in Table 1 shows that the “doings” pointed to by behavior words involve Means, controlled Variables and Reference states for those variables. You can point to any one of these aspects of control and say “that’s behavior” but that doesn’t help because then you are leaving out another aspect of contorl that could also be called “behavior”.

RM: Rather than try to come up with a PCT approved definition of behavior, I think the thing to try to get across to people is that PCT starts with the realization that what has always been referred to as “behavior” is a process of control. Then explain that control is an objectively observable phenomenon that involves bringing variables to reference states and maintaining them there, protected from ordinary disturbance; finally, explain how control works – by control of perception.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.03.13:24 ET)]

Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Boris, which part of a “generic PCT diagram” is labeled “behavior”?

In B:CP, I see loop diagrams with labels that include “output function” and “input function”. Many of these refer to their position in a control hierarchy with other such loops both below and above. When a “generic PCT diagram” is located within the hierarchy, what part of it is labeled “behavior”?

Remember that in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

Do you think of “observable actions” of an organism as a process?

Or maybe you don’t define behavior as “observable actions”, the dictionary definition. What is your definition of the word “behavior”?

···

On Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 12:54 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

One thing Rick,

Â

do you have to add any changes with your theory of »Behavior icontrol« to »generic PCT diagram« or to any defitnition I expsed in my post, which can be found in B:CP, 2005 ???

Â

If you don’t have any changes  than »Behavior is not Control…!!!<

Â

RM: So the point of Table 1 and the discussion on pp. 171-176 is that a careful analysis of what are called “behaviors” shows that they are a process of control: behavior IS control. Perceptual Control Theory explains how this control is achieved in living organisms.Â

Â

HB : You are going again too far.

You know so little about organisms that I think you are not competent to judge how living organisms »control«. You will have to read much more about before in living organisms »Behavior will be  Cotnrol« You can’t force nature to be »squized« into Theory«. There will not be enough »wording« and »phylosophing« like you can do here in theoretical modeling. There it will go for real. So I’d still advice you to get some physiological oppinion before you put so brave statements on CSGnet such as how organisms control and mislead others.

Â

When it will go for real. you’ll have to prove that »Behvaior is Control«. But aanyway »Behavior is not Control« in living organisms. There you’ll have to put some physiological evdiences that you are talking the truth. And you didn’t show any till now, although I asked you many times. And I know now that you don’t understand even those in B:CP. But there is sure much more to come.

Â

As I said at the best shot you can get »Perception of behavior« can be controlled in relative way from observer to oberver, as Martin mentioned some time.

Â

Expect in future that I’ll find time to read LCS I part about Control., you are mentioning. Now I really got no time.

My feeling says that you misunderstood it. But we’ll see. Whatever it’s just your perception of PCT till now, and there is no need for others to beleive you. But they can decide whatever they want to. And everyone can beleive what he wants to, until we come on the real »stuff« of living organisms. If ever. But one thing is sure : All is just perception.

Â

Best,

Â

Boris

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 02, 2015 8:14 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Cc: Richard Marken
Subject: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

Â

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.01.2315 PST)]

Â

Martin Taylor (2015.11/-1/08/09)–

Â

MT: As far as I understand Bruce’s reasoning (and I fear that I don’t understand it very well), he interprets the passage of LCS 1 pp171ff differently from the way I interpret it

Â

RM: The section of LCS I on pp. 171-176, titled “The Phenomenon of Control”, is an analysis of what is called “behavior”. The results of the analysis are presented in Table 1, p. 172. The first column, titled “Behavior”, contains “…phrases of a kind used both in ordinary discourse and in scientific psychology to denote what an organism is doing”; that is, they are descriptions of behaviors “…at the level at which most scientists perceive the actions of organisms”.Â

Â

RM: Each behavior described in the “Behavior” column is then analyzed into the three components given by the titles of the next three columns: Means, Variable and Reference state. These are the three visible components of the phenomenon of control: the Means used to bring a Variable to a Reference state “despite any ordinary disturbance”. So the behavior denoted by the phrase “Open door” is analyzed into grasping and pulling as the Means that brings the Angle of the door, a Variable, to a Reference state, 80 degrees relative to the car.

Â

RM: The point of Table 1 is that the events we call “behaviors”, such as “Opening the car door”, “Getting in”, “Shutting the door”, etc. are examples of control; all involve using variable Means to bring a Variable to a Reference state in the face of ordinary disturbances.That is the phenomenon of control as seen in what is called “behavior”. Table 1 shows that the events we call “behaviors” (of living organisms) are examples of control. “Opening the car door” involves controlling a Variable, the angle of the door, bringing it to and maintaining it in a Reference state, 80 degrees, by Means of grasping and pulling. The same is true for all the other behaviors listed in the Behavior column of Table 1.

Â

RM: So the point of Table 1 and the discussion on pp. 171-176 is that a careful analysis of what are called “behaviors” shows that they are a process of control: behavior IS control. Perceptual Control Theory explains how this control is achieved in living organisms.Â

Â

RM: So there is really no reason to try to find the “correct” definition of behavior. There is no correct definition. “Behavior” is not a technical term; it just points to the things organisms do. The analysis in Table 1 shows that the “doings” pointed to by behavior words involve Means, controlled Variables and Reference states for those variables. You can point to any one of these aspects  of control and say “that’s behavior” but that doesn’t help because then you are leaving out another aspect of contorl that could also be called “behavior”.Â

Â

RM: Rather than try to come up with a PCT approved definition of behavior, I think the thing to try to get across to people is that PCT starts with the realization that what has always been referred to as “behavior” is a process of control. Then explain that control is an objectively observable phenomenon that involves bringing variables to reference states and maintaining them there, protected from ordinary disturbance; finally, explain how control works – by control of perception.Â

Â

BestÂ

Â

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

www.mindreadings.com
Author of  Doing Research on Purpose

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Bruce sorry I can’t finish all past conversations with you…

<

image00124.png

···

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2015 7:25 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.03.13:24 ET)]

Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Boris, which part of a “generic PCT diagram” is labeled “behavior”?

HB : You noticed it that …

BN: It is a matter of where you put the “behavior” label. In Figure 2-3 of LCS III (on p. 28), the word appears in the “Output Quantity” box as follows:

Bill P: [a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior

HB : So whatever behavior, behaviour means to you it’s just in connection with output. You equated it so. And I beleive it’s true because everything what we know about behavior is »observed behavior« or »percepived behavior«. So I think that »behavior« can be only »observed behavior«. No phylosophy needed.

 And if so then »physical output action« and »observed beahvior has the same function in Control loop : EFECTS ON ENVIRONMENT, not »CONTROL OF OUTER ENVIRONMENT«. And obviously Bill’s definiton and Martin’s oppinion show the same thing :

Bill P : The output function … represents the means tthis system has for causing changes in it’s environment.

Bill P. 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 in the immediate environment of the system…

MT : “Behaviour”, at least in PCT, is the consequences of the output signal that is distributed eventually to the organism’s environment.

BN : In B:CP, I see loop diagrams with labels that include “output function” and “input function”. Many of these refer to their position in a control hierarchy with other such loops both below and above. When a “generic PCT diagram” is located within the hierarchy, what part of it is labeled “behavior”?

HB : So for better understanding I suggest that we talk only about »definitions« of PCT. As I already gave you Bills definition of »OUTPUT FUNCTION« here is also »definition« of »INPUT FUNCTION«.

Bill P : B:CP

If you have anything to say to PCT say it please to Bill not to me (anyway my time is limited). I’m not the author of PCT. If you want to change Bill’s definitons please do it.  If you don’t than »behavior« in Bill’s  defintions and in diagram don’t involve control, what means that they are in accordance with Bill’s physiological evidences which he presented in his heirarchy.

BN :Remember that in the Preface to B:CP,

HB : I don’t recall that we are married and I’m sure not your kid JJJ. So please let us stay on cultural level of converstaion. I’ll remember whatever I’ll want, and it is your privilege to remember what you want. I could have said to you that i’t’s time that you remember some of Bill’s definitions but I didn’t. So…J.

BN : Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

HB : The problem is how you understand involment of process of »behavior« into organisms control. If you’d understand some physiology you could also understand that »observed behavior« or »physical output action« is »control empty«. It’s just affecting environment. See Bill’s defitnion and Martin’s oppinion.

BN :Do you think of “observable actions” of an organism as a process?

HB : »Observable Behavior« or »physical output action« can be seen as process. But not process of control or »control process«. It’s just affecting environment. It’s »affecting process«. It’s in diagram and in all Bill’s definitons. So please refere to them.

BN : Or maybe you don’t define behavior as “observable actions”, the dictionary definition. What is your definition of the word “behavior”?

HB : My »defintion« of »observed behavior« is as Bill’s and Martin’s, as I don’t know for any other kind of »behavior«. Behavior can be just perceived (internally or externally) as »physical output action«.

Boris

/Bruce

On Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 12:54 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

One thing Rick,

do you have to add any changes with your theory of »Behavior icontrol« to »generic PCT diagram« or to any defitnition I expsed in my post, which can be found in B:CP, 2005 ???

If you don’t have any changes than »Behavior is not Control…!!!

RM: So the point of Table 1 and the discussion on pp. 171-176 is that a careful analysis of what are called “behaviors” shows that they are a process of control: behavior IS control. Perceptual Control Theory explains how this control is achieved in living organisms.

HB : You are going again too far.

You know so little about organisms that I think you are not competent to judge how living organisms »control«. You will have to read much more about before in living organisms »Behavior will be Cotnrol« You can’t force nature to be »squized« into Theory«. There will not be enough »wording« and »phylosophing« like you can do here in theoretical modeling. There it will go for real. So I’d still advice you to get some physiological oppinion before you put so brave statements on CSGnet such as how organisms control and mislead others.

When it will go for real. you’ll have to prove that »Behvaior is Control«. But aanyway »Behavior is not Control« in living organisms. There you’ll have to put some physiological evdiences that you are talking the truth. And you didn’t show any till now, although I asked you many times. And I know now that you don’t understand even those in B:CP. But there is sure much more to come.

As I said at the best shot you can get »Perception of behavior« can be controlled in relative way from observer to oberver, as Martin mentioned some time.

Expect in future that I’ll find time to read LCS I part about Control., you are mentioning. Now I really got no time.

My feeling says that you misunderstood it. But we’ll see. Whatever it’s just your perception of PCT till now, and there is no need for others to beleive you. But they can decide whatever they want to. And everyone can beleive what he wants to, until we come on the real »stuff« of living organisms. If ever. But one thing is sure : All is just perception.

Best,

Boris

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 02, 2015 8:14 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Cc: Richard Marken
Subject: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.01.2315 PST)]

Martin Taylor (2015.11/-1/08/09)–

MT: As far as I understand Bruce’s reasoning (and I fear that I don’t understand it very well), he interprets the passage of LCS 1 pp171ff differently from the way I interpret it

RM: The section of LCS I on pp. 171-176, titled “The Phenomenon of Control”, is an analysis of what is called “behavior”. The results of the analysis are presented in Table 1, p. 172. The first column, titled “Behavior”, contains “…phrases of a kind used both in ordinary discourse and in scientific psychology to denote what an organism is doing”; that is, they are descriptions of behaviors “…at the level at which most scientists perceive the actions of organisms”.

RM: Each behavior described in the “Behavior” column is then analyzed into the three components given by the titles of the next three columns: Means, Variable and Reference state. These are the three visible components of the phenomenon of control: the Means used to bring a Variable to a Reference state “despite any ordinary disturbance”. So the behavior denoted by the phrase “Open door” is analyzed into grasping and pulling as the Means that brings the Angle of the door, a Variable, to a Reference state, 80 degrees relative to the car.

RM: The point of Table 1 is that the events we call “behaviors”, such as “Opening the car door”, “Getting in”, “Shutting the door”, etc. are examples of control; all involve using variable Means to bring a Variable to a Reference state in the face of ordinary disturbances.That is the phenomenon of control as seen in what is called “behavior”. Table 1 shows that the events we call “behaviors” (of living organisms) are examples of control. “Opening the car door” involves controlling a Variable, the angle of the door, bringing it to and maintaining it in a Reference state, 80 degrees, by Means of grasping and pulling. The same is true for all the other behaviors listed in the Behavior column of Table 1.

RM: So the point of Table 1 and the discussion on pp. 171-176 is that a careful analysis of what are called “behaviors” shows that they are a process of control: behavior IS control. Perceptual Control Theory explains how this control is achieved in living organisms.

RM: So there is really no reason to try to find the “correct” definition of behavior. There is no correct definition. “Behavior” is not a technical term; it just points to the things organisms do. The analysis in Table 1 shows that the “doings” pointed to by behavior words involve Means, controlled Variables and Reference states for those variables. You can point to any one of these aspects of control and say “that’s behavior” but that doesn’t help because then you are leaving out another aspect of contorl that could also be called “behavior”.

RM: Rather than try to come up with a PCT approved definition of behavior, I think the thing to try to get across to people is that PCT starts with the realization that what has always been referred to as “behavior” is a process of control. Then explain that control is an objectively observable phenomenon that involves bringing variables to reference states and maintaining them there, protected from ordinary disturbance; finally, explain how control works – by control of perception.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

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image00124.png

Hi Bruce,

I’m sorry to say but it seems that you want to stay mostly on phylosophical level as Rick is. So I’ll try to change a little the course of debate into little more concrete.

BN : Hi, Boris. A basic ground rule of conversation that I would like us to agree to is to assume good will. It causes as much trouble to take offense as it does to give it.

HB :Â I agree.

But I have to notice that  our conversation is  becoming too »empty«. There is no significant conclussions.

I put Bill’s definition »on the table«, and I’d like to know whether you and Rick agree with them or not. You are persistantly and sistematically avoiding them. And I’ like to know whether you agree with diagram (LCS III) or not ? Are there needed any changes ? That was my primary question.

I’d like also to know what you meant with your description :

BN : The key insight is that we do not control our behavior. Rather, behavior is variable in just the manner and extent necessary to make our experience be the way we want it to be. The title of the locus classicus of this science of psychology is Behavior: The control of perception, published in 1973 by William T. Powers.

As for Mary’s text is concerned is clear :

  1.  Over the last dozen years or so, beginning with Carver & Scheier (1) a number of psychologists have adopted the control theory model of William T. Powers (2)(3)(4) as a taking-off point from which to address the topics of self-regulation and goal pursuit.
    
  2.  The heart of control theory is that organisms control, and that what they control is not behavior at all, but perception.
    
  3.  This shift in viewpoint resolves the problem. Organisms achieve consistent ends in a variable world. The consistent ends that are achieved are the perceived consequences of their actions in combination with any environmental disturbances; not the actions alone, or the environmental disturbances alone.
    
  4.  The simplest movement is immediately affected by the infi nite variety of positions from which it begins, and by the state of fatigue of the muscles depending on previous actions. These are environmental disturbances, as much as the uneven ground one walks on in the country, traffic on the highway, and so forth, on up to one’s social milieu and the requests and demands—and cooperration— of other people.
    
  5.  The only known organization that can maintain itself in a variable world is a control system. A control system receives input—perceptions—from its environment. This input is a combined fuunction of environmental effects plus the perception of its own actions. The input is compared to a reference state, and the difference drives the output, which is immediately and continuously perceived, along with its effect or lack of effect on the environment. The output varies to reduce the difference between input and reference states.
    

Example of her critics of self-regulation :

  1.  It is behavior that is regulated rather than perception. (This is the fundamental difference between control theory and other theories. From inside the organism, where we all live, however objective we try to be, what we know of our actions, the actions of others, and the world around us, are perceptual constructs. There is no extra-sensory means of knowing. Objectivity in science means fairness, lack of bias, and the ability to reproduce, communicate and agree upon those perceptions which we construe as originating externally.)
    

HB : It’s obviously to me that she made a great distinction in using term »control« in self-regulation and PCT. But I’d like to hear from you concretly what you think about her critics ?

As for the physiological interpretation of PCT is concerned it seems tha Yin hasn’t got an answer. I thought that he had as you proposed him as a »physiological reference«. So I’d like to know, how by your oppinion the problem can be solved in picture on p.191 in B:CP, 2005 ?

image001137.png

BN : Boris, as I said earlier, if you and Martin want to avoid using “behavior” to mean “the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”, and prefer to use only “control” for that meaning, I think no one here will disagree. Limiting your definition of “behavior” to observable behavior is not a real problem, but I’d recommend qualifying it as “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs” to avoid misunderstanding.

HB : It was your qualification too. But I think that whatever brhavior means can be only observed or perceived. Is there any other explanation ?

BN : Others here agree with Bill when he said “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data” in the Preface of B:CP, and consequently interpret the title of B:CP as meaning exactly that.

HB : You didn’t explain what does ti mean to you “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”.Can you explain it or anyone of those who beleive it ? What is for you »process of behavior« ? As I said »Behavior as the process« inside of organisms control is »control empty«, but organisms anyway control. Is this what is bodering you ?

BN : The fact that we disagree about these words is not a problem for PCT, because the words do not define PCT. They only attempt to explain it in relatively informal terms.

HB : Well by my oppinion terms do show some extent of how people understand natural phenomena. But I think that it would be better to stay at more precise level, for example diagrams and »defitnions«.

So I think that it’s right to prove with changing diagram and definitions that your different thinking is right. Where do you see for example control in diagram LCS III ? Where do you see »Behavior as the process of control« in Bill’s »definitions« and in diagram (LCS III) ?

Bill changed his mind many times. It’s not a secret, but when he did use physiological evidences in B:CP he was by my oppinion right. And that is all it counts as far as I’m concerned, because it’s coming from the »final arbiter – nature«. All other stuff is phylosophy. When all PCT will bee supported with physiological evidences I beleive there will be no problem with publishing any article anywhere and there will be no problem with using right or wrong words and so on. Nature is the final arbiter. Â

I’ll try aslo in another way »step by step« :

  1.   Do you agree that these »definitions« are right :
    

Bill P.

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 in the immediate environment of the system…
<

MT : “Behaviour”, at least in PCT, is the consequences of the output signal that is distributed eventually to the organism’s environment.

HB :Â Please short answer.

Best,

Boris

···

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 2015 11:00 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.07.08:15 ET)]

Hi, Boris. A basic ground rule of conversation that I would like us to agree to is to assume good will. It causes as much trouble to take offense as it does to give it.

BN : Remember that in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

HB : I don’t recall that we are married and I’m sure not your kid :-). So please let us stay on cultural level of converstaion. I’ll remember whatever I’ll want, and it is your privilege to remember what you want. I could have said to you that i’t’s time that you remember some of Bill’s definitions but I didn’t. So…J.

BN: I apologize for using an idiom that was unfamiliar to you. “Remember” was intended as a referential to a prior mention. In place of “Remember” please substitute an equivalent referential that does not offend you, for example maybe “As I wrote previously”.

BN: You may be unaware that some of your ways of expressing yourself can easily be perceived as abrasive, haughty, belittling, demeaning, and outright insulting. We are all capable of controlling these effects on purpose. We have found through long experience that doing so does not serve the collectively controlled perception of explaining, promoting, and spreading acceptance of PCT. Because I participate in that collective control, and because I control the above basic ground rule of conversation, now especially in light of your appeal to “stay on a cultural level of conversation”, I assume that I am perceiving accidental side effects of your control of English. I hope that you will be equally charitable to us.


BN : Boris, as I said earlier, if you and Martin want to avoid using “behavior” to mean “the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”, and prefer to use only “control” for that meaning, I think no one here will disagree. Limiting your definition of “behavior” to observable behavior is not a real problem, but I’d recommend qualifying it as “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs” to avoid misunderstanding. Others here agree with Bill when he said “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data” in the Preface of B:CP, and consequently interpret the title of B:CP as meaning exactly that. The fact that we disagree about these words is not a problem for PCT, because the words do not define PCT. They only attempt to explain it in relatively informal terms.

BN : I agree with Rick that a precise verbal definition of “behavior” is unimportant. A grasp of the nature of control is what is important. I don’t think it is possible to grasp the nature of control without at least an intuitive grasp of the mathematics.

BN : Bill would have been the first to tell you not to quote his words as though they were holy scripture, or as though they were the Constitutional basis of legalistic definitions. A grasp of the phenomenon of control is what matters. That was always his emphasis, and especially in LCS III and MSoB.

Boris Hartman (Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 1:40 AM)–

HB : it seems odd that you make a final conclusion based on so »ambiguous« opinions about »Behavior is control«.

BN : My ‘final’ conclusion was that the term is ambiguous.

HB : It seems that something is not yet clear about PCT, because there is so much »double« meaning.

BN : PCT is perfectly clear. Language is almost always ambiguous. Understanding the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, is necessary. The words are interpretations of analogic computational processes coupled with cause-and-effect phenomena in the environment. Those environmental phenomena are described mathematically, using the tools of physics and chemistry, as the ‘environmental feedback function’. In a typical PCT simulation, the code for control systems is relatively simple and compact, and the code for the environmental feedback function is long and complex.

HB : If most members will decide that »Behavior is control«, then I have no reason to stay on CSGnet. I could never prove with physiological means that »Behavior is Control« so I have nothing to do hear any more.

BN : No one can prevent you from throwing up your hands impatiently and walking away. Many have done so when they were unable to use words about PCT to control familiar perceptions in familiar ways.

BN : I understand physiology to be the study of living things, especially their parts and organs, as functional physical objects. One definition I see is “The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts; the way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.” Like many specializations of science, physiology will be revolutionized by PCT. Does your interest in physiology mean that this is your field? If so, it would be terrific for you to help bring that revolution about. If not, could you explain why you are so concerned about the physiology of control?

BN : But you can’t investigate control exclusively by physiological means. In most cases, evidence about controlled variables and disturbances does not come from physiology, and the processes of defining and measuring the output quantity and the input quantity generally involves more than the physiology of effectors and sensors. The reference value and error signal are physiological only by inference in most cases because (except for Henry Yin) neuroscientists haven’t developed the perceptual input functions that would enable them to recognize and look for reference signals in e.g. so-called ‘mirror cells’.

BN : I hope it’s unnecessary to say that science proves nothing, and that proof is possible only in tautological systems such as logic and mathematics, whereas science is inherently provisional and open-ended. PCT is a science which demonstrates how organisms control their perceptual inputs by varying their behavioral outputs precisely so as to counteract unpredictable environmental disturbances. It provides a generative model of behavior which is far more accurate than any other proposal, with greater explanatory power, and which promises to far be more comprehensive than any other proposal. Its complete and radical vulnerability to test and verification provides an extraordinarily strong basis for intersubjective agreement. Intersubjective agreement is the definition of objectivity in science. That’s as close as science gets to proving something.

HB : But I strongly advise that you get YIn’s opinion (if he is physiologist) or any opinion of any physiologist to confirm that »Behavior can be control«.

BN : The following is from p. 7 of Henry H. Yin (2014) “How Basal Ganglia Outputs Generate Behavior”, Advances in Neuroscience Volume 2014, Article ID 768313, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/768313 (highlighting added):

The term “control� means that posture stays the same, despite environmental disturbances. The naïve assumption that whatever neural signals are sent to our muscles determine the effects we exert on the environment, that is, observable behavior, was demolished by Bernstein nearly a century ago [47]. Bernstein wrote: “There are no situations in which muscle shortening is the cause of a movement� [48]. The actual effect of the muscular contraction is not the product of our neural output. Behavior can never be equated with the output of the nervous system, because it is the joint product of unknown environmental influences and neural signals. To the motor neurons producing muscle contraction, even fatigue or slight changes in the properties of the muscles can become a major source of disturbance. Consequently, a measure of muscle contraction (e.g., electromyography) can never define the actual behavior or the posture. That the output does not equal behavior raises the question of how the neural output can be adjusted as unknown and unpredictable disturbances vary. This is the “calculation problem,� the key problem that the nervous system must solve [49].

HB : My other arguments why it’s not good to keep the definiton »Behavior is Control« are :

HB : 1. First I think that introducing »Behavior is Control« into PCT, PCT becomes cheap »self-regulation« theory, where »Behavior is Control« is mantra. Please read Mary Powers about PCT and »self-regulation«.

BN : I do not see how that is a necessary consequence. Anyone who comes to understand control will not make that mistake. Mary’s comment was about people who did not understand control. People who don’t understand control will make their perceptions of our words about PCT consistent with their words about whatever ideas they have learned. If they understand the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, they will not be able to fit PCT into their preconceived ideas. The result, often, is that they run away so as to avoid perceiving a change to cherished ideas as a threat to their reputation and livelihood.

HB : 2. I see also a problem in interpreting everyday activites. Do we eat, drink, drive, walk, etc… with »Controlling our hands, legs…« ?

BN : At the lower levels of the hierarchy, to accomplish such activities we control perceptions such as arm, leg, and finger joint angles, by means of controlling lower-level perceptions down to intensity signals from tendon tension sensors and skin pressure sensors.

BN : Saying “Behavior is control of perception” does not imply that we control our behavioral outputs. Quite the opposite. On the other hand, whenever we can perceive our behavioral outputs as such, we are capable of controlling those perceptions. An example is dancers practicing while perceiving their behavioral outputs by means of a mirror and controlling a perception of conformity to their perception of the teacher’s behavioral outputs.

HB : 3. I think that »Behavior« can’t be “Control”, because we don’t know what is “behavior”. At the best shot we know what is “Perception of behavior (output)”. All is perception. In this case “Perception of behavior can be controlled”, as Martin mentioned many times. It depends from observer in whatever view we take perception (internal or external view). It’s subjective. That’s how individuals make their own interpretation of behavior, what depends on their references. If you and Rick observe behavior you will say that it is “control”. If I observe it I would say that “Behavior” just affect environment, makes changes to my perception. People who do not know anything about Control Theory, would probably make interpretations of their own perceptions in whatever they believe what is happening.

BN : There are at least three issues here.

  • First, if we don’t know what “behavior as control” is because all we have is perceptions, the same objection applies “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs”. As the word “observed” implies, those are perceptions too.
  • Second, individuals recognize only those perceptions for which they have developed the necessary perceptual input functions, which they control according to reference values that their control hierarchy has established. They will do this regardless of how “behavior” is defined, and until they develop the necessary perceptual input functions and reference values they are liable to be obtuse about PCT.
  • Third, lurking behind this is the notion of objectivity. The definition of objectivity in science is intersubjective agreement. Scientific method aims to provide a well-defined and principled basis for intersubjective agreement. The Test for the controlled variable (TCV) establishes intersubjective agreement between the investigator and the observed organism. “Behavior” as observed activity is a subjective perception. Defined as control of perceptual input, and specified by means of the TCV, it is objective; that is, it is a matter of intersubjective agreement in the best spirit of science.

HB : 4. In any of Bill’s “definitions” I exposed in my previous post, I can’t see that “behavior” could be any kind of control or that “behavior” is involving control. So if you put in definition that “Behavior is Control” or at least that “involves control”, you’ll have to change at least some “definitions”. But would Powers ladies agree with this ? Wouldn’t it be better that we left “definitions” as they are, but you and Rick make your own theory based on “Behavior is Control”.

BN : Bill used the word “behavior” in both senses. (You have provided quotations for one sense, I have provided quotations for both senses.) The word “behavior”, like practically everything in language, is ambiguous. Fortunately, most of the time we have means to eliminate inappropriate meanings. These means are a special case of the general phenomenon of collective control.

HB : Considering your and Rick’s statements also Bill’s generic diagram has to be changed, because you’ll want to put in the generic diagram “CV” in the external environment which is “controlled” by behavior.

BN : Some years ago, Martin introduced the term “environmental controlled variable” or ECV for the variable in the environment. The ECV is perceived by the observer as well as by the subject. In designing and running the Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV), the observer is controlling an imagined perception of how the subject perceives the ECV. Success with the TCV enables the observer to devise a measurement of the state of the ECV, as perceived from the point of view of the subject. That measurement is taken to represent the input quantity qi. A transform of qi is taken to represent the perceptual signal p. If the actual firing rate in the relevant nerve bundle were to be measured, then we could reverse-engineer the transformation from qi to p that is performed by the sensory organ and the perceptual input function. This level of physiological detail is not necessary at this stage. The transform function on the output side (the output function) is symmetrical with that on the input side, for obvious reasons.

BN : I imagine my saying that “the physiological detail is not necessary” is a disturbance to a perception that you are controlling, as represented in your words:

HB : The most important problem I see, is that it can’t be proved with physiological means. So again I appeal that you provide physiological evidences for »Behavior is Control«.

BN : I commented on this above.

BN (2015.11.03.13:24 ET): Boris, which part of a “generic PCT diagram” is labeled “behavior”?

HB : I think that »behavior« can be only »observed behavior«.

BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”. In the Preface to B:CP, Bill wrote “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.” There is no contradiction. Observed behavior is that aspect of behavior (“the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”) which can be observed. It is limited to observable behavioral output; even more, it is limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

BN : In addition to observable behavioral outputs, several other parts of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data may be directly observed by an outsider. Two of them are prominent, others are less obvious.

BN : One obvious observable part of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data is the disturbance or disturbances. In the “behavioral illusion”, the disturbance is taken to be a stimulus and the observable behavior is taken to be a response. As you and I and the rest of us here know, numerous PCT demonstrations show that the disturbance typically is not perceived at all, even though the behavioral outputs counter it almost perfectly. But if we say that “behavior” means only the observable behavioral outputs, outsiders will assume that we are talking about responses to stimuli.

BN : The other obvious observable part of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data is the input quantity. This cannot be measured without first succeeding with the Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV). The TCV identifies the input sensory organ and the aspect of the environment that is affected simultaneously by the output quantity and by the disturbance.

BN : In an exactly parallel fashion, only one part of the observable behavior is relevant to the process by which organisms control their input sensory data, namely, that part of the observable behavior which influences the state of the input sensory data, represented by the variables qi and p. Like the input quantity, this output quantity qo cannot be measured without first succeeding with the TCV.

BN : Other aspects of observable behavior may create side effects that were not intended. I think you agree that behavior as purposeful, however it is defined. Unintended side effects may disturb control of other perceptions (control by the same organism or by another), but they are not part of “behavior” as defined by the generic PCT control loop diagram, even though they are observable behavioral actions.

BN : Less obvious observable parts of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data include the physiology of sensory input organs and the physiology of effectors that produce observable behavioral outputs. Muscles aren’t the only effectors. Many sensors and effectors are situated where their inputs and outputs are not easy to observe directly, such as, for example, glands in the endocrine system.

BN : … in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

HB : The problem is how you understand involvement of process of »behavior« into organisms control. If you’d understand some physiology you could also understand that »observed behavior« or »physical output action« is »control empty«. It’s just affecting environment. See Bill’s definition and Martin’s opinion.

BN : Yes, if you observe behavioral actions in the environment without understanding how they are part of the process of controlling perceptual input, it is impossible to make sense of them. This is why behavioral scientists have for so many years resorted to statistical measures over populations of instances of behavior and populations of behaving individuals.

BN: I believe I do understand the contribution of behavioral outputs to a control loop closed through the environment. Probably all of us here do. It seems odd to have you trying to lecture us about it. Taken by themselves, without considering the role they play in control, all you can say is that the outputs affect the environment. PCT is concerned with the reasons that the effect on a particular perceived feature of the environment almost exactly cancels out unpredictable other effects on that perceived feature. If you talk about behavioral actions divorced from control, you no longer are talking about PCT.

BN : When a “generic PCT diagram” is located within the hierarchy, what part of it is labeled “behavior”?

BN : I did not ask this question clearly enough. Please refer to Figure 6.1 on p. 71 of B:CP (2005 edition). At the top is the comparator of a relationship control loop. Its output function is labeled “Error-to-position”. Should it be labeled “behavior”? If so, what is the behavior? If not, is “behavior” (observable behavior) limited to the lowest output function, labeled “muscles”? Or, since it is observable, shouldn’t that label “behavior” (observable behavior) be limited to the place in the environment where we see the word “Force”? If not, why not? And in that case, why are none of the higher-level output functions labeled “behavior”?

/Bruce

Bruce,

Sorry to contact you again. I’m confused. You can see it also through what I wrote to Rick. Your post this time is more than I thought at first reading. I read it again.  I wasn’t concentrated enough at first reading and I missed some »meanings«. You told much more than I thought at first (very fast) reading. As you said. We all make mistakes J. So I’ll try once more in next days. But you can answer my »obscure« post if you want. Please accept my appologie.

Best,

Boris

···

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 2015 11:00 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.07.08:15 ET)]

Hi, Boris. A basic ground rule of conversation that I would like us to agree to is to assume good will. It causes as much trouble to take offense as it does to give it.

BN : Remember that in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

HB : I don’t recall that we are married and I’m sure not your kid :-). So please let us stay on cultural level of converstaion. I’ll remember whatever I’ll want, and it is your privilege to remember what you want. I could have said to you that i’t’s time that you remember some of Bill’s definitions but I didn’t. So…J.

BN: I apologize for using an idiom that was unfamiliar to you. “Remember” was intended as a referential to a prior mention. In place of “Remember” please substitute an equivalent referential that does not offend you, for example maybe “As I wrote previously”.

BN: You may be unaware that some of your ways of expressing yourself can easily be perceived as abrasive, haughty, belittling, demeaning, and outright insulting. We are all capable of controlling these effects on purpose. We have found through long experience that doing so does not serve the collectively controlled perception of explaining, promoting, and spreading acceptance of PCT. Because I participate in that collective control, and because I control the above basic ground rule of conversation, now especially in light of your appeal to “stay on a cultural level of conversation”, I assume that I am perceiving accidental side effects of your control of English. I hope that you will be equally charitable to us.


BN : Boris, as I said earlier, if you and Martin want to avoid using “behavior” to mean “the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”, and prefer to use only “control” for that meaning, I think no one here will disagree. Limiting your definition of “behavior” to observable behavior is not a real problem, but I’d recommend qualifying it as “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs” to avoid misunderstanding. Others here agree with Bill when he said “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data” in the Preface of B:CP, and consequently interpret the title of B:CP as meaning exactly that. The fact that we disagree about these words is not a problem for PCT, because the words do not define PCT. They only attempt to explain it in relatively informal terms.

BN : I agree with Rick that a precise verbal definition of “behavior” is unimportant. A grasp of the nature of control is what is important. I don’t think it is possible to grasp the nature of control without at least an intuitive grasp of the mathematics.

BN : Bill would have been the first to tell you not to quote his words as though they were holy scripture, or as though they were the Constitutional basis of legalistic definitions. A grasp of the phenomenon of control is what matters. That was always his emphasis, and especially in LCS III and MSoB.

Boris Hartman (Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 1:40 AM)–

HB : it seems odd that you make a final conclusion based on so »ambiguous« opinions about »Behavior is control«.

BN : My ‘final’ conclusion was that the term is ambiguous.

HB : It seems that something is not yet clear about PCT, because there is so much »double« meaning.

BN : PCT is perfectly clear. Language is almost always ambiguous. Understanding the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, is necessary. The words are interpretations of analogic computational processes coupled with cause-and-effect phenomena in the environment. Those environmental phenomena are described mathematically, using the tools of physics and chemistry, as the ‘environmental feedback function’. In a typical PCT simulation, the code for control systems is relatively simple and compact, and the code for the environmental feedback function is long and complex.

HB : If most members will decide that »Behavior is control«, then I have no reason to stay on CSGnet. I could never prove with physiological means that »Behavior is Control« so I have nothing to do hear any more.

BN : No one can prevent you from throwing up your hands impatiently and walking away. Many have done so when they were unable to use words about PCT to control familiar perceptions in familiar ways.

BN : I understand physiology to be the study of living things, especially their parts and organs, as functional physical objects. One definition I see is “The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts; the way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.” Like many specializations of science, physiology will be revolutionized by PCT. Does your interest in physiology mean that this is your field? If so, it would be terrific for you to help bring that revolution about. If not, could you explain why you are so concerned about the physiology of control?

BN : But you can’t investigate control exclusively by physiological means. In most cases, evidence about controlled variables and disturbances does not come from physiology, and the processes of defining and measuring the output quantity and the input quantity generally involves more than the physiology of effectors and sensors. The reference value and error signal are physiological only by inference in most cases because (except for Henry Yin) neuroscientists haven’t developed the perceptual input functions that would enable them to recognize and look for reference signals in e.g. so-called ‘mirror cells’.

BN : I hope it’s unnecessary to say that science proves nothing, and that proof is possible only in tautological systems such as logic and mathematics, whereas science is inherently provisional and open-ended. PCT is a science which demonstrates how organisms control their perceptual inputs by varying their behavioral outputs precisely so as to counteract unpredictable environmental disturbances. It provides a generative model of behavior which is far more accurate than any other proposal, with greater explanatory power, and which promises to far be more comprehensive than any other proposal. Its complete and radical vulnerability to test and verification provides an extraordinarily strong basis for intersubjective agreement. Intersubjective agreement is the definition of objectivity in science. That’s as close as science gets to proving something.

HB : But I strongly advise that you get YIn’s opinion (if he is physiologist) or any opinion of any physiologist to confirm that »Behavior can be control«.

BN : The following is from p. 7 of Henry H. Yin (2014) “How Basal Ganglia Outputs Generate Behavior”, Advances in Neuroscience Volume 2014, Article ID 768313, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/768313 (highlighting added):

The term “control� means that posture stays the same, despite environmental disturbances. The naïve assumption that whatever neural signals are sent to our muscles determine the effects we exert on the environment, that is, observable behavior, was demolished by Bernstein nearly a century ago [47]. Bernstein wrote: “There are no situations in which muscle shortening is the cause of a movement� [48]. The actual effect of the muscular contraction is not the product of our neural output. Behavior can never be equated with the output of the nervous system, because it is the joint product of unknown environmental influences and neural signals. To the motor neurons producing muscle contraction, even fatigue or slight changes in the properties of the muscles can become a major source of disturbance. Consequently, a measure of muscle contraction (e.g., electromyography) can never define the actual behavior or the posture. That the output does not equal behavior raises the question of how the neural output can be adjusted as unknown and unpredictable disturbances vary. This is the “calculation problem,� the key problem that the nervous system must solve [49].

HB : My other arguments why it’s not good to keep the definiton »Behavior is Control« are :

HB : 1. First I think that introducing »Behavior is Control« into PCT, PCT becomes cheap »self-regulation« theory, where »Behavior is Control« is mantra. Please read Mary Powers about PCT and »self-regulation«.

BN : I do not see how that is a necessary consequence. Anyone who comes to understand control will not make that mistake. Mary’s comment was about people who did not understand control. People who don’t understand control will make their perceptions of our words about PCT consistent with their words about whatever ideas they have learned. If they understand the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, they will not be able to fit PCT into their preconceived ideas. The result, often, is that they run away so as to avoid perceiving a change to cherished ideas as a threat to their reputation and livelihood.

HB : 2. I see also a problem in interpreting everyday activites. Do we eat, drink, drive, walk, etc… with »Controlling our hands, legs…« ?

BN : At the lower levels of the hierarchy, to accomplish such activities we control perceptions such as arm, leg, and finger joint angles, by means of controlling lower-level perceptions down to intensity signals from tendon tension sensors and skin pressure sensors.

BN : Saying “Behavior is control of perception” does not imply that we control our behavioral outputs. Quite the opposite. On the other hand, whenever we can perceive our behavioral outputs as such, we are capable of controlling those perceptions. An example is dancers practicing while perceiving their behavioral outputs by means of a mirror and controlling a perception of conformity to their perception of the teacher’s behavioral outputs.

HB : 3. I think that »Behavior« can’t be “Control”, because we don’t know what is “behavior”. At the best shot we know what is “Perception of behavior (output)”. All is perception. In this case “Perception of behavior can be controlled”, as Martin mentioned many times. It depends from observer in whatever view we take perception (internal or external view). It’s subjective. That’s how individuals make their own interpretation of behavior, what depends on their references. If you and Rick observe behavior you will say that it is “control”. If I observe it I would say that “Behavior” just affect environment, makes changes to my perception. People who do not know anything about Control Theory, would probably make interpretations of their own perceptions in whatever they believe what is happening.

BN : There are at least three issues here.

  • First, if we don’t know what “behavior as control” is because all we have is perceptions, the same objection applies “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs”. As the word “observed” implies, those are perceptions too.
  • Second, individuals recognize only those perceptions for which they have developed the necessary perceptual input functions, which they control according to reference values that their control hierarchy has established. They will do this regardless of how “behavior” is defined, and until they develop the necessary perceptual input functions and reference values they are liable to be obtuse about PCT.
  • Third, lurking behind this is the notion of objectivity. The definition of objectivity in science is intersubjective agreement. Scientific method aims to provide a well-defined and principled basis for intersubjective agreement. The Test for the controlled variable (TCV) establishes intersubjective agreement between the investigator and the observed organism. “Behavior” as observed activity is a subjective perception. Defined as control of perceptual input, and specified by means of the TCV, it is objective; that is, it is a matter of intersubjective agreement in the best spirit of science.

HB : 4. In any of Bill’s “definitions” I exposed in my previous post, I can’t see that “behavior” could be any kind of control or that “behavior” is involving control. So if you put in definition that “Behavior is Control” or at least that “involves control”, you’ll have to change at least some “definitions”. But would Powers ladies agree with this ? Wouldn’t it be better that we left “definitions” as they are, but you and Rick make your own theory based on “Behavior is Control”.

BN : Bill used the word “behavior” in both senses. (You have provided quotations for one sense, I have provided quotations for both senses.) The word “behavior”, like practically everything in language, is ambiguous. Fortunately, most of the time we have means to eliminate inappropriate meanings. These means are a special case of the general phenomenon of collective control.

HB : Considering your and Rick’s statements also Bill’s generic diagram has to be changed, because you’ll want to put in the generic diagram “CV” in the external environment which is “controlled” by behavior.

BN : Some years ago, Martin introduced the term “environmental controlled variable” or ECV for the variable in the environment. The ECV is perceived by the observer as well as by the subject. In designing and running the Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV), the observer is controlling an imagined perception of how the subject perceives the ECV. Success with the TCV enables the observer to devise a measurement of the state of the ECV, as perceived from the point of view of the subject. That measurement is taken to represent the input quantity qi. A transform of qi is taken to represent the perceptual signal p. If the actual firing rate in the relevant nerve bundle were to be measured, then we could reverse-engineer the transformation from qi to p that is performed by the sensory organ and the perceptual input function. This level of physiological detail is not necessary at this stage. The transform function on the output side (the output function) is symmetrical with that on the input side, for obvious reasons.

BN : I imagine my saying that “the physiological detail is not necessary” is a disturbance to a perception that you are controlling, as represented in your words:

HB : The most important problem I see, is that it can’t be proved with physiological means. So again I appeal that you provide physiological evidences for »Behavior is Control«.

BN : I commented on this above.

BN (2015.11.03.13:24 ET): Boris, which part of a “generic PCT diagram” is labeled “behavior”?

HB : I think that »behavior« can be only »observed behavior«.

BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”. In the Preface to B:CP, Bill wrote “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.” There is no contradiction. Observed behavior is that aspect of behavior (“the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”) which can be observed. It is limited to observable behavioral output; even more, it is limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

BN : In addition to observable behavioral outputs, several other parts of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data may be directly observed by an outsider. Two of them are prominent, others are less obvious.

BN : One obvious observable part of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data is the disturbance or disturbances. In the “behavioral illusion”, the disturbance is taken to be a stimulus and the observable behavior is taken to be a response. As you and I and the rest of us here know, numerous PCT demonstrations show that the disturbance typically is not perceived at all, even though the behavioral outputs counter it almost perfectly. But if we say that “behavior” means only the observable behavioral outputs, outsiders will assume that we are talking about responses to stimuli.

BN : The other obvious observable part of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data is the input quantity. This cannot be measured without first succeeding with the Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV). The TCV identifies the input sensory organ and the aspect of the environment that is affected simultaneously by the output quantity and by the disturbance.

BN : In an exactly parallel fashion, only one part of the observable behavior is relevant to the process by which organisms control their input sensory data, namely, that part of the observable behavior which influences the state of the input sensory data, represented by the variables qi and p. Like the input quantity, this output quantity qo cannot be measured without first succeeding with the TCV.

BN : Other aspects of observable behavior may create side effects that were not intended. I think you agree that behavior as purposeful, however it is defined. Unintended side effects may disturb control of other perceptions (control by the same organism or by another), but they are not part of “behavior” as defined by the generic PCT control loop diagram, even though they are observable behavioral actions.

BN : Less obvious observable parts of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data include the physiology of sensory input organs and the physiology of effectors that produce observable behavioral outputs. Muscles aren’t the only effectors. Many sensors and effectors are situated where their inputs and outputs are not easy to observe directly, such as, for example, glands in the endocrine system.

BN : … in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

HB : The problem is how you understand involvement of process of »behavior« into organisms control. If you’d understand some physiology you could also understand that »observed behavior« or »physical output action« is »control empty«. It’s just affecting environment. See Bill’s definition and Martin’s opinion.

BN : Yes, if you observe behavioral actions in the environment without understanding how they are part of the process of controlling perceptual input, it is impossible to make sense of them. This is why behavioral scientists have for so many years resorted to statistical measures over populations of instances of behavior and populations of behaving individuals.

BN: I believe I do understand the contribution of behavioral outputs to a control loop closed through the environment. Probably all of us here do. It seems odd to have you trying to lecture us about it. Taken by themselves, without considering the role they play in control, all you can say is that the outputs affect the environment. PCT is concerned with the reasons that the effect on a particular perceived feature of the environment almost exactly cancels out unpredictable other effects on that perceived feature. If you talk about behavioral actions divorced from control, you no longer are talking about PCT.

BN : When a “generic PCT diagram” is located within the hierarchy, what part of it is labeled “behavior”?

BN : I did not ask this question clearly enough. Please refer to Figure 6.1 on p. 71 of B:CP (2005 edition). At the top is the comparator of a relationship control loop. Its output function is labeled “Error-to-position”. Should it be labeled “behavior”? If so, what is the behavior? If not, is “behavior” (observable behavior) limited to the lowest output function, labeled “muscles”? Or, since it is observable, shouldn’t that label “behavior” (observable behavior) be limited to the place in the environment where we see the word “Force”? If not, why not? And in that case, why are none of the higher-level output functions labeled “behavior”?

/Bruce

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.08.1230)]

···

RM: But I don’t think we agree about what he meant by this. I think most of those who agree with this think that Bill was saying that the term “behavior” refers only to what are called “outputs” in a control diagram. But I don’t think this could possibly be what he meant because we refer to the controlled consequences of these outputs as “behavior” as well. Indeed, most of what we see as “outputs” are also controlled consequences of other outputs. For example, in Fred’s “hammering a nail example” you might say that Fred’s “behavior” was just the output-- the hammer swing – that brings the nail to flush (or, that brings the perception of the nail to flush, mixing observation and theory as often seems to be people’s wont). But the hammer swing is itself a controlled consequence of muscle forces. So the muscle swing is not just an output, it is also a controlled consequence of other outputs – a controlled variable – being kept in a reference state by appropriate variations in muscle forces throughout the swing.

RM: So saying that “behavior” only refers to “output” conceals the fact that you are still talking about behavior as control. The “hammer swing” behavior is a control phenomenon as much as is the “hammering the nail” behavior: For the hammer swing (as for hammering the nail) there is a controlled variable (the path of the hammer head), a reference state for that variable (arc toward the nail head), a means of keeping this variable in the reference state (muscle forces) and disturbances (such as variations in the angle of the swing arm relative to the shoulder).

RM: So my take on what Bill meant by “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data” is “Behavior is control and it is explained by a negative feedback process that controls sensory (perceptual) inputs relative to internal reference specifications for the state of these inputs”.

Best

Rick


Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Bruce Nevin (2015.11.07.08:15 ET)–

BN : Others here agree with Bill when he said “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data” in the Preface of B:CP, and consequently interpret the title of B:CP as meaning exactly that.

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.12.08:)]

Boris Hartman (Sun, Nov 8, 2015 at 11:27 AM) –

Sorry to contact you again. I’m confused. You can see it also through what I wrote to Rick. Your post this time is more than I thought at first reading. I read it again. I wasn’t concentrated enough at first reading and I missed some »meanings«. You told much more than I thought at first (very fast) reading. As you said. We all make mistakes J. So I’ll try once more in next days. But you can answer my »obscure« post if you want. Please accept my appologie.

Apology accepted with no difficulty whatsoever. :slight_smile: This happens a lot. People understand too quickly. The brain needs time to develop perceptual input functions for new ‘concepts’, to build appropriate input/output connections with other perceptual input functions in their hierarchy, and to make the necessary changes so that perceptual signals retrieved from memory as reference signals (which can become imagined perceptual input) are consistent with the new learnings.

···

On Sun, Nov 8, 2015 at 11:27 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Bruce,

Â

Sorry to contact you again. I’m confused. You can see it also through what I wrote to Rick. Your post this time is more than I thought at first reading. I read it again. I wasn’t concentrated enough at first reading and I missed some »meanings«. You told much more than I thought at first (very fast) reading. As you said. We all make mistakes J. So I’ll try once more in next days. But you can answer my »obscure« post if you want. Please accept my appologie.

Â

Best,

Â

Boris

Â

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 2015 11:00 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

Â

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.07.08:15 ET)]

Â

Hi, Boris. A basic ground rule of conversation that I would like us to agree to is to assume good will. It causes as much trouble to take offense as it does to give it.Â

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BN : Remember that in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

Â

HB : I don’t recall that we are married and I’m sure not your kid :-). So please let us stay on cultural level of converstaion. I’ll remember whatever I’ll want, and it is your privilege to remember what you want. I could have said to you that i’t’s time that you remember some of Bill’s definitions but I didn’t. So…J.

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BN: I apologize for using an idiom that was unfamiliar to you. “Remember” was intended as a referential to a prior mention. In place of “Remember” please substitute an equivalent referential that does not offend you, for example maybe “As I wrote previously”.Â

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BN: You may be unaware that some of your ways of expressing yourself can easily be perceived as abrasive, haughty, belittling, demeaning, and outright insulting. We are all capable of controlling these effects on purpose. We have found through long experience that doing so does not serve the collectively controlled perception of explaining, promoting, and spreading acceptance of PCT. Because I participate in that collective control, and because I control the above basic ground rule of conversation, now especially in light of your appeal to “stay on a cultural level of conversation”, I assume that I am perceiving accidental side effects of your control of English. I hope that you will be equally charitable to us.Â


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BN : Boris, as I said earlier, if you and Martin want to avoid using “behavior” to mean “the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”, and prefer to use only “control” for that meaning, I think no one here will disagree. Limiting your definition of “behavior” to observable behavior is not a real problem, but I’d recommend qualifying it as “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs” to avoid misunderstanding. Others here agree with Bill when he said “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data” in the Preface of B:CP, and consequently interpret the title of B:CP as meaning exactly that. The fact that we disagree about these words is not a problem for PCT, because the words do not define PCT. They only attempt to explain it in relatively informal terms.

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BN : I agree with Rick that a precise verbal definition of “behavior” is unimportant. A grasp of the nature of control is what is important. I don’t think it is possible to grasp the nature of control without at least an intuitive grasp of the mathematics.Â

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BN : Bill would have been the first to tell you not to quote his words as though they were holy scripture, or as though they were the Constitutional basis of legalistic definitions. A grasp of the phenomenon of control is what matters. That was always his emphasis, and especially in LCS III and MSoB.

Â

Boris Hartman (Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 1:40 AM)–

Â

HB : it seems odd that you make a final conclusion based on so »ambiguous« opinions about »Behavior is control«.Â

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BN : My ‘final’ conclusion was that the term is ambiguous.

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HB : It seems that something is not yet clear about PCT, because there is so much »double« meaning.

Â

BN : PCT is perfectly clear. Language is almost always ambiguous. Understanding the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, is necessary. The words are interpretations of analogic computational processes coupled with cause-and-effect phenomena in the environment. Those environmental phenomena are described mathematically, using the tools of physics and chemistry, as the ‘environmental feedback function’. In a typical PCT simulation, the code for control systems is relatively simple and compact, and the code for the environmental feedback function is long and complex.

Â

HB :  If most members will decide that »Behavior is control«, then I have no reason to stay on CSGnet. I could never prove with physiological means that »Behavior is Control« so I have nothing to do hear any more.Â

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BN : No one can prevent you from throwing up your hands impatiently and walking away. Many have done so when they were unable to use words about PCT to control familiar perceptions in familiar ways.

Â

BN : I understand physiology to be the study of living things, especially their parts and organs, as functional physical objects. One definition I see is “The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts; the way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.” Like many specializations of science, physiology will be revolutionized by PCT. Does your interest in physiology mean that this is your field? If so, it would be terrific for you to help bring that revolution about. If not, could you explain why you are so concerned about the physiology of control? Â

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BN : But you can’t investigate control exclusively by physiological means. In most cases, evidence about controlled variables and disturbances does not come from physiology, and the processes of defining and measuring the output quantity and the input quantity generally involves more than the physiology of effectors and sensors. The reference value and error signal are physiological only by inference in most cases because (except for Henry Yin) neuroscientists haven’t developed the perceptual input functions that would enable them to recognize and look for reference signals in e.g. so-called ‘mirror cells’.Â

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BN : I hope it’s unnecessary to say that science proves nothing, and that proof is possible only in tautological systems such as logic and mathematics, whereas science is inherently provisional and open-ended. PCT is a science which demonstrates how organisms control their perceptual inputs by varying their behavioral outputs precisely so as to counteract unpredictable environmental disturbances. It provides a generative model of behavior which is far more accurate than any other proposal, with greater explanatory power, and which promises to far be more comprehensive than any other proposal. Its complete and radical vulnerability to test and verification provides an extraordinarily strong basis for intersubjective agreement. Intersubjective agreement is the definition of objectivity in science. That’s as close as science gets to proving something.

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HB : But I strongly advise that you get YIn’s opinion (if he is physiologist) or any opinion of any physiologist to confirm  that »Behavior can be control«.

Â

BN : The following is from p. 7 of Henry H. Yin (2014) “How Basal Ganglia Outputs Generate Behavior”, Advances in Neuroscience Volume 2014, Article ID 768313, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/768313 (highlighting added):

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The term “control� means that posture stays the same, despite environmental disturbances. The naïve assumption that whatever neural signals are sent to our muscles determine the effects we exert on the environment, that is, observable behavior, was demolished by Bernstein nearly a century ago [47]. Bernstein wrote: “There are no situations in which muscle shortening is the cause of a movement� [48]. The actual effect of the muscular contraction is not the product of our neural output. Behavior can never be equated with the output of the nervous system, because it is the joint product of unknown environmental influences and neural signals. To the motor neurons producing muscle contraction, even fatigue or slight changes in the properties of the muscles can become a major source of disturbance. Consequently, a measure of muscle contraction (e.g., electromyography) can never define the actual behavior or the posture. That the output does not equal behavior raises the question of how the neural output can be adjusted as unknown and unpredictable disturbances vary. This is the “calculation problem,� the key problem that the nervous system must solve [49].

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HB : My other arguments why it’s not good to keep the definiton »Behavior is Control«  are :

Â

HB : 1.    First I think that introducing »Behavior is Control« into PCT, PCT becomes cheap »self-regulation« theory, where »Behavior is Control« is mantra. Please read Mary Powers about PCT and »self-regulation«.Â

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BN : I do not see how that is a necessary consequence. Anyone who comes to understand control will not make that mistake. Mary’s comment was about people who did not understand control. People who don’t understand control will make their perceptions of our words about PCT consistent with their words about whatever ideas they have learned. If they understand the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, they will not be able to fit PCT into their preconceived ideas. The result, often, is that they run away so as to avoid perceiving a change to cherished ideas as a threat to their reputation and livelihood.

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HB : 2.    I see also  a problem in interpreting everyday activites. Do we eat, drink, drive, walk, etc… with »Controlling our hands, legs…« ?

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BN : At the lower levels of the hierarchy, to accomplish such activities we control perceptions such as arm, leg, and finger joint angles, by means of controlling lower-level perceptions down to intensity signals from tendon tension sensors and skin pressure sensors. Â

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BN : Saying “Behavior is control of perception” does not imply that we control our behavioral outputs. Quite the opposite. On the other hand, whenever we can perceive our behavioral outputs as such, we are capable of controlling those perceptions. An example is dancers practicing while perceiving their behavioral outputs by means of a mirror and controlling a perception of conformity to their perception of the teacher’s behavioral outputs.

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HB : 3.    I think that »Behavior« can’t be “Control”, because we don’t know what is “behavior”. At the best shot we know what is “Perception of behavior (output)”. All is perception. In this case “Perception of behavior can be controlled”, as Martin mentioned many times. It depends from observer in whatever view we take perception (internal or external view). It’s subjective. That’s how individuals make their own interpretation of behavior, what depends on their references. If you and Rick observe behavior you will say that it is “control”. If I observe it I would say that “Behavior” just affect environment, makes changes to my perception. People who do not know anything about Control Theory, would probably make interpretations of their own perceptions in whatever they believe what is happening.

Â

BN : There are at least three issues here.Â

  • First, if we don’t know what “behavior as control” is because all we have is perceptions, the same objection applies “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs”. As the word “observed” implies, those are perceptions too.Â
  • Second, individuals recognize only those perceptions for which they have developed the necessary perceptual input functions, which they control according to reference values that their control hierarchy has established. They will do this regardless of how “behavior” is defined, and until they develop the necessary perceptual input functions and reference values they are liable to be obtuse about PCT.Â
  • Third, lurking behind this is the notion of objectivity. The definition of objectivity in science is intersubjective agreement. Scientific method aims to provide a well-defined and principled basis for intersubjective agreement. The Test for the controlled variable (TCV) establishes intersubjective agreement between the investigator and the observed organism. “Behavior” as observed activity is a subjective perception. Defined as control of perceptual input, and specified by means of the TCV, it is objective; that is, it is a matter of intersubjective agreement in the best spirit of science.

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HB : 4.    In any of Bill’s “definitions” I exposed in my previous post, I can’t see that “behavior” could be any kind of control or that “behavior” is involving control. So if you put in definition that “Behavior is Control” or at least that “involves control”, you’ll have to change at least some “definitions”. But would Powers ladies agree with this ? Wouldn’t it be better that we left “definitions” as they are, but you and Rick make your own theory based on “Behavior is Control”.

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BN : Bill used the word “behavior” in both senses. (You have provided quotations for one sense, I have provided quotations for both senses.) The word “behavior”, like practically everything in language, is ambiguous. Fortunately, most of the time we have means to eliminate inappropriate meanings. These means are a special case of the general phenomenon of collective control.

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HB : Considering your and Rick’s statements also Bill’s generic diagram has to be changed, because you’ll want to put in the generic diagram “CV” in the external environment which is “controlled” by behavior. Â

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BN : Some years ago, Martin introduced the term “environmental controlled variable” or ECV for the variable in the environment. The ECV is perceived by the observer as well as by the subject. In designing and running the Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV), the observer is controlling an imagined perception of how the subject perceives the ECV. Success with the TCV enables the observer to devise a measurement of the state of the ECV, as perceived from the point of view of the subject. That measurement is taken to represent the input quantity qi. A transform of qi is taken to represent the perceptual signal p. If the actual firing rate in the relevant nerve bundle were to be measured, then we could reverse-engineer the transformation from qi to p that is performed by the sensory organ and the perceptual input function. This level of physiological detail is not necessary at this stage. The transform function on the output side (the output function) is symmetrical with that on the input side, for obvious reasons.

Â

BN : I imagine my saying that “the physiological detail is not necessary” is a disturbance to a perception that you are controlling, as represented in your words:

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HB : The most important problem I see, is that it can’t be proved with physiological means. So again I appeal that you provide physiological evidences for »Behavior is Control«.

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BN : I commented on this above.

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BN (2015.11.03.13:24 ET): Boris, which part of a “generic PCT diagram” is labeled “behavior”?

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HB : I think that »behavior« can be only »observed behavior«.

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BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”. In the Preface to B:CP, Bill wrote “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.” There is no contradiction. Observed behavior is that aspect of behavior (“the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”) which can be observed. It is limited to observable behavioral output; even more, it is limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

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BN : In addition to observable behavioral outputs, several other parts of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data may be directly observed by an outsider. Two of them are prominent, others are less obvious.Â

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BN : One obvious observable part of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data is the disturbance or disturbances. In the “behavioral illusion”, the disturbance is taken to be a stimulus and the observable behavior is taken to be a response. As you and I and the rest of us here know, numerous PCT demonstrations show that the disturbance typically is not perceived at all, even though the behavioral outputs counter it almost perfectly. But if we say that “behavior” means only the observable behavioral outputs, outsiders will assume that we are talking about responses to stimuli.Â

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BN : The other obvious observable part of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data is the input quantity. This cannot be measured without first succeeding with the Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV). The TCV identifies the input sensory organ and the aspect of the environment that is affected simultaneously by the output quantity and by the disturbance.

Â

BN : In an exactly parallel fashion, only one part of the observable behavior is relevant to the process by which organisms control their input sensory data, namely, that part of the observable behavior which influences the state of the input sensory data, represented by the variables qi and p. Like the input quantity, this output quantity qo cannot be measured without first succeeding with the TCV.Â

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BN : Other aspects of observable behavior may create side effects that were not intended. I think you agree that behavior as purposeful, however it is defined. Unintended side effects may disturb control of other perceptions (control by the same organism or by another), but they are not part of “behavior” as defined by the generic PCT control loop diagram, even though they are observable behavioral actions.

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BN : Less obvious observable parts of the process by which organisms control their input sensory data include the physiology of sensory input organs and the physiology of effectors that produce observable behavioral outputs. Muscles aren’t the only effectors. Many sensors and effectors are situated where their inputs and outputs are not easy to observe directly, such as, for example, glands in the endocrine system.

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BN : … in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

Â

HB : The problem is how you understand involvement of process of »behavior« into organisms control. If you’d understand some physiology you could also understand that »observed behavior« or »physical output action« is »control empty«. It’s just affecting environment. See Bill’s definition and Martin’s opinion.

Â

BN : Yes, if you observe behavioral actions in the environment without understanding how they are part of the process of controlling perceptual input, it is impossible to make sense of them. This is why behavioral scientists have for so many years resorted to statistical measures over populations of instances of behavior and populations of behaving individuals.

Â

BN: I believe I do understand the contribution of behavioral outputs to a control loop closed through the environment. Probably all of us here do. It seems odd to have you trying to lecture us about it. Taken by themselves, without considering the role they play in control, all you can say is that the outputs affect the environment. PCT is concerned with the reasons that the effect on a particular perceived feature of the environment almost exactly cancels out unpredictable other effects on that perceived feature. If you talk about behavioral actions divorced from control, you no longer are talking about PCT.

Â

BN : When a “generic PCT diagram” is located within the hierarchy, what part of it is labeled “behavior”?

Â

BN : I did not ask this question clearly enough. Please refer to Figure 6.1 on p. 71 of B:CP (2005 edition). At the top is the comparator of a relationship control loop. Its output function is labeled “Error-to-position”. Should it be labeled “behavior”? If so, what is the behavior? If not, is “behavior” (observable behavior) limited to the lowest output function, labeled “muscles”? Or, since it is observable, shouldn’t that label “behavior” (observable behavior) be limited to the place in the environment where we see the word “Force”? If not, why not? And in that case, why are none of the higher-level output functions labeled “behavior”?

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/Bruce

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Hi Bruce,

as for the answer to your post is concerned I didivded it into two posts. One is dedicated to Henry Yin (he deserves by my oppinion special place in PCT) and other consists of answers to your view of PCT. My understanding and conclussions about PCT are »built-up« from Bill’s knowledge (diagram LCS III) and »defitnitions« (B:CP) and now Yin article which I think incorporate 90 % of Bill’s knowledge that »Behavior is not control«. So if any issue will arise about this specific view in connection to mentioned Bill’s and Yin’s writings, I’ll discuss fuirther, otherwise I’ll not answer, speccially not on phylosophy.

···

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 2015 11:00 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.07.08:15 ET)]

Hi, Boris. A basic ground rule of conversation that I would like us to agree to is to assume good will. It causes as much trouble to take offense as it does to give it.

BN: I apologize for using an idiom that was unfamiliar to you. “Remember” was intended as a referential to a prior mention. In place of “Remember” please substitute an equivalent referential that does not offend you, for example maybe “As I wrote previously”.

HB: Sorry to misunderstand you. I felt like you are patronizing…

BN: You may be unaware that some of your ways of expressing yourself can easily be perceived as abrasive, haughty, belittling, demeaning, and outright insulting. We are all capable of controlling these effects on purpose. We have found through long experience that doing so does not serve the collectively controlled perception of explaining, promoting, and spreading acceptance of PCT. Because I participate in that collective control, and because I control the above basic ground rule of conversation, now especially in light of your appeal to “stay on a cultural level of conversation”, I assume that I am perceiving accidental side effects of your control of English. I hope that you will be equally charitable to us.

HB: I’ll be glad if you tell me in the »spots« where you noticed the »side effects« of my control of English. We never stop learning.


BN : Boris, as I said earlier, if you and Martin want to avoid using “behavior” to mean “the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”, and prefer to use only “control” for that meaning, I think no one here will disagree.

HB : I don’t know what Martin thinks but I’m interested in explanation what does it mean to you »Behavior as a process…« ? But you are right. Everyone is free to beleive what he wants. It’s opened phylosohpy discussion, until we »hit« the wall of physiological »facts«.

BN : Limiting your definition of “behavior” to observable behavior is not a real problem, but I’d recommend qualifying it as “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs” to avoid misunderstanding.

HB : I don’t know what could be other meaning of behavior beside »Observable« which is used in Bill’s diagram. It could be also »imagined«. But in that case anybody can understand behavior as wanted. So it’s O.K. with me that we use it in the sense you proposed »observed behavior« or »behavioral outputs«. Afterall it’s in Bill’s diagram the same use. Maybe this is really the way how to avoid misunderstandings. Using Bill’s »defitinitions« and his diagram…and Yin articcle…

BN : Others here agree with Bill when he said “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data” in the Preface of B:CP, and consequently interpret the title of B:CP as meaning exactly that.

HB: It would be nice if you give names who are those »others« on CSGnet who agree with »Behavior is process…« ? It seems to me that you are using your imagination to often.

BN : The fact that we disagree about these words is not a problem for PCT, because the words do not define PCT. They only attempt to explain it in relatively informal terms.

HB : I think that precise interpretation of words in PCT is what is defining it. If I recall right Barb said that her Dad carefully choosed words. Otherwise we can talk whatever we want about everything and it must be right. For ex. Elephant and dog is the same….
/o:p>

BN: I agree with Rick that a precise verbal definition of “behavior” is unimportant. A grasp of the nature of control is what is important. I don’t think it is possible to grasp the nature of control without at least an intuitive grasp of the mathematics.

HB : I think that precise definitions are very important to avoid misunderstandings. Anyway I think that words are used as means of control as any other »behavior«… So I think that Rick is controlling exactly what he wants to achieve : confussion, mess in terms so that he could write what he wants without any significant arguments. Well I’m against this sort of communication.

BN : Bill would have been the first to tell you not to quote his words as though they were holy scripture, or as though they were the Constitutional basis of legalistic definitions. A grasp of the phenomenon of control is what matters. That was always his emphasis, and especially in LCS III and MSoB.

HB : Bill never said to me something like what you are saying and I talked a lot with him. In contrary, he was very »sharp« in using words, At least in our conversation. Speccialy on the field of physiology, where precise terms are in use. That’s how I learned PCT. Precise meaning for precise words. When you are saving lives with physiological knowledge, there is no place for phylosophical meanings. Resposability which physiology has for people lives dictate very precise understanding of organism and what we are doing to it.

I think you and Rick are trying to control in the direction of terms »being loosy«, so to achieve that you would not be forced to agree with Bill’s »definitions« of PCT. That’s how I understood your attempts. But accepting these »definitions« (B:CP) means for me accepting the common ground (agreement) for talking about PCT and avoid misubderstandings. So I’m interested to »hear« whether you AGREE or not with Bill’s definitions (B:CP) and diagram without »CV« in the outer environment ?

Boris Hartman (Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 1:40 AM)–

HB : it seems odd that you make a final conclusion based on so »ambiguous« opinions about »Behavior is control«.

BN : My ‘final’ conclusion was that the term is ambiguous.

HB : It seems that something is not yet clear about PCT, because there is so much »double« meaning.

BN : PCT is perfectly clear.

HB : You just wrote that : ‘final’ conclusion was that the term »behavior« is ambiguous. We are arguing about this problem for almost two weeks. So PCT is not clear about it. But it’s clear that Bill used one interpretation of behavior more times than other.

BN : Language is almost always ambiguous. Understanding the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, is necessary. The words are interpretations of analogic computational processes coupled with cause-and-effect phenomena in the environment. Those environmental phenomena are described mathematically, using the tools of physics and chemistry, as the ‘environmental feedback function’.

HB : I’m not sure that I understand what you want to say. But if I recall right Martin explained that phenomena in PCT are not described mathematically but » algebraicly«. At least as the knowledge of Rick was concerned. Any use of symbols or quantitative explanation can be »ambigous« if it’s not clearly explained what’s the meaning. So any experiment with quantitative research must have qualitative explanation (words) to precisley define (subjective interpretation) what results and mathematics represent.

BN : In a typical PCT simulation, the code for control systems is relatively simple and compact, and the code for the environmental feedback function is long and complex.

HB : What kind of »complex mathematics« is used in PCT ?

HB : If most members will decide that »Behavior is control«, then I have no reason to stay on CSGnet. I could never prove with physiological means that »Behavior is Control« so I have nothing to do hear any more.

BN : No one can prevent you from throwing up your hands impatiently and walking away. Many have done so when they were unable to use words about PCT to control familiar perceptions in familiar ways.

HB : You are really kind person Bruce. You know how to comfort people. I was leaving PCT forum anyway even without your kind invitation. But if you have time I’d be glad if you reveal me names of people who are »able to use words about PCT to control familiar perceptions in familiar ways« ? I suppose you mean familiar as »Behavior is Control«. I’d really like some names ?

For me familiar use of words in PCT means to use generic diagram and »definitions« (B:CP) I exposed. And what is PCT familiar »use of words« for you ?Â

BN : I understand physiology to be the study of living things, especially their parts and organs, as functional physical objects. One definition I see is “The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts; the way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.” Like many specializations of science, physiology will be revolutionized by PCT. Does your interest in physiology mean that this is your field? If so, it would be terrific for you to help bring that revolution about. If not, could you explain why you are so concerned about the physiology of control?

HB : If you’ll try to understand physiology through dictionary or other »fast knowledge sources« I’m afraid you’ll not understand much. Any study that involves underdstanding human organism is a long study (couple of years) as we have to understand resposability for human lives and health. So there is no room for phylosophical games. And physiology »discovered« control mechanisms a long before engineers did. It just wasn’t put in such a form. People simply have to deal with »control« cousciously or »unconsciously« if they want to heal and save lives. They simply have to »understand« what’s going on in organism. Nature forced them to act in »control« way otherwise they would have no success.

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Partly I tried to »brighten« the problem with physiological understanding in my comments about Yin’s article. Please see it.

I understand science as used for clearing up terms people ordinary use in all possible ways. One of posistive contribution of science is that it tries to understand »one term with one meaning«. It’s important for example in physiology that when you are saving life that people do not mix terms and imagine under the same term different meanings and take wrong actions on that bases. They could kill people because of wrongly understood meaning. So precise use of terms with »defined« meaning by my oppinion gives more credibilty to discussions.

BN : But you can’t investigate control exclusively by physiological means. In most cases, evidence about controlled variables and disturbances does not come from physiology, and the processes of defining and measuring the output quantity and the input quantity generally involves more than the physiology of effectors and sensors. The reference value and error signal are physiological only by inference in most cases because (except for Henry Yin) neuroscientists haven’t developed the perceptual input functions that would enable them to recognize and look for reference signals in e.g. so-called ‘mirror cells’.

HB : I agree that on this stage physiology has not all answers. But the frame is very clear. Henry Yin is not just exception. He is (at least for me) pioneer of »new age« in PCT physiological background. I’m looking fworard to meet him in person if that will be possible (ever). I’ll be honored.

BN : I hope it’s unnecessary to say that science proves nothing, and that proof is possible only in tautological systems such as logic and mathematics, whereas science is inherently provisional and open-ended.

HB : I’m not sure that I understand what you meant. If I understand right »proof« can be only obtained by »wording« in phylosophical and mathemathical discussions ? Well I think that proof can be obtained also by perceiving.

But when you’ll be on the surgent table, remember your words and hope that science is not »inherently provissional« and »open-ended«, but have »exact meanings« which works in practice. And that it’s not only tautology. It can decide whether you’ll live or not.

BN : PCT is a science which demonstrates how organisms control their perceptual inputs by varying their behavioral outputs precisely so as to counteract unpredictable environmental disturbances.

HB : It seems that you understand :slight_smile:

BN : It provides a generative model of behavior which is far more accurate than any other proposal, with greater explanatory power, and which promises to far be more comprehensive than any other proposal. Its complete and radical vulnerability to test and verification provides an extraordinarily strong basis for intersubjective agreement. Intersubjective agreement is the definition of objectivity in science. That’s as close as science gets to proving something.

HB : I don’t agree in whole with you. I think that »intersubjective agreement« is not only definition in science but also definition of »objectivity« in any people interaction (conversation), speccialy in PCT (collective control).

HB : But I strongly advise that you get YIn’s opinion (if he is physiologist) or any opinion of any physiologist to confirm that »Behavior can be control«.

BN : The following is from p. 7 of Henry H. Yin (2014) “How Basal Ganglia Outputs Generate Behavior”, Advances in Neuroscience Volume 2014, Article ID 768313, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/768313 (highlighting added):

The term “control� means that posture stays the same, despite environmental disturbances. The naïve assumption that whatever neural signals are sent to our muscles determine the effects we exert on the environment, that is, observable behavior, was demolished by Bernstein nearly a century ago [47]. Bernstein wrote: “There are no situations in which muscle shortening is the cause of a movement� [48]. The actual effect of the muscular contraction is not the product of our neural output. Behavior can never be equated with the output of the nervous system, because it is the joint product of unknown environmental influences and neural signals. To the motor neurons producing muscle contraction, even fatigue or slight changes in the properties of the muscles can become a major source of disturbance. Consequently, a measure of muscle contraction (e.g., electromyography) can never define the actual behavior or the posture. That the output does not equal behavior raises the question of how the neural output can be adjusted as unknown and unpredictable disturbances vary. This is the “calculation problem,� the key problem that the nervous system must solve [49].

HB : I answered separatelly about this issue.

HB : My other arguments why it’s not good to keep the definiton »Behavior is Control« are :

HB : 1. First I think that introducing »Behavior is Control« into PCT, PCT becomes cheap »self-regulation« theory, where »Behavior is Control« is mantra. Please read Mary Powers about PCT and »self-regulation«.

BN : I do not see how that is a necessary consequence. Anyone who comes to understand control will not make that mistake. Mary’s comment was about people who did not understand control. People who don’t understand control will make their perceptions of our words about PCT consistent with their words about whatever ideas they have learned. If they understand the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, they will not be able to fit PCT into their preconceived ideas. The result, often, is that they run away so as to avoid perceiving a change to cherished ideas as a threat to their reputation and livelihood.

HB . Sorry to notice but you are talking about things you know too little about. That’s also one problem in communication when people who have »poor« information about »reality«, fulflill »pictures« with their imagination. I thnk that you don’t know »people« about whom Mary talked about. There are exact names. So I think that if you would know them, you would not give such a statements. It seems that you are filling »holes« in knowing about issues that you talk about, with your imagination.Â

Carver and Scheier leading »self-regulation« theoriest were Bill’s »students«. They learned PCT from Bill. I was mediating beetwen Bill and Carver, because i was interested why he didn’t take Bill as reference when they used his diagram in their central book (»On the Selfregulation on behavior«, 1998). Instade of Bill, the references used were Wiener and Ashby. While they talked to me, Bill told me about their knowledge of PCT, but also how they changed their view on Control through centuries. While they took Bill as full reference in their book 1981, in the book from 1998, they used him as a reference only for the hierarchy. So the »self-regulationists« are not just good informed about »control« they are also good informed about PCT. I also noticed through my conversation with Carver and through reading his articles that he is more than familiar with term »control«. Ask Vancouver why Mary didn’t like him ?

Your judgement about how Mary’s comment was about people »who didn’t understand control« is simply not right. You can try to talk to Carver like I did and read his books and articles as I did and than I’m sure you’ll make more »objective« conclussions and oppinion about it.

Carver for sure understands »Control« at least on the level Rick does, that »Behavior is Control«. But he doesn’t understand how organisms function. And the same is with Vancouver.

HB : 2. I see also a problem in interpreting everyday activites. Do we eat, drink, drive, walk, etc… with »Controlling our hands, legs…« ?

BN : At the lower levels of the hierarchy, to accomplish such activities we control perceptions such as arm, leg, and finger joint angles, by means of controlling lower-level perceptions down to intensity signals from tendon tension sensors and skin pressure sensors.

HB : Right. We control perception of limbs. We control »Perception of behavior«. Could you be so kind and explain this to Rick ?

BN : Saying “Behavior is control of perception” does not imply that we control our behavioral outputs. Quite the opposite.

HB : I don’t know why we are conflicting each other if we think the same. If »Behavior is Control of perception« imply opposite meaning than it’s enough to say that »Behavior is not control of behavioral outputs« or »Behavior is not control of perception« in the meaning that »behavioral outputs are not control«. That’s it. We agree. Now we have only to explain this to Rick.

BN : On the other hand, whenever we can perceive our behavioral outputs as such, we are capable of controlling those perceptions. An example is dancers practicing while perceiving their behavioral outputs by means of a mirror and controlling a perception of conformity to their perception of the teacher’s behavioral outputs.

HB : Right. We are controlling »Perception of behavioral outputs«… Here I don’t see any conflict. You understand it perfectly.

HB : 3. I think that »Behavior« can’t be “Control”, because we don’t know what is “behavior”. At the best shot we know what is “Perception of behavior (output)”. All is perception. In this case “Perception of behavior can be controlled”, as Martin mentioned many times. It depends from observer in whatever view we take perception (internal or external view). It’s subjective. That’s how individuals make their own interpretation of behavior, what depends on their references. If you and Rick observe behavior you will say that it is “control”. If I observe it I would say that “Behavior” just affect environment, makes changes to my perception. People who do not know anything about Control Theory, would probably make interpretations of their own perceptions in whatever they believe what is happening.

BN : There are at least three issues here.

  • First, if we don’t know what “behavior as control” is because all we have is perceptions, the same objection applies “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs”. As the word “observed” implies, those are perceptions too.

  • Second, individuals recognize only those perceptions for which they have developed the necessary perceptual input functions, which they control according to reference values that their control hierarchy has established. They will do this regardless of how “behavior” is defined, and until they develop the necessary perceptual input functions and reference values they are liable to be obtuse about PCT.

  • Third, lurking behind this is the notion of objectivity. The definition of objectivity in science is intersubjective agreement. Scientific method aims to provide a well-defined and principled basis for intersubjective agreement.

HB : It seems that we understand the same terms with the same meaning. I agree with all three issues. J

I think that we could start collecting "common« understanding in PCT not opposite.

BN : The Test for the controlled variable (TCV) establishes intersubjective agreement between the investigator and the observed organism. “Behavior” as observed activity is a subjective perception. Defined as control of perceptual input, and specified by means of the TCV, it is objective; that is, it is a matter of intersubjective agreement in the best spirit of science.

HB : There are a lot of others and more efficient »tests« for esablishing intersubjective agreements. If you define »Behavior« as »Control of perceptual input« it has many »intersubjective agreements« or »conflicts« and it is far from being »objective. But it can be »intra-subjective« agreement like in Rick’s case.

HB : 4. In any of Bill’s “definitions” I exposed in my previous post, I can’t see that “behavior” could be any kind of control or that “behavior” is involving control. So if you put in definition that “Behavior is Control” or at least that “involves control”, you’ll have to change at least some “definitions”. But would Powers ladies agree with this ? Wouldn’t it be better that we left “definitions” as they are, but you and Rick make your own theory based on “Behavior is Control”.

BN : Bill used the word “behavior” in both senses. (You have provided quotations for one sense, I have provided quotations for both senses.) The word “behavior”, like practically everything in language, is ambiguous. Fortunately, most of the time we have means to eliminate inappropriate meanings. These means are a special case of the general phenomenon of collective control.

HB : I’m inclined to beleive, that what Bill meant with »Behavior is Control of perception« is »Behavior is (consequence) of Control of perception« what match with what is presented in Bill’s diagram. Control works only in the part of organism. And we agreed that »we can’t control behavioral output«, so there is no control in the outer part of control loop.

Â

Considering Rick’s statements Bill’s generic diagram has to be changed, because he wants to put in the generic diagram “CV” in the external environment which is “controlled” by behavior. Do you think also that generic diagram has to be changed so that »CV« is put into oueter environment ?

BN : Some years ago, Martin introduced the term “environmental controlled variable” or ECV for the variable in the environment. The ECV is perceived by the observer as well as by the subject. In designing and running the Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV), the observer is controlling an imagined perception of how the subject perceives the ECV. Success with the TCV enables the observer to devise a measurement of the state of the ECV, as perceived from the point of view of the subject. That measurement is taken to represent the input quantity qi. A transform of qi is taken to represent the perceptual signal p. If the actual firing rate in the relevant nerve bundle were to be measured, then we could reverse-engineer the transformation from qi to p that is performed by the sensory organ and the perceptual input function. This level of physiological detail is not necessary at this stage. The transform function on the output side (the output function) is symmetrical with that on the input side, for obvious reasons.

HB : This is probably adressed to Martin ?

BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”. In the Preface to B:CP, Bill wrote “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.” There is no contradiction. Observed behavior is that aspect of behavior (“the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”) which can be observed.

HB : In Bill’s diagram and his »definitions« system’s physical output is the means for making effects to outer environment. »Behavior is the process by which organisms control«, means by my oppinion that it’s the process of »observed behavior« (physical output action) which makes EFFECTS to environment and thus help organisms to control. Control is something that happens in organism. Behavior has nothing to do with control, it’s just a supporting »tool« for control.

But in imagination people can observe behavior of other people as illusion of control. And there is physiological explanation why ? It’s described in Bill’s book B.CP and Yin’s article.

BN : It is limited to observable behavioral output; even more, it is limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

HB : You said it right. It AFFECTS the state of »qi«. Not control. Here it seems that you understand the meaning as I do.

BN : … in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

HB : The problem is how you understand involvement of process of »behavior« into organisms control. If you’d understand some physiology you could also understand that »observed behavior« or »physical output action« is »control empty«. It’s just affecting environment. See Bill’s definition and Martin’s opinion.

BN : Yes, if you observe behavioral actions in the environment without understanding how they are part of the process of controlling perceptual input, it is impossible to make sense of them. This is why behavioral scientists have for so many years resorted to statistical measures over populations of instances of behavior and populations of behaving individuals.

HB : Behavioral actions are part of control loop which affect the environment and that’s what it’s function in control loop. No phylosophy needed.

BN: I believe I do understand the contribution of behavioral outputs to a control loop closed through the environment.

HB : It seems that your beleives are right. It seems that you do understand. But sometimes I have a feeling that you are opposing yourself.

BN : Probably all of us here do. It seems odd to have you trying to lecture us about it.

HB : Yes you all PROBABLY understood »the contribution of behavioral outputs to a control loop«. Speccially Rick. Do you think that I’m an idiot who talked with no reason for 3 or 4 years that »behavioral outputs are not control« ? Please go back and read posts of »all of us« here who PROBABLY understood contribution of »behavioral outputs« to a control loop ??? Are you talking now on the bases of your imagination or experiences in reading (perceiving) what was happening on CSGnet in last years ?

If you put it in the way you did, our conversation is over. It’s the same problem I had with Bill, and “double” meaning of diagram on p. 191, B:CP, which new version was presented by Dag, stayed unsolved. And I think it will stay that way for next decade. Disqualifying people leads to their unwillingness to cooperate. And you reached the »bottom line« in my »intra-subjective agreement«.

BN : When a “generic PCT diagram” is located within the hierarchy, what part of it is labeled “behavior”?

BN : I did not ask this question clearly enough. Please refer to Figure 6.1 on p. 71 of B:CP (2005 edition). At the top is the comparator of a relationship control loop. Its output function is labeled “Error-to-position”. Should it be labeled “behavior”? If so, what is the behavior? If not, is “behavior” (observable behavior) limited to the lowest output function, labeled “muscles”? Or, since it is observable, shouldn’t that label “behavior” (observable behavior) be limited to the place in the environment where we see the word “Force”? If not, why not? And in that case, why are none of the higher-level output functions labeled “behavior”?

HB : You are adressing questions to a wrong person. If you founded the problem in B:CP than there must be an answer. You know : »where is a trouble there is also a solution of trouble«. So studying »defitnitions«, and generic diagram can’t do any harm. And I warmly advice the study of Henry Yins’ article. Maybe you’ll get the answers.

And maybe you could find an answer to my questions :

  1.  How do you see the solution in diagram on p. 191 in B:CP in Dag's version ? It's crucial for understanding how organisms »really« work and how references are formed….Now it's a total confussion. I think that without physiological knowledge it can't be solved.
    

Boris

/Bruce

Bruce,

This is one part answer to your latest post…

HB :

But I strongly advise that you get YIn’s opinion (if he is physiologist) or any opinion of any physiologist to confirm that »Behavior can be control«.

BN :

The following is from p. 7 of Henry H. Yin (2014) “How Basal Ganglia Outputs Generate Behavior”, Advances in Neuroscience Volume 2014, Article ID 768313, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/768313 (highlighting added):

The term “control� means that posture stays the same, despite environmental disturbances. The naïve assumption that whatever neural signals are sent to our muscles determine the effects we exert on the environment, that is, observable behavior, was demolished by Bernstein nearly a century ago [47]. Bernstein wrote: “There are no situations in which muscle shortening is the cause of a movement� [48]. The actual effect of the muscular contraction is not the product of our neural output. Behavior can never be equated with the output of the nervous system, because it is the joint product of unknown environmental influences and neural signals. To the motor neurons producing muscle contraction, even fatigue or slight changes in the properties of the muscles can become a major source of disturbance. Consequently, a measure of muscle contraction (e.g., electromyography) can never define the actual behavior or the posture. That the output does not equal behavior raises the question of how the neural output can be adjusted as unknown and unpredictable disturbances vary. This is the “calculation problem,� the key problem that the nervous system must solve [49].

HB : First I’d like to thank you for  a wonderful article. I didn’t know for it. And I don’t know how could  I missed it. It’s the PCT poetry. It seems that Yin didn’t only explicit PCT but he also upgraded it a little. Anyway he wrote what Bill is talking about and support everything with strong physiological means. One thing is sure, he didn’t mentioned anything about like “Behavior is Controlâ€? or anything similar.

I also think that he is not saying something odd about behavior so as that it can not be “equated� with output in any sense. The segment you citated should be by my opinion presented only as a part of whole article in which Yin criticize “input-output� behavioristic theories and tried to explain that motor neuron is not producing “solo� neural signal to muscle in “sensorimotor� sense, but it is the result of hierarchy, where “computation� is done and the properties of muscles are taken into account. So I think that whatever you think that “your segment� represent, Yin very clearly “defined� Behavior� in the continuation of article :

HY :

To understand the contribution of the BG to behavior, it s above all necessary to understand what behavior is. Here the traditional linear causation paradigm is the greatest obstacle to progress. Whenever behavior is conceived as the output of some input/output system with linear causation, as the result of sensorimotor transformation in multiple steps inside the organism, the attempt to understand its neural substance is doomed at the outside.

I have argued instead that behavior is the outward manifestation of a more fundamental process of control, generated by a hierarchy of negative feed-back control systems, each controlling its own perceptual inputs by varying outputs. It is not the result of sensorimotor transformations but is jointly determined by the perceptual input and the internal reference signal in a mathematically precise way…

HB :

So by my opinion Yin “defines� behavior as manifestation of the “computation� problem of all hierarchy, what he solved when he continued article.

But I also think that it would be good if Yin himself explains what he thought by this fragment and article, because he wasn’t stopped by this fragment to “equateâ€? behavior with actions, “holdingâ€?, movement, and so on. All observable entities. I put them in bold.

HY : The mice must learn to generate behaviors that satisfy some arbitrary criterion in order to receive reward. The action duration is used to tag neural activity related to holding.

HY : Yet when the mouse is holding down the lever, in the absence of any overt “movement�, there is clear pause in nigral activity.

HY : We found nigral neurons that increased their firing rate during the holding period… control that allows the arm to stay still. But, in our task, moveement is only observed before the holding period, as the mouse presses down the lever or afterwards as the mouse releases it. During the holding period itself, there is no overt movement. Moreover, the increase and decrease in firing rate during the holding period appear to be similar in magnitude but opposite in polarity.

HB : This tells me that activity of neurons and neural signals send to muscles and “movementsâ€? are in close relation. So we can at least aproximatelly equate “behaviorâ€?, actions, holding… with neural activity and output.

And finally he resumed behavioral task :

HY :

(a) Illustration of behavioral task. A food reward is delivered after the realease of the lever. If the press duration exceeds the criterion duration set by the experimenter. (b) Location of the electrode array in the substantia nigra. © Prevent raster plots illustrating opponent output from the nigral GABAergic projection neurons…etc…

HB : I think there is no comments needed about connections between  “behaviroal task, neurons, output�.. Connection exists, but how it is “computed� Yin showed in his whole article with physiological evidences. In the continuation of the article, Yin did his job perfectly. My admiration.

HY :

Control of input . A control systems always controls its input, not output. Only perceivable consequences of behavior can be controlled. The control system contains internal reference signals, which indicate the desired state of some input variable. It varies its outputs until the consequence matches the reference signal. The output is proportional to the difference between input and reference. It is not determined by either perceptual inputs or reference signal, but by both simultaneously. Â

HB :

My final conclussion is that there is no “Behavior is Control�, because “perceivable consequences� means (at least to me) that “Perception of behavior� is controlled.

If it was mentioned in Bills work that “Behavior is Control of perceptionâ€?, I think it means that “Behavior is (consequence) of Controlâ€? as that is what generic diagram clearly presents. Behavior is the result of “errorâ€? signal (result of control) and make effect to environment (no control). So the only part of the loop where control is done is “Control of perceptionâ€? or in “comparatorâ€?. I think that central nervous system is the only place where “controllingâ€? is done. And there are many ways that control works in nervous system not just through help of outer control part of the loop where “muscle effectorsâ€? produce effects to external environment. Â

The only “Behavior� that exists by my opinion is “Observed behavior� and so we can only control “Perception of behaviors� whether internally or externally. Other “definitions� are imagination.

All this is by my opinion presented in Bill’s diagram and in his “definitionsâ€? which I listed from B:CP. My opinion is that “Definitionsâ€? are supported by 90% of Bill’s work and Henry Yin article, and they don’t support any of “definitionsâ€? presented in the sense that “Behavior is Controlâ€? or something similar.

If any other “definition of behaviorâ€? beside “Observable behaviorâ€? or “perceivedâ€? exists it’s just the result of imagination or illusion. And that’s what Rick is doing all the time. He is imagining (illussion) that â€?Behavior is Controlâ€?. But this illusion has also physiological ground.

I think that Yin has to be invited to contribute in all CSGnet discussions and as an adviser to all articles. I haven’t seen yet so comprehensive PCT knowledge with so strong physiological evidences beside Bill.  Geniously. It’s definitely that HENRY YIN UPGRADED PCT.

Yin is also opening a crucial problem in “double� output, which has also to be solved in “whole picture� in diagram B:CP, p.191, 2005. There are also many other things to be solved.

So my advice is that anybody who wants to understand PCT should read Yin’s article and PCT “definitionsâ€? (B:CP, 2005) and of course understand PCT diagram (LCS III) as it is. I don’t see any “Behavior is controlâ€?. The statements like “Behavior is Controlâ€? or whatever are not included neither in PCT diagram nor in “definitionsâ€? (B:CP) nor in Yin’s article. My explanation is that they are imaginations…which by my opinion import confusions and misunderstandings to understanding of PCT.

This is what I believe. But anyone can decide as he wants. Everyone is free to believe what he wants. Maybe the main question here is how can we read the same text (“reality�) and have so many interpretations and “subjective thought constructions� if perception of “reality� or “CV� is so “precisely� controlled by Rick’s oppinion. I think that ground for this explanation is PCT.

Best,

Boris

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1425)]

···

On Sat, Nov 14, 2015 at 11:12 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Hi Bruce,

BH: as for the answer to your post is concerned I didivded it into two posts. One is dedicated to Henry Yin (he deserves by my oppinion special place in PCT)

RM: Finally we agree on something! Henry does excellent work in PCT. He does deserve a very special place in PCT. His only fault is having written a way to kind Foreword to my book “Doing Research on Purpose”. You should get yourself a copy today!

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

HB: It’s opened phylosohpy discussion, until we »hit« the wall of physiological »facts«.

BN: I agree that words about PCT need to be grounded, and that physiology is one important grounding. At the periphery of the hierarchy we have to identify the input function (sensors) and output function (effectors) in the course of identifying what perception is under control.Â

BN: Above the lowest level of the hierarchy, we so far know very little of the neurophysiology of input functions and output functions. That doesn’t prevent us from creating very successful simulations implementing the PCT model.Â

BN: That is because the most important grounding of PCT is in the quantitative relationships of functions around the loop, where each is both cause and effect of the next, and each is both effect and cause of the prior. This can be clearly expressed only with mathematics. Words are at best suggestive, always ambiguous, and therefore always subject to more than one interpretation. Misinterpretations of PCT have been due to people relying on words without understanding PCT in quantitative terms.

HB:Â I think that precise interpretation of words in PCT is what is defining it.

BN: Yes, we try to be careful with words. But PCT is not defined by words. It is defined by dynamic relations between variables, best expressed by simultaneous algebraic equations. The words are invariably relatively loose approximations or indications, no matter how careful we are. Ambiguity is extremely difficult to avoid using words.Â

BN: In the 2011 jointly authored paper, four interdependent equations are written:

WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — input function

(2) e = r – p — comparator

(3) Qo = Ko e — output function

(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance functions

BN: Solving for p and combining the several gain constants to a global gain constant G = Ki Ko Kf:

WTP:

(5) p = (G/1+G)r  + ((Ki Kd D)/(1 + G))

BN: After using equation 4 to demonstrate that “the relationship of the response (output) to the stimulus (input) is determined primarily by the two environmental constants Kd and Kf, not by the actual input-output characteristics of the control system”, Bill went on to say

WTP:

In sum, behavior is the externally visible aspect of a control process by which perceptual experiences are controlled.Â

*We control perceived results, not behaviors or actions. Behavior is the control of perception.*Â [Italics in original.]

BN: The first sentence says that perceptual experiences are controlled by a control process, of which behavior is the externally visible aspect. This can be understood as saying behavior = observable outputs. The last sentence can be understood as saying that when you are observing behavior, you are observing the control of perception. But the form of the sentence is behavior = control.

BN: This is not a definition! It is a rhetorical statement, part of Bill’s long argument against the prevailing view that perceptual input of stimuli causes behavioral responses. That rhetorical purpose is what I meant when I called this an “in-your-face” statement.Â

BN: If you want clear and precise definitions, go to the mathematics.Â

BN: I’m not sure what you mean by philosophy, and what exactly you’re objecting to. Bill was not at all averse to writing and talking about the consequences of PCT for epistemology.Â

···

On Sun, Nov 15, 2015 at 2:12 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Hi Bruce,

Â

as for the answer to your post is concerned I didivded it into two posts. One is dedicated to Henry Yin (he deserves by my oppinion special place in PCT) and other consists of answers to your view of PCT. My understanding and conclussions about PCT are »built-up« from Bill’s knowledge (diagram LCS III) and »defitnitions« (B:CP) and now Yin article which I think incorporate 90 % of Bill’s knowledge that »Behavior is not control«. So if any issue will arise about this specific view in connection to mentioned Bill’s and Yin’s writings, I’ll discuss fuirther, otherwise I’ll not answer, speccially not on phylosophy.

Â

Â

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 2015 11:00 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

Â

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.07.08:15 ET)]

Â

Hi, Boris. A basic ground rule of conversation that I would like us to agree to is to assume good will. It causes as much trouble to take offense as it does to give it.Â

Â

BN: I apologize for using an idiom that was unfamiliar to you. “Remember” was intended as a referential to a prior mention. In place of “Remember” please substitute an equivalent referential that does not offend you, for example maybe “As I wrote previously”.Â

Â

HB: Sorry to misunderstand you. I felt like you are patronizing…

Â

BN: You may be unaware that some of your ways of expressing yourself can easily be perceived as abrasive, haughty, belittling, demeaning, and outright insulting. We are all capable of controlling these effects on purpose. We have found through long experience that doing so does not serve the collectively controlled perception of explaining, promoting, and spreading acceptance of PCT. Because I participate in that collective control, and because I control the above basic ground rule of conversation, now especially in light of your appeal to “stay on a cultural level of conversation”, I assume that I am perceiving accidental side effects of your control of English. I hope that you will be equally charitable to us.Â

Â

HB: I’ll be glad if you tell me in the »spots« where you noticed the »side effects« of my control of English. We never stop learning.

Â


Â

BN : Boris, as I said earlier, if you and Martin want to avoid using “behavior” to mean “the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”, and prefer to use only “control” for that meaning, I think no one here will disagree.

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HB : I don’t know what Martin thinks but I’m interested in explanation what does it mean to you »Behavior as a process…« ? But you are right. Everyone is free to beleive what he wants. It’s opened phylosohpy discussion, until we »hit« the wall of physiological »facts«.

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BN : Limiting your definition of “behavior” to observable behavior is not a real problem, but I’d recommend qualifying it as “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs” to avoid misunderstanding.

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HB : I don’t know what could be other meaning of behavior beside »Observable« which is used in Bill’s diagram. It could be also »imagined«. But in that case anybody can understand behavior as wanted. So it’s O.K. with me that we use it in the sense you proposed »observed behavior« or »behavioral outputs«. Afterall it’s in Bill’s diagram the same use. Maybe this is really the way how to avoid misunderstandings. Using Bill’s »defitinitions« and his diagram…and Yin article…

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BN : Others here agree with Bill when he said “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data” in the Preface of B:CP, and consequently interpret the title of B:CP as meaning exactly that.

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HB: It would be nice if you give names who are those »others« on CSGnet who agree with »Behavior is process…« ? It seems to me that you are using your imagination to often.

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BN : The fact that we disagree about these words is not a problem for PCT, because the words do not define PCT. They only attempt to explain it in relatively informal terms.

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HB : I think that precise interpretation of words in PCT is what is defining it. If I recall right Barb said that her Dad carefully choosed words. Otherwise we can talk whatever we want about everything and it must be right. For ex. Elephant and dog is the same….

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BN: I agree with Rick that a precise verbal definition of “behavior” is unimportant. A grasp of the nature of control is what is important. I don’t think it is possible to grasp the nature of control without at least an intuitive grasp of the mathematics.Â

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HB : I think that precise definitions are very important to avoid misunderstandings. Anyway I think that words are used as means of control as any other »behavior«… So I think that Rick is controlling exactly what he wants to achieve : confussion, mess in terms so that he could write what he wants without any significant arguments. Well I’m against this sort of communication.

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BN : Bill would have been the first to tell you not to quote his words as though they were holy scripture, or as though they were the Constitutional basis of legalistic definitions. A grasp of the phenomenon of control is what matters. That was always his emphasis, and especially in LCS III and MSoB.

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HB : Bill never said to me something like what you are saying and I talked a lot with him. In contrary, he was very »sharp« in using words, At least in our conversation. Speccialy on the field of physiology, where precise terms are in use. That’s how I learned PCT. Precise meaning for precise words. When you are saving lives with physiological knowledge, there is no place for phylosophical meanings. Resposability which physiology has for people lives dictate very precise understanding of organism and what we are doing to it.

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I think you and Rick are trying to control in the direction of terms »being loosy«, so to achieve that you would not be forced to agree with Bill’s »definitions« of PCT. That’s how I understood your attempts. But accepting these »definitions« (B:CP) means for me accepting the common ground (agreement) for talking about PCT and avoid misubderstandings. So I’m interested to »hear« whether you AGREE or not with Bill’s definitions (B:CP) and diagram without »CV« in the outer environment ?

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HB : it seems odd that you make a final conclusion based on so »ambiguous« opinions about »Behavior is control«.Â

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BN : My ‘final’ conclusion was that the term is ambiguous.

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HB : It seems that something is not yet clear about PCT, because there is so much »double« meaning.

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BN : PCT is perfectly clear.

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HB : You just wrote that : ‘final’ conclusion was that the term »behavior« is ambiguous. We are arguing about this problem for almost two weeks. So PCT is not clear about it. But it’s clear that Bill used one interpretation of behavior more times than other.

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BN : Language is almost always ambiguous. Understanding the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, is necessary. The words are interpretations of analogic computational processes coupled with cause-and-effect phenomena in the environment. Those environmental phenomena are described mathematically, using the tools of physics and chemistry, as the ‘environmental feedback function’.

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HB : I’m not sure that I understand what you want to say. But if I recall right Martin explained that phenomena in PCT are not described mathematically but » algebraicly«. At least as the knowledge of Rick was concerned. Any use of symbols or quantitative explanation can be »ambigous« if it’s not clearly explained what’s the meaning. So any experiment with quantitative research must have qualitative explanation (words) to precisley define (subjective interpretation) what results and mathematics represent.

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BN : In a typical PCT simulation, the code for control systems is relatively simple and compact, and the code for the environmental feedback function is long and complex.

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HB : What kind of »complex mathematics« is used in PCT ?

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HB :  If most members will decide that »Behavior is control«, then I have no reason to stay on CSGnet. I could never prove with physiological means that »Behavior is Control« so I have nothing to do hear any more.Â

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BN : No one can prevent you from throwing up your hands impatiently and walking away. Many have done so when they were unable to use words about PCT to control familiar perceptions in familiar ways.

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HB : You are really kind person Bruce. You know how to comfort people. I was leaving PCT forum anyway even without your kind invitation. But if you have time I’d be glad if you reveal me names of people who are »able to use words about PCT to control familiar perceptions in familiar ways« ? I suppose you mean familiar as »Behavior is Control«. I’d really like some names ?

For me familiar use of words in PCT means to use generic diagram and »definitions« (B:CP) I exposed. And what is PCT familiar »use of words« for you ?Â

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BN : I understand physiology to be the study of living things, especially their parts and organs, as functional physical objects. One definition I see is “The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts; the way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.” Like many specializations of science, physiology will be revolutionized by PCT. Does your interest in physiology mean that this is your field? If so, it would be terrific for you to help bring that revolution about. If not, could you explain why you are so concerned about the physiology of control? Â

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HB : If you’ll try to understand physiology through dictionary or other »fast knowledge sources« I’m afraid you’ll not understand much. Any study that involves underdstanding human organism is a long study (couple of years) as we have to understand resposability for human lives and health. So there is no room for phylosophical games. And physiology »discovered« control mechanisms a long before engineers did. It just wasn’t put in such a form. People simply have to deal with »control« cousciously or »unconsciously« if they want to heal and save lives. They simply have to »understand« what’s going on in organism. Nature forced them to act in »control« way otherwise they would have no success.

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Partly I tried to »brighten« the problem with physiological understanding in my comments about Yin’s article. Please see it.

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I understand science as used for clearing up terms people ordinary use in all possible ways. One of posistive contribution of science is that it tries to understand »one term with one meaning«. It’s important for example in physiology that when you are saving life that people do not mix terms and imagine under the same term different meanings and take wrong actions on that bases. They could kill people because of wrongly understood meaning. So precise use of terms with »defined« meaning by my oppinion gives more credibilty to discussions.

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BN : But you can’t investigate control exclusively by physiological means. In most cases, evidence about controlled variables and disturbances does not come from physiology, and the processes of defining and measuring the output quantity and the input quantity generally involves more than the physiology of effectors and sensors. The reference value and error signal are physiological only by inference in most cases because (except for Henry Yin) neuroscientists haven’t developed the perceptual input functions that would enable them to recognize and look for reference signals in e.g. so-called ‘mirror cells’.Â

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HB : I agree that on this stage physiology has not all answers. But the frame is very clear. Henry Yin is not just exception. He is (at least for me) pioneer of »new age« in PCT physiological background. I’m looking fworard to meet him in person if that will be possible (ever). I’ll be honored.

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BN : I hope it’s unnecessary to say that science proves nothing, and that proof is possible only in tautological systems such as logic and mathematics, whereas science is inherently provisional and open-ended.

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HB : I’m not sure that I understand what you meant. If I understand right »proof« can be only obtained by »wording« in phylosophical and mathemathical discussions ? Well I think that proof can be obtained also by perceiving.

But when you’ll be on the surgent table, remember your words and hope that science is not »inherently provissional« and »open-ended«, but have »exact meanings« which works in practice. And that it’s not only tautology. It can decide whether you’ll live or not.

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BN : PCT is a science which demonstrates how organisms control their perceptual inputs by varying their behavioral outputs precisely so as to counteract unpredictable environmental disturbances.

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HB : It seems that you understand :slight_smile:

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BN : It provides a generative model of behavior which is far more accurate than any other proposal, with greater explanatory power, and which promises to far be more comprehensive than any other proposal. Its complete and radical vulnerability to test and verification provides an extraordinarily strong basis for intersubjective agreement. Intersubjective agreement is the definition of objectivity in science. That’s as close as science gets to proving something.

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HB : I don’t agree in whole with you. I think that »intersubjective agreement« is not only definition in science but also definition of »objectivity« in any people interaction (conversation), speccialy in PCT (collective control).

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HB : But I strongly advise that you get YIn’s opinion (if he is physiologist) or any opinion of any physiologist to confirm  that »Behavior can be control«.

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BN : The following is from p. 7 of Henry H. Yin (2014) “How Basal Ganglia Outputs Generate Behavior”, Advances in Neuroscience Volume 2014, Article ID 768313, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/768313 (highlighting added):

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The term “control� means that posture stays the same, despite environmental disturbances. The naïve assumption that whatever neural signals are sent to our muscles determine the effects we exert on the environment, that is, observable behavior, was demolished by Bernstein nearly a century ago [47]. Bernstein wrote: “There are no situations in which muscle shortening is the cause of a movement� [48]. The actual effect of the muscular contraction is not the product of our neural output. Behavior can never be equated with the output of the nervous system, because it is the joint product of unknown environmental influences and neural signals. To the motor neurons producing muscle contraction, even fatigue or slight changes in the properties of the muscles can become a major source of disturbance. Consequently, a measure of muscle contraction (e.g., electromyography) can never define the actual behavior or the posture. That the output does not equal behavior raises the question of how the neural output can be adjusted as unknown and unpredictable disturbances vary. This is the “calculation problem,� the key problem that the nervous system must solve [49].

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HB : I answered separatelly about this issue.

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HB : My other arguments why it’s not good to keep the definiton »Behavior is Control«  are :

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HB : 1.    First I think that introducing »Behavior is Control« into PCT, PCT becomes cheap »self-regulation« theory, where »Behavior is Control« is mantra. Please read Mary Powers about PCT and »self-regulation«.Â

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BN : I do not see how that is a necessary consequence. Anyone who comes to understand control will not make that mistake. Mary’s comment was about people who did not understand control. People who don’t understand control will make their perceptions of our words about PCT consistent with their words about whatever ideas they have learned. If they understand the mathematics, at least at an intuitive level, they will not be able to fit PCT into their preconceived ideas. The result, often, is that they run away so as to avoid perceiving a change to cherished ideas as a threat to their reputation and livelihood.

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HB . Sorry to notice but you are talking about things you know too little about. That’s also one problem in communication when people who have »poor« information about »reality«, fulflill »pictures« with their imagination. I thnk that you don’t know »people« about whom Mary talked about. There are exact names. So I think that if you would know them, you would not give such a statements. It seems that you are filling »holes« in knowing about issues that you talk about, with your imagination.Â

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Carver and Scheier leading »self-regulation« theoriest were Bill’s »students«. They learned PCT from Bill. I was mediating beetwen Bill and Carver, because i was interested why he didn’t take Bill as reference when they used his diagram in their central book (»On the Selfregulation on behavior«, 1998). Instade of Bill, the references used were Wiener and Ashby. While they talked to me, Bill told me about their knowledge of PCT, but also how they changed their view on Control through centuries. While they took Bill as full reference in their book 1981, in the book from 1998, they used him as a reference only for the hierarchy. So the »self-regulationists« are not just good informed about »control« they are also good informed about PCT. I also noticed through my conversation with Carver and through reading his articles that he is more than familiar with term »control«. Ask Vancouver why Mary didn’t like him ?

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Your judgement about how Mary’s comment was about people »who didn’t understand control« is simply not right. You can try to talk to Carver like I did and read his books and articles as I did and than I’m sure you’ll make more »objective« conclussions and oppinion about it.

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Carver for sure understands »Control« at least on the level Rick does, that »Behavior is Control«. But he doesn’t understand how organisms function. And the same is with Vancouver.

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HB : 2.    I see also  a problem in interpreting everyday activites. Do we eat, drink, drive, walk, etc… with »Controlling our hands, legs…« « ?

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BN : At the lower levels of the hierarchy, to accomplish such activities we control perceptions such as arm, leg, and finger joint angles, by means of controlling lower-level perceptions down to intensity signals from tendon tension sensors and skin pressure sensors.

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HB : Right. We control perception of limbs. We control »Perception of behavior«. Could you be so kind and explain this to Rick ?

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BN : Saying “Behavior is control of perception” does not imply that we control our behavioral outputs. Quite the opposite.

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HB : I don’t know why we are conflicting each other if we think the same. If »Behavior is Control of perception« imply opposite meaning than it’s enough to say that »Behavior is not control of behavioral outputs« or »Behavior is not control of perception« in the meaning that »behavioral outputs are not control«. That’s it. We agree. Now we have only to explain this to Rick.

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BN : On the other hand, whenever we can perceive our behavioral outputs as such, we are capable of controlling those perceptions. An example is dancers practicing while perceiving their behavioral outputs by means of a mirror and controlling a perception of conformity to their perception of the teacher’s behavioral outputs.

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HB : Right. We are controlling »Perception of behavioral outputs«… Here I don’t see any conflict. You understand it perfectly.

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HB : 3.    I think that »Behavior« can’t be “Control”, because we don’t know what is “behavior”. At the best shot we know what is “Perception of behavior (output)”. All is perception. In this case “Perception of behavior can be controlled”, as Martin mentioned many times. It depends from observer in whatever view we take perception (internal or external view). It’s subjective. That’s how individuals make their own interpretation of behavior, what depends on their references. If you and Rick observe behavior you will say that it is “control”. If I observe it I would say that “Behavior” just affect environment, makes changes to my perception. People who do not know anything about Control Theory, would probably make interpretations of their own perceptions in whatever they believe what is happening.

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BN : There are at least three issues here.Â

  • First, if we don’t know what “behavior as control” is because all we have is perceptions, the same objection applies “observed behavior” or “behavioral outputs”. As the word “observed” implies, those are perceptions too.Â
  • Second, individuals recognize only those perceptions for which they have developed the necessary perceptual input functions, which they control according to reference values that their control hierarchy has established. They will do this regardless of how “behavior” is defined, and until they develop the necessary perceptual input functions and reference values they are liable to be obtuse about PCT.Â
  • Third, lurking behind this is the notion of objectivity. The definition of objectivity in science is intersubjective agreement. Scientific method aims to provide a well-defined and principled basis for intersubjective agreement.

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HB : It seems that we understand the same terms with the same meaning. I agree with all three issues. J

I think that we could start collecting "common« understanding in PCT not opposite.

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BN : The Test for the controlled variable (TCV) establishes intersubjective agreement between the investigator and the observed organism. “Behavior” as observed activity is a subjective perception. Defined as control of perceptual input, and specified by means of the TCV, it is objective; that is, it is a matter of intersubjective agreement in the best spirit of science.

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HB : There are a lot of others and more efficient »tests« for esablishing intersubjective agreements. If you define »Behavior« as »Control of perceptual input« it has many »intersubjective agreements« or »conflicts« and it is far from being »objective. But it can be »intra-subjective« agreement like in Rick’s case.

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HB : 4.    In any of Bill’s “definitions” I exposed in my previous post, I can’t see that “behavior” could be any kind of control or that “behavior” is involving control. So if you put in definition that “Behavior is Control” or at least that “involves control”, you’ll have to change at least some “definitions”. But would Powers ladies agree with this ? Wouldn’t it be better that we left “definitions” as they are, but you and Rick make your own theory based on “Behavior is Control”.

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BN : Bill used the word “behavior” in both senses. (You have provided quotations for one sense, I have provided quotations for both senses.) The word “behavior”, like practically everything in language, is ambiguous. Fortunately, most of the time we have means to eliminate inappropriate meanings. These means are a special case of the general phenomenon of collective control.

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HB : I’m inclined to beleive, that what Bill meant with »Behavior is Control of perception« is »Behavior is (consequence) of Control of perception« what match with what is presented in Bill’s diagram. Control works only in the part of organism. And we agreed that »we can’t control behavioral output«, so there is no control in the outer part of control loop.

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Considering Rick’s statements Bill’s generic diagram has to be changed, because he wants to put in the generic diagram “CV” in the external environment which is “controlled” by behavior. Do you think also that generic diagram has to be changed so that »CV« is put into oueter environment ?

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BN : Some years ago, Martin introduced the term “environmental controlled variable” or ECV for the variable in the environment. The ECV is perceived by the observer as well as by the subject. In designing and running the Test for the Controlled Variable (TCV), the observer is controlling an imagined perception of how the subject perceives the ECV. Success with the TCV enables the observer to devise a measurement of the state of the ECV, as perceived from the point of view of the subject. That measurement is taken to represent the input quantity qi. A transform of qi is taken to represent the perceptual signal p. If the actual firing rate in the relevant nerve bundle were to be measured, then we could reverse-engineer the transformation from qi to p that is performed by the sensory organ and the perceptual input function. This level of physiological detail is not necessary at this stage. The transform function on the output side (the output function) is symmetrical with that on the input side, for obvious reasons.

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HB : This is probably adressed to Martin ?

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BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”. In the Preface to B:CP, Bill wrote “Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.” There is no contradiction. Observed behavior is that aspect of behavior (“the process by which organisms control their input sensory data”) which can be observed.

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HB : In Bill’s diagram and his »definitions« system’s physical output is the means for making effects to outer environment. »Behavior is the process by which organisms control«, means by my oppinion that it’s the process of »observed behavior« (physical output action) which makes EFFECTS to environment and thus help organisms to control. Control is something that happens in organism. Behavior has nothing to do with control, it’s just a supporting »tool« for control.

But in imagination people can observe behavior of other people as illusion of control. And there is physiological explanation why ? It’s described in Bill’s book B.CP and Yin’s article.

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BN : It is limited to observable behavioral output; even more, it is limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

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HB : You said it right. It AFFECTS the state of »qi«. Not control. Here it seems that you understand the meaning as I do.

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BN : … in the Preface to B:CP, Bill himself wrote "Behavior is the process by which organisms control their input sensory data.

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HB : The problem is how you understand involvement of process of »behavior« into organisms control. If you’d understand some physiology you could also understand that »observed behavior« or »physical output action« is »control empty«. It’s just affecting environment. See Bill’s definition and Martin’s opinion.

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BN : Yes, if you observe behavioral actions in the environment without understanding how they are part of the process of controlling perceptual input, it is impossible to make sense of them. This is why behavioral scientists have for so many years resorted to statistical measures over populations of instances of behavior and populations of behaving individuals.

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HB : Behavioral actions are part of control loop which affect the environment and that’s what it’s function in control loop. No phylosophy needed.

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BN: I believe I do understand the contribution of behavioral outputs to a control loop closed through the environment.

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HB : It seems that your beleives are right. It seems that you do understand. But sometimes I have a feeling that you are opposing yourself.

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BN : Probably all of us here do. It seems odd to have you trying to lecture us about it.

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HB : Yes you all PROBABLY understood »the contribution of behavioral outputs to a control loop«. Speccially Rick. Do you think that I’m an idiot who talked with no reason for 3 or 4 years that »behavioral outputs are not control« ? Please go back and read posts of »all of us« here who PROBABLY understood contribution of »behavioral outputs« to a control loop ??? Are you talking now on the bases of your imagination or experiences in reading (perceiving) what was happening on CSGnet in last years ?

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If you put it in the way you did, our conversation is over. It’s the same problem I had with Bill, and “double” meaning of diagram on p. 191, B:CP, which new version was presented by Dag, stayed unsolved. And I think it will stay that way for next decade. Disqualifying people leads to their unwillingness to cooperate. And you reached the »bottom line« in my »intra-subjective agreement«.

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BN : When a “generic PCT diagram” is located within the hierarchy, what part of it is labeled “behavior”?

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BN : I did not ask this question clearly enough. Please refer to Figure 6.1 on p. 71 of B:CP (2005 edition). At the top is the comparator of a relationship control loop. Its output function is labeled “Error-to-position”. Should it be labeled “behavior”? If so, what is the behavior? If not, is “behavior” (observable behavior) limited to the lowest output function, labeled “muscles”? Or, since it is observable, shouldn’t that label “behavior” (observable behavior) be limited to the place in the environment where we see the word “Force”? If not, why not? And in that case, why are none of the higher-level output functions labeled “behavior”?

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HB : You are adressing questions to a wrong person. If you founded the problem in B:CP than there must be an answer. You know : »where is a trouble there is also a solution of trouble«. So studying »defitnitions«, and generic diagram can’t do any harm. And I warmly advice the study of Henry Yins’ article. Maybe you’ll get the answers.

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And maybe you could find an answer to my questions :

1.     How do you see the solution in diagram on p. 191 in B:CP in Dag’s version ? It’s crucial for understanding how organisms »really« work and how references are formed…¦.Now it’s a total confussion. I think that without physiological knowledge it can’t be solved.

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I think that posting equatations makes our discussion as a continuing theme to agreement…

BN : Boris, yes, I agree that our control of perceptual input appears to have effects on the environment. The appearance is such that our control of the perception appears to be our control of that which is perceived. I cannot join you in denying that it is in fact control of that which is perceived, because I don’t know whether it is or not. I have no way of knowing. Maybe you do.

HB : I’ll try Bruce.

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From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 3:35 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

HB: It’s opened phylosohpy discussion, until we »hit« the wall of physiological »facts«.

BN: I agree that words about PCT need to be grounded, and that physiology is one important grounding. At the periphery of the hierarchy we have to identify the input function (sensors) and output function (effectors) in the course of identifying what perception is under control.

BN: Above the lowest level of the hierarchy, we so far know very little of the neurophysiology of input functions and output functions. That doesn’t prevent us from creating very successful simulations implementing the PCT model.

HB : I think we were the only who point out the future of PCT. Your presentation was at least for me even more convincing than mine. The use of PCT in this moment when so many questions stays open, doesn’t produce »power« that it should according to Bill’s goal that PCT is general theory about how »organisms function«. With Henry Yin article it come closer. But there is a lot of work to be done.

BN: That is because the most important grounding of PCT is in the quantitative relationships of functions around the loop, where each is both cause and effect of the next, and each is both effect and cause of the prior. This can be clearly expressed only with mathematics. Words are at best suggestive, always ambiguous, and therefore always subject to more than one interpretation. Misinterpretations of PCT have been due to people relying on words without understanding PCT in quantitative terms.

HB: I think that precise interpretation of words in PCT is what is defining it.

BN: Yes, we try to be careful with words. But PCT is not defined by words. It is defined by dynamic relations between variables, best expressed by simultaneous algebraic equations. The words are invariably relatively loose approximations or indications, no matter how careful we are. Ambiguity is extremely difficult to avoid using words.

HB : The problem with »dynamic relations between variables« (expressed by simultanenous algebra) as I see it. is that it doesn’t tell much about control, except that it makes maybe easier to understand the close loop circle. But I think that dosen’t mean that »algebraicly« defined circle explains control relationships. And operating with symbols has also some wickness. It’s obscure, simplifying problem.

I think  It can be a mistake to annotate more to the symboly than they are expressing in relation to theory or oppinion. I think it just can be helpfull tool but not »all mighty« that could explain how organisms function.

Symbols by my oppinion explain just »pure« relationship but not how »segments« themself function. So the »content explanation« of variables and functioning of the loop can be described qualitatively with quit a lot of physiology. As Henry Yin proved.

BN: In the 2011 jointly authored paper, four interdependent equations are written:

WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — input function

(2) e = r – p — comparator

(3) Qo = Ko e — outpuut function

(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance functionss

HB : If these segments doesn’t have a MEANING than they are just symbols. So for better understanding what each »segment« means and represent in the loop I’ve added Bill’s explanation what specific segment annotate.

WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — input function

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(2) e = r – p — €” comparator

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(3) Qo = Ko e — output function

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(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance functions

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion 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.

HB : And everything has one probable explanation how control in the loop works :

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HB : All this is probably incorporated in Bill’s diagram, where Bill presented the understanidng of PCT. I think his understanding correspond to algebraic formulas and  »definitions«.

But I also I think that even with Bill’s »meaning« explanations of algebraic formulas it’s not yet clear how control is distributed in the control loop although it seems clear to me. And I beleive it’s clear to Henry Yin, becausehe also look from the physiological perspective on PCT.

So I think that it could be more clear what segments represent with »defitnions« and diagram (LCS III), if we use physiological evidences. Bill used them in B:CP to explain more precise hierarchy of control.

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HB : As I tried to point out before, we do have problem with mutual understanding what every symbol means and what diagram is representing. Or do we not have anymore ? It seems that we do agree about most of features Bill proposed in his PCT, except whether »effects« of actions are »controlled« or are just effects.

But I’m interested whether can we agree about diagram (LCS III) that it represent effects in outer environment ? Or diagram needs changes ? By Rick’s understanding we should put »CV« into outer environment and it seems that he wants to turn »perceptual signal« into »controlled perceptual variabel« and instead of »output is not control« he tries to put »behavior is control« and so on. Can we at least agree that diagram (LCS III) represents PCT ?

BN (earlier in discussion with Rick) : ……except to emphasize the role that PCT can play in guiding neuroscience research. I’m with Boris on the need for anatomical plausibility. Certainly it would be helpful to my interest in a PCT account of word dependencies in language if there are neural structures that compute probabilities as perceptual signals. I’m suggesting that we get that already as a property of perceptual input functions.

HB : I think this is the way for PCT to advance and eliminate all »wickness« that it has (for ex. diagrams on p. 191, B:CP), where »whole« picture of PCT could be presented. I think that for final explanation we have also to explore with biological and physilogical means at least in parts that form organism (input, output function, comparator….) as you emphasiszed. . Environmmental part is probably part for physical reseacrh and so on.

My conclussion is that it can’t be done everything with theorizing and »imagining« like Rick is doing. We need more.

BN: Solving for p and combining the several gain constants to a global gain constant G = Ki Ko Kf:

WTP:

(5) p = (G/1+G)r + ((Ki Kd D)/(1 + G))

cid:image004.png@01D122F8.7D677120

HB : Are this meanings the same ? Â

I think that sysmbols are useful didactical tool if we perfectly understand some scientific theory. But as I see it, our misunderstanding  is whether »p« involve any control or not. Whether »o« involve any control or not ? How can we get this from equatations ? Do any »K« involve control ? I think that we need more informations.

BN: After using equation 4 to demonstrate that “the relationship of the response (output) to the stimulus (input) is determined primarily by the two environmental constants Kd and Kf, not by the actual input-output characteristics of the control system”, Bill went on to say

WTP:

In sum, behavior is the externally visible aspect of a control process by which perceptual experiences are controlled.

We control perceived results, not behaviors or actions. Behavior is the control of perception. [Italics in original.]

HB : Well this I see as a problem. Despite that you described everything in symbols (algebra) clearly, you went out of content that could explain what loop actually means. So you tried to solve it qualitatively with Bill’s explanation, what I would do too.

And if I understoof you right, we would probably use also knowledge of other sciences to clear the meaning. You seems to be quite opposite to Rick. You see the problem much wider than Rick, and you are prepared to communicate and explore for more possibilities to »uncover« the real mening if it’s not clear enough, in comparison to Rick who promote only very narrow part of researching in PCT : tests and demos, which are mostly wrong.

Beside that we already agreed, that Bill sometimes contradict himself, sometimes he changed his mind and so on, I think that he formed quite stable and clear theory, which is by my oppinion represented in his diagram and »defitnitions«. So is there any possibility that we agree on his algebraic formulas, qualitative »defitnions« and diagram (LCS III) ?

Agreement could by my oppinion mean more stimulative to further exploring what is really behind his words and speccially behind diagram on o. 191, (B:CP). And that can be also established by natural experiments (like physiology), not only by tests or »demos«. If theory is wrong or ambigous, the tests and demos will be wrong as Rick demos for ex. proved mostly to be wrong. Because PCT in this moment is not clear in all segments. .

Bill P : »If the effects of the model are just as hypothetical as the model, we don’t have a model, because we can’t check it against direct experience. The ultimate authority is always direct experience, the real reality we are incapable of doubting…« (LCS II, p.185)

HB : So as far as qualitative explanations of organisms functioning is concerned, I think that physiology gives some clear answers, because it’s coming form final arbiter : nature. When we don’t know what is »true«, we have to go and see for ourself what is true. In nature.

Just »testing« and »making demos« will not help advance PCT. Henry Yin proved it in the best way he could. He was the first that I saw him really upgrading PCT. But he used also physiological means.

Bill’s »behavior is control of perception«, can be interpreted in many ways, as you pointed out. It could mean also »behavior is (consequence) of control«, what is better match to his diagram. So I think that finaly we have to find physiological evidences as the »final arbiter« that will explain what is the content of every algebraic »segment« and how they work in relation to one another. Whether control is transfered or not from segment to segment.

BN: The first sentence says that perceptual experiences are controlled by a control process, of which behavior is the externally visible aspect. This can be understood as saying behavior = observable outputs. The last sentence can be understood as saying that when you are observing behavior, you are observing the control of perception. But the form of the sentence is behavior = control.

HB :

You wrote it very clearly : »The last sentence can be understood…«. If you put it as you did it can be aslo understood as contradiction to »we control perceived results, not behavior or actions«.

And another interpretation CAN BE »behavior is not control«. I admitt that subjective explanations can be ambigous and maybe we are both right. So I’m dedicated to more evidences that can clear the meaning, And in this case I think that we need more evidences which are provided by physiology. Some are in Bill’s literature, speccially in B:CP, some of them were exposed in briliant Herny Yin article. Some of them have to be found in myriad of other books. So we could start with hard work of finding them.Â

BN: This is not a definition! It is a rhetorical statement, part of Bill’s long argument against the prevailing view that perceptual input of stimuli causes behavioral responses. That rhetorical purpose is what I meant when I called this an “in-your-face” statement.

HB : I appreciate your concern about understanding Bill’s statement. But we already established that rhetorical purposes can be always understood in many meanings. But can we agree about these meanings :

Bill P.

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 in the immediate environment of the system…
<

MT : “Behaviour”, at least in PCT, is the consequences of the output signal that is distributed eventually to the organism’s environment.

BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”… It is limited to observable beehavioral output; even more, it is limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

HB : Is agreement about this three oppinions possible ?

BN: If you want clear and precise definitions, go to the mathematics.

HB : It seems that we are both aware that without clear explanation of all segments of control loop, which can come only from final arbiter nature (as Bill used to say) we’ll not be able to understand control loop in close relationship to how organisms function, what is the general and final goal of PCT.

Mathematics gives as nothing if problem which we want to solve is not clearly qualitativelly defined with clear natural evidences. And in this moment PCT is on the half way. Mathematical description by my oppinion doesn’t help much in this moment, until some segments of »whole picture of organisms« are not provided for ex. in diagram on p. 191 (B:CP) and help us understand how »organims« function. I think that mathematics (algebra) is just helpfull tool for expressing what is already understood clear. I used Henry Yin’s thoughts to help understanding what I meant :

HY : It is often believed that the calculation problem can be solved by computing inverse kinematics and dynamics or by feedforward computation to predict the future effects of actions using sophisticated mathematics. If only we can calculate the needed force output, it would be possible to produce movements [50, 51]. This feedforward approach requires enormous computational power and completely accurate knowledge of the physical interactions in the environment, if not omniscience. This is never found in any biological organism. Yet the calculation problem, after all, is solved by virtually all organisms.

BN: I’m not sure what you mean by philosophy, and what exactly you’re objecting to. Bill was not at all averse to writing and talking about the consequences of PCT for epistemology.

HB : By »phylosophy« I meant »exploring« and »manipulating« with words to achieve some goal (understanding of PCT for ex.). I think that everything can’t be concluded from »exploring« with words and symbols like Rick is doing it behind a computer screen.

We have also to go to explore into the nature (or second source in books), to get the knowledge of milions of physiologist, doctors and so on who are in contact with real peple (organism) every day. And their work is quite precisley written in books and in other methods of presenting knowledge. Henry Yin proved that this is the way to upgrade PCT. Because he did it.

Boris

/Bruce

What can I say. Henry Yin on his incredible level of understanding PCT. My impression is that he wrote in Foreword to your book mostly about PCT and Powers and purpose itself and of course purposeful behavior. He mentioned you a little. Very »fine tunning« expression of PCT.

But you surprised. You somehow managed to avoid »self-regulation« expression. Although it sliped you once or twice… as far asI could see it in very fast review.

RM : … that an understadning of purposeful behavior as a process of control

RM : Describes the control theory view of purposeful behavior as a process of control….

RM : A controlled variable is a perceptual aspect of the environment that the behaving system is acting to bring to a pre-selected or goal state.

On the whole Preface and Introduction doesn’t look so bad, because emphases are not on »Behavior is control«, but »Purposeful behavior,« what could mean much more than »behavior is control«. It means at least to me, that purposes are formed in orgamism and I’m surprised that you started to emphasize the organisms control as the prior to »behavior control of environment«. But of course I don’t know how you express it in your book. I’ve read just what was available about your book.

But will not read ti, because I could »ruin« my good feeling about your book.

When I saw the Chapter about »Optical Trajectories and the Informational Basis of Fly Ball Catching« I realized that you again mixed some of your »behaviorist knowledge« in the book as this is with no doubrt a failure, as it is in Warrens and Tim’s article where they are citating your »Baseball Catch«. Your influence on CSGnet forum and mistakes which you made will probably need some time to vanish.

So sorry I’ll not read it. J

Best,

Boris

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 15, 2015 11:17 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1425)]

On Sat, Nov 14, 2015 at 11:12 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Hi Bruce,

BH: as for the answer to your post is concerned I didivded it into two posts. One is dedicated to Henry Yin (he deserves by my oppinion special place in PCT)

RM: Finally we agree on something! Henry does excellent work in PCT. He does deserve a very special place in PCT. His only fault is having written a way to kind Foreword to my book “Doing Research on Purpose”. You should get yourself a copy today!

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.22.2100)]

···

On Sat, Nov 21, 2015 at 11:04 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

BH: What can I say.

RM: How about nothing. Does nothing work for you?

RM: Remember, it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.Â

Best

Rick

Â

Henry Yin on his incredible level of understanding PCT. My impression is that he wrote in Foreword to your book mostly about PCT and Powers and purpose itself and of course purposeful behavior. He mentioned you a little. Very »fine tunning« expression of PCT.

Â

Â

But you surprised. You somehow managed to avoid »self-regulation« expression. Although it sliped you once or twice… as far asI could see it in very fast review.

Â

RM : … that an understadning of purposeful behavior as a process of control

Â

RM : Describes the control theory view of purposeful behavior as a process of control….

Â

RM : A controlled variable is a perceptual aspect of the environment that the behaving system is acting to bring to a pre-selected or goal state.

Â

On the whole Preface and Introduction doesn’t look so bad, because emphases are not on »Behavior is control«, but »Purposeful behavior,« what could mean much more than »behavior is control«. It means at least to me, that purposes are formed in orgamism and I’m surprised that you started to emphasize the organisms control as the prior to »behavior control of environment«. But of course I don’t know how you express it in your book. I’ve read just what was available about your book.

Â

But will not read ti, because I could »ruin« my good feeling about your book.

When I saw the Chapter about »Optical Trajectories and the Informational Basis of Fly Ball Catching« I realized that you again mixed some of your »behaviorist knowledge« in the book as this is with no doubrt a failure, as it is in Warrens and Tim’s article where they are citating your »Baseball Catch«. Your influence on CSGnet forum and mistakes which you made will probably need some time to vanish.

Â

So sorry I’ll not read it. J

Â

Best,

Â

Boris

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 15, 2015 11:17 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

Â

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1425)]

Â

On Sat, Nov 14, 2015 at 11:12 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Hi Bruce,

Â

BH: as for the answer to your post is concerned I didivded it into two posts. One is dedicated to Henry Yin (he deserves by my oppinion special place in PCT)Â

Â

RM: Finally we agree on something! Henry does excellent work in PCT. He does deserve a very special place in PCT. His only fault is having written a way to kind Foreword to my book “Doing Research on Purpose”. You should get yourself a copy today!Â

Â

BestÂ

Â

Rick

Â

Richard S. MarkenÂ

www.mindreadings.com
Author of  Doing Research on Purpose

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble


Richard S. MarkenÂ

www.mindreadings.com
Author of  Doing Research on Purpose
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.22.22:00 ET)]

HB: The use of PCT in this moment when so many questions stays open, doesn’t produce »power« that it should according to Bill’s goal that PCT is general theory about how »organisms function«.Â

BN: It may be helpful to refer to Bill’s comments on what constitutes understanding of a system, on pp. xv-xvi of LCS.

HB : The problem with »dynamic relations between variables« (expressed by simultaneous algebra) as I see it. is that it  doesn’t tell much about control, except that it makes maybe easier to understand the close loop circle. But I think that doesn’t mean that »algebraicly« defined circle explains control relationships. And operating with symbols has also some wickness. It’s obscure, simplifying problem.

BN: I don’t know what “wickness” means.

BN: The POWER of PCT is apparent when it demonstrates that an organism

WTP: must, because of its inner nature, behave as we see it behaving. Its properties must grow out of its inner organization; its behavior must arise from its properties. (LCS p. xv)

BN: Those properties are specified, not by words, but by the equations of PCT. And they must be demonstrated to work.

WTP: The only kind of explanation I can believe is one that demonstrates the principles that are proposed. It’s not enough to say that a block diagram represents a system. One has to show that, in fact, a system organized in that way must behave in a particular way. If you can’t deduce how a system would work from the explanation, then you don’t have an explanation. The best way to prove that the explanation actually explains something is to cast it as a working simulation, turn it on, and let it operate by the rules you have put in it. If you can’t do that, then you don’t have a model or an explanation. All you have is more or less persuasive rhetoric. (LCS p. xvi)

BN: What this means is that the PCT model empowers you to design “a working simulation, turn it on, and let it operate by the rules” that the PCT model requires you to put in it, such that the working simulation produces quantitative results essentially identical to what a living organism would produce (by measurement). When a simulation of the behavior of an organism replicates the observed behavior with 99%+ fidelity, the inescapable conclusion is that the structures in that working simulation correspond very closely to structures in the living organism. We would love to verify the functioning of the corresponding structures in the living organism while it is in the course of producing the observed and measured behavioral outputs, but this is at best very difficult and usually impossible, by present art, although, as you have noted, Henry is making important inroads.

BN: That is the power of PCT that we have seen demonstrated over and over for the past 50 years. The making of generative PCT simulations that actually work, each controlling a specified variable or variables in the face of unpredictable disturbances. The making of these simulations is a central aspect of PCT methodology. Too few of us have actually produced any working simulations or demos. It is something that Rick has proven himself to be very good at. Rick’s models of data for baseball players, which you are so dismissive of, are actually a pretty good example. PCT gives a good, reliable explanation that could be used to help people learn to catch fly balls more effectively. I have not found a way to create working models of language as the control of perception, other than a PCT reinterpretation of Katseff’s work disturbing pronunciation. This is humbling to me. Perhaps a little humility is in order all around.

BN: Another aspect of the ‘power’ of PCT is how persuasive it is, and to whom it is persuasive (or not). The PCT explanation is straightforward, and many of us have discussed it. PCT is a disturbance to control of system concepts. System concepts are very difficult to change. Bill gave a very good account of this in his 1989 Preface to LCS.

WTP: A system concept is an attitude, an understanding, a world view. It’s a sense of orderliness and coherence that we see in a body of principles and generalizations [at the next level down]. It lives in an individual. It not only forms out of coalescing principles, but it determines which principles belong in the system and which do not. The process is one of assimilation and accommodation, simultaneous mutual adjustment between levels.

WTP: Acceptance of control theory requires a change in the beliefs of life scientists at the level of system concepts. System concepts bring order into principles; principles bring order into methods; methods bring order into symbolic representations; symbolic representations bring order into all lower levels of observation. Reorganizing a system concept therefore requires reorganizing everything else. The very way the world looks to us changes when a system concept changes. In fact, the system concept cannot change first. The whole system must reorganize at once. Newcomers to control theory do not all learn it the same way. One part of it is immediately clear to some, other parts to others. What we understand in one area of knowledge causes problems with what we thought we understood in other areas. Even in a willing individual, this reorganization can’t take place overnight. It requires years. It requires changes at levels where we all find voluntary change difficult, mysterious, or even impossible.

WTP: […] Control theory was never the only ingredient in this alternate view of organisms[…] Another important ingredient of this system concept is a view of what constitutes understanding of a system. […] To understand a system, we must be able to see that it must, because of its inner nature, behave as we see it behaving. Its properties must grow out of its inner organization; its behavior must arise from its properties.

Grasping PCT takes time. We must have patience while our brains sort things out, and keep giving them good mental food to eat.

(Rick, note the term “world view” here. You objected to Madden’s use of it. As you know, I have disagreed with Bill’s thinking of ‘symbolic representations’ as a level between ‘methods’ [programs and sequences] and all lower levels, and have proposed an alternative account within the PCT model.)Â

HB: it can’t be done everything with theorizing and »imagining« like Rick is doing

HB: Rick … promotes only very narrow part of researching in PCT : tests and demos, which are mostly wrong.

BN: Your dismissal of what Rick is doing, and your dismissal of the value of a generative working simulation built according to the PCT model, seems to me to be badly mistaken. But if you claim that a particular test or demo is wrong, it is incumbent on you to say what is wrong about it. If you don’t, it is not a serious claim, and cannot and will not be taken seriously.Â

HB: I think that it could be more clear what segments represent with »definitions« and diagram (LCS III), if we use physiological evidences. Bill used them in B:CP to explain more precise hierarchy of control.

BN: Here, you reproduced the block diagram in Figure 2-3 of LCS III. I am puzzled what you mean by physiology. There are no physiological terms in that block diagram. No sensory organs, muscles, neural structures, or other body parts are identified, nor any chemical or electrical processes found in a living body. That block diagram could be implemented in computer software, in a robot, etc. There’s nothing that constrains it to the structure and functional activities of biological organisms–which is what physiology is about. So what do you mean when you write the word “physiological” and when you say things like this:

HB: we have to find physiological evidences as the »final arbiter« that will explain what is the content of every algebraic »segment« and how they work in relation to one another. Whether control is transferred or not from segment to segment.

BN: However, notwithstanding the absence of any physiological items in the standard PCT block diagram, many of the functions and connecting paths in control loops are well understood anatomically. Even in the early 1970s, Bill showed how the reflex control loop is implemented in living tissue (Chapter 7 of B:CP). It would be marvelous to be able to ‘flesh out’ the anatomical details for every example of behavior that has been modeled and simulated in PCT, and for every example of behavior that we would like to model. But if our aim is to demonstrate the fact of control, or if our aim is to demonstrate that control is the basis of all behavior–irrespective of whether we ‘define’ behavior as an outcome of control (Table 1 of LCS) or as the visible aspect of control–that kind of demonstration is not required.Â

BN:Â Why is it not required? I’ll paraphrase Bill and others again: When a simulation of the behavior of an organism replicates the observed behavior with 99% or greater fidelity, the inescapable conclusion is that the structures in that working simulation correspond very closely to structures in the living organism.Â

BN:Â PCT provides a guide for anatomical and physiological research, not the other way around. Existing literature in physiology and anatomy assume a stimulus-response conception of behavior. As we recently have learned, neurophysiologists apparently use the term feedback as a synonym for afferent, as contrasted with feedforward, which for them means efferent. Yes, we can do research into (HB:) “the knowledge of millions of physiologist, doctors and so on who are in contact with real people (organism) every day… their work [which] is quite precisely written in books and in other methods of presenting knowledge”. But that ‘knowledge’ too often expresses fundamentally mistaken interpretations of their observations. A good example is the ‘mirror nerves’ that have excited researchers in the last decade. We have to clear away a fog of misinterpretation in order to perceive the actual data.

You quote Bill, apparently in the belief that he is saying that knowledge of physiology is the ‘ultimate authority’ in PCT:

WTP: If the effects of the model are just as hypothetical as the model, we don’t have a model, because we can’t check it against direct experience. The ultimate authority is always direct experience, the real reality we are incapable of doubting…« (LCS II, p.185)

BN: Bill is referring here to direct experience of a working simulation. The reason he wrote LCS III was to give people direct experience of the nature of control. I am not aware of any significant recourse to the facts of physiology in that book.

The observed organism is a ‘black box’ because it is difficult or impossible to conduct physiological investigations without disrupting the very phenomenon that we are investigating: control. A working PCT simulation is a ‘white box’, because we can look into it and know its structure and all the variables and functions in it. A simulation that accurately models the recorded behavior gives us important information about structures, variables, and functions within the ‘black box’ of the organism. (In recent decades software engineers have specialized the terms ‘white box’ and ‘black box’ to a somewhat different meaning.)

BN: I’ve said this before: If you have expertise in physiological research, Boris, then please, go for it. That kind of research will be wonderful to have. But the physiological research will be guided by what the PCT model tells us, not the other way around. Control loops may be implemented in ways other than those that Bill sketched in B:CP. The ‘gap junctions’ by which adjacent cells intercommunicate, and by which subtle chemical changes can very quickly be communicated cell to cell over astonishingly large distances and volumes of tissue, are one recent discovery. (http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v312/n5/full/scientificamerican0515-70.html) But regardless of how they turn out to be implemented physiologically, there is no question that there are negative feedback control loops in the body that are closed behaviorally through the environment.

BN: Further, the block diagram in Figure 2-3 of LCS III represents only one elementary control unit (ECU) at the very lowest level of the hierarchy, with only the slightest sketch of an indication that the perceptual signal goes up “to higher systems” and that the reference signal comes down “from higher systems”. This is important because if we look at one of those higher systems we see the same block diagram, except that everything on the environment side of the horizontal line must be defined differently. For an ECU that is located within the hierarchy instead of at the periphery, its output function (assuming that we are considering behavioral output into the external environment) comprises a number of ECUs at one or more levels below it, plus the output functions of those at the very lowest level at the periphery of the hierarchy, where we can finally see “observable behavior”. It is not at all straightforward to talk about the “behavior” of an ECU above the lowest level of the hierarchy.

HB: It seems that we do agree about most of features Bill proposed in his PCT, except whether »effects« of actions are »controlled« or are just effects.

BN: As we track around the loop in this simple block diagram, each variable is the immediate effect of one or sometimes two variables immediately before: p is the effect of Qi; Qi is the effect of Qo and d; Qo is the effect of e; e is the effect of r-p; and p is the effect of Qi. Obviously, the converse is also true: each is the cause of the next, with the exception of r and d, which enter from outside of this “wheel of circular causation”. What this means is that control is happening all around the loop. In particular, if the effect of Qo (together with the effect of d) upon “an aspect of the environment” did not determine the value of Qi, then there would be no control of p. Qi is therefore just as surely controlled as p is; and this follows also from the observation that p (the controlled variable that is compared to r) is a transform of Qi, where the transformation is represented by the gain constant ki. If you suppose that control is limited to just one variable, the variable p, or that Qi (a measurement of the ECV) is not controlled, that is an illusion–apparently an illusion created by words.

HB: Mathematical description by my opinion doesn’t help much in this moment, until some segments of »whole picture of organisms« are not provided for ex. in  diagram on p. 191 (B:CP) and help us understand how »organisms« function. I think that mathematics (algebra) is just helpful tool for expressing what is already understood clear. I used Henry Yin’s thoughts to help understanding what I meant:

HY : It is often believed that the calculation problem can be solved by computing inverse kinematics and dynamics or by feedforward computation to predict the future effects of actions using sophisticated mathematics. Â

BN: He’s talking about an entirely different approach, and he’s talking about some of the reasons that that approach is wrong and unworkable. I don’t see any relevance to what we’re talking about.

HB : By »phylosophy« I meant »exploring« and »manipulating« with words to achieve some goal (understanding of PCT for ex.). I think that everything can’t be concluded from »exploring« with words and symbols like Rick is doing it behind a computer screen.

Â

HB : We have also to go to explore into the nature (or second source in books), to get the knowledge of millions of physiologist, doctors and so on who are in contact with real peple (organism) every day. And their work is quite precisely written in books and in other methods of presenting knowledge. Henry Yin proved that this is the way to upgrade PCT. Because he did it.

BN: I think you’re complaining about Rick’s spreadsheet here. The purpose of that spreadsheet is to identify the observable variables in familiar examples of behavior. It’s addressed to the present audience on CSG-net, so some understanding of PCT is assumed. In order to understand a given example of behavior in terms of the PCT model, some of the variables and functions in the loop can be observed and the other variables and functions can only be inferred. It deals only with what can be outwardly observed. It is based on Bill’s Table 1 on p. 172 of LCS. That table uses familiar, everyday words to identify:Â

  1. Familiar examples of behavior (in the Behavior column), represented by (WTP:) “phrases of a kind used both in ordinary discourse and in scientific psychology to denote what an organism is doing”.Â
  2. Some of the subordinate or constituent parts of that behavior (in the Means column). (WTP:) “We can see immediately that the real actions … are all in the Means column. What is so casually called behavior results from the conjunction of many forces, only one of which is contributed by the [subject]. The Behavior column really lists consequences of the … actions, consequences that are not determined by the … actions, but are only influenced by them” in combination with influences from the environment (which are not noted in the table, but they are in Rick’s spreadsheet).
  3. An aspect of the environment affected by the behavior (in the Variable column)
  4. The desired condition for that aspect of the environment (in the Reference state column)

BN:Â Some of the behaviors in the Means column, e.g. “grasp”, have to be analyzed further before we get to variables that are controlled at the lowest level of the hierarchy (e.g. configuration of arm, spatial relation of hand to handle, configuration of fingers, pressure on fingers). Some of the items in the Variable column can’t be identified without applying the Test (is it the angle of the door that is controlled, or the width of the opening?). If measured values for Qo and Qi were obtained (they are not), then other variables in the loop could be inferred, e.g. p, r, e, and the input and output gain.Â

BN: Table 1 does not go to that level of detail because that is not its purpose. It begins by showing that (WTP:) “Behavior is really a consequence that results from adding together many influences, the majority of which act even in the absence of the behaving organism.” The primary purpose for doing that is to correct the prevalent mistaken views of what behavior is. Another purpose is to illustrate the kinds of observations that must be made in order to characterize the subject organism’s contribution to those influences. The table does not arrive at sufficiently precise or detailed observations to build a working simulation, but it points in the right direction.Â

I believe that these are more or less the purposes that Rick has in mind for his spreadsheet. I am confident that his aim is not merely “»exploring« with words and symbols behind a computer screen”. The purpose of the words is to direct the attention of active participants to familiar examples of behavior in such a way that we all become more fluent in making the *kinds *of observations that must be made in order to characterize the behaving organism’s contribution to the outcomes listed in the Behavior column, in accord with the value identified in the Reference value column. It may be that you are not interested in sharpening those observational skills. Your level of interest and your areas of interest are entirely your affair. Many things discussed here that are legitimate aspects of PCT may fail to address your particular interests.Â

BN:Â I’ll touch on one of the definitions that you were trying to correlate with equations to show how the words are about the equations, and not the other way around. The same can easily be done with the other equations and the corresponding verbal definitions.

BN: In the 2011 jointly authored paper, four interdependent equations are written:

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WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — input function

(2)Â e = r – p>Â — comparator

(3) Qo = Ko e — output function

(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance functions

WTP:Â PERCEPTUAL SIGNAL: The signal emitted by the input function of a system; an internal analog of some aspect of the environment.

BN:Â Equation (1) is identified as specifying properties of the input function of a system. Given the input quantity Qi and the multiplier Ki that quantifies the transformation from physical quantities to neural rates of firing, equation (1) gives the value of the perceptual signal, p. The definition of the perceptual signal says that it is the signal emitted by the input function of a system.

BN:Â Equation (1) states the analog relation of p to Qi. Qi is a “physical quantity”. Physics justifies taking Qi to be a representation of “a state of affairs outside the system”. A perception is defined as a perceptual signal which is a continuous analog of that aspect of the environment that is represented by Qi.Â

The equations express relationships between measured quantities that are necessarily associated with observed behavior, and between inferred quantities that are necessary in a model of a negative feedback control loop which, when implemented and made to run, replicates the observed quantitative relationships. That is what PCT is about. It is a quantitative science.

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···

On Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 1:52 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Bruce,

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I think that posting equatations makes our discussion as a continuing theme to agreement…

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BN : Boris, yes, I agree that our control of perceptual input appears to have effects on the environment. The appearance is such that our control of the perception appears to be our control of that which is perceived. I cannot join you in denying that it is in fact control of that which is perceived, because I don’t know whether it is or not. I have no way of knowing. Maybe you do.

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HB : I’ll try Bruce.

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From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 3:35 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

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HB: It’s opened phylosohpy discussion, until we »hit« the wall of physiological »facts«.

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BN: I agree that words about PCT need to be grounded, and that physiology is one important grounding. At the periphery of the hierarchy we have to identify the input function (sensors) and output function (effectors) in the course of identifying what perception is under control.Â

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BN: Above the lowest level of the hierarchy, we so far know very little of the neurophysiology of input functions and output functions. That doesn’t prevent us from creating very successful simulations implementing the PCT model.Â

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HB : I think we were the only who point out the future of PCT. Your presentation was at least for me even more convincing than mine. The use of PCT in this moment when so many questions stays open, doesn’t produce »power« that it should according to Bill’s goal that PCT is general theory about how »organisms function«. With Henry Yin article it come closer. But there is a lot of work to be done.

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BN: That is because the most important grounding of PCT is in the quantitative relationships of functions around the loop, where each is both cause and effect of the next, and each is both effect and cause of the prior. This can be clearly expressed only with mathematics. Words are at best suggestive, always ambiguous, and therefore always subject to more than one interpretation. Misinterpretations of PCT have been due to people relying on words without understanding PCT in quantitative terms.

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HB:Â I think that precise interpretation of words in PCT is what is defining it.

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BN: Yes, we try to be careful with words. But PCT is not defined by words. It is defined by dynamic relations between variables, best expressed by simultaneous algebraic equations. The words are invariably relatively loose approximations or indications, no matter how careful we are. Ambiguity is extremely difficult to avoid using words.Â

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HB : The problem with »dynamic relations between variables« (expressed by simultanenous algebra) as I see it. is that it doesn’t tell much about control, except that it makes maybe easier to understand the close loop circle. But I think that dosen’t mean that »algebraicly« defined circle explains control relationships. And operating with symbols has also some wickness. It’s obscure, simplifying problem.

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I think  It can be a mistake to annotate more to the symboly than they are expressing in relation to theory or oppinion. I think it just can be helpfull tool but not »all mighty« that could explain how organisms function.

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Symbols by my oppinion explain just »pure« relationship but not how »segments« themself function. So the »content explanation« of variables and functioning of the loop can be described qualitatively with quit a lot of physiology. As Henry Yin proved.

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BN: In the 2011 jointly authored paper, four interdependent equations are written:

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WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — input funcction

(2) e = r – p — comparator

(3) Qo = Ko e — output function

(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance functions

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HB : If these segments doesn’t have a MEANING than they are just symbols. So for better understanding what each »segment« means and represent in the loop I’ve added Bill’s explanation what specific segment annotate.

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WTP:

(1)Â Â p = Ki Qi — iinput function

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(2)Â Â e = r – p — comparator

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(3)Â Â Qo = Ko e — outpuut function

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(4)Â Â Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbancce functions

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Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion 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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HB : And everything has one probable explanation how control in the loop works :

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HB : All this is probably incorporated in Bill’s diagram, where Bill presented the understanidng of PCT. I think his understanding correspond to algebraic formulas and  »definitions«.

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But I also I think that even with Bill’s »meaning« explanations of algebraic formulas it’s not yet clear how control is distributed in the control loop although it seems clear to me. And I beleive it’s clear to Henry Yin, becausehe also look from the physiological perspective on PCT.

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So I think that it could be more clear what segments represent with »defitnions« and diagram (LCS III), if we use physiological evidences. Bill used them in B:CP to explain more precise hierarchy of control.

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HB : As I tried to point out before, we do have problem with mutual understanding what every symbol means and what diagram is representing. Or do we not have anymore ? It seems that we do agree about most of features Bill proposed in his PCT, except whether »effects« of actions are »controlled« or are just effects.

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But I’m interested whether can we agree about diagram (LCS III) that it represent effects in outer environment ? Or diagram needs changes ? By Rick’s understanding we should put »CV« into outer environment and it seems that he wants to turn »perceptual signal« into »controlled perceptual variabel« and instead of »output is not control« he tries to put »behavior is control« and so on. Can we at least agree that diagram (LCS III) represents PCT ?

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BN (earlier in discussion with Rick) : ……except to emphasize the role that PCT can play in guiding neuroscience research. I’m with Boris on the need for anatomical plausibility. Certainly it would be helpful to my interest in a PCT account of word dependencies in language if there are neural structures that compute probabilities as perceptual signals. I’m suggesting that we get that already as a property of perceptual input functions.

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HB : I think this is the way for PCT to advance and eliminate all »wickness« that it has (for ex. diagrams on p. 191, B:CP), where »whole« picture of PCT could be presented. I think that for final explanation we have also to explore with biological and physilogical means at least in parts that form organism (input, output function, comparator….) as you emphasiszed. . Environmental part is probbably part for physical reseacrh and so on.

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My conclussion is that it can’t be done everything with theorizing and »imagining« like Rick is doing. We need more.

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BN: Solving for p and combining the several gain constants to a global gain constant G = Ki Ko Kf:

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WTP:

(5)  p = (G/1+G)r  + ((Ki Kd D)/(1 + G))

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HB : Are this meanings the same ? Â

I think that sysmbols are useful didactical tool if we perfectly understand some scientific theory. But as I see it, our misunderstanding  is whether »p« involve any control or not. Whether »o« involve any control or not ? How can we get this from equatations ? Do any »K« involve control ? I think that we need more informations.

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BN: After using equation 4 to demonstrate that “the relationship of the response (output) to the stimulus (input) is determined primarily by the two environmental constants Kd and Kf, not by the actual input-output characteristics of the control system”, Bill went on to say

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WTP:

In sum, behavior is the externally visible aspect of a control process by which perceptual experiences are controlled.Â

*We control perceived results, not behaviors or actions. Behavior is the control of perception.*Â [Italics in original.]

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HB : Well this I see as a problem. Despite that you described everything in symbols (algebra) clearly, you went out of content that could explain what loop actually means. So you tried to solve it qualitatively with Bill’s explanation, what I would do too.

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And if I understoof you right, we would probably use also knowledge of other sciences to clear the meaning. You seems to be quite opposite to Rick. You see the problem much wider than Rick, and you are prepared to communicate and explore for more possibilities to »uncover« the real mening if it’s not clear enough, in comparison to Rick who promote only very narrow part of researching in PCT : tests and demos, which are mostly wrong.

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Beside that we already agreed, that Bill sometimes contradict himself, sometimes he changed his mind and so on, I think that he formed quite stable and clear theory, which is by my oppinion represented in his diagram and »defitnitions«. So is there any possibility that we agree on his algebraic formulas, qualitative »defitnions« and diagram (LCS III) ?

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Agreement could by my oppinion mean more stimulative to further exploring what is really behind his words and speccially behind diagram on o. 191, (B:CP). And that can be also established by natural experiments (like physiology), not only by tests or »demos«. If theory is wrong or ambigous, the tests and demos will be wrong as Rick demos for ex. proved mostly to be wrong. Because PCT in this moment is not clear in all segments. .

Bill P : »If the effects of the model are just as hypothetical as the model, we don’t have a model, because we can’t check it against direct experience. The ultimate authority is always direct experience, the real reality we are incapable of doubting…« (LCS II, p.185)

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HB : So as far as qualitative explanations of organisms functioning is concerned, I think that physiology gives some clear answers, because it’s coming form final arbiter : nature. When we don’t know what is »true«, we have to go and see for ourself what is true. In nature.

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Just »testing« and »making demos« will not help advance PCT. Henry Yin proved it in the best way he could. He was the first that I saw him really upgrading PCT. But he used also physiological means.

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Bill’s »behavior is control of perception«, can be interpreted in many ways, as you pointed out. It could mean also »behavior is (consequence) of control«, what is better match to his diagram. So I think that finaly we have to find physiological evidences as the »final arbiter« that will explain what is the content of every algebraic »segment« and how they work in relation to one another. Whether control is transfered or not from segment to segment.

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BN: The first sentence says that perceptual experiences are controlled by a control process, of which behavior is the externally visible aspect. This can be understood as saying behavior = observable outputs. The last sentence can be understood as saying that when you are observing behavior, you are observing the control of perception. But the form of the sentence is behavior = control.

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HB :

You wrote it very clearly : »The last sentence can be understood…«. If you put it as you did it can be aslo understood as contradiction to »we control perceived results, not behavior or actions«.

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And another interpretation CAN BE »behavior is not control«. I admitt that subjective explanations can be ambigous and maybe we are both right. So I’m dedicated to more evidences that can clear the meaning, And in this case I think that we need more evidences which are provided by physiology. Some are in Bill’s literature, speccially in B:CP, some of them were exposed in briliant Herny Yin article. Some of them have to be found in myriad of other books. So we could start with hard work of finding them.Â

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BN: This is not a definition! It is a rhetorical statement, part of Bill’s long argument against the prevailing view that perceptual input of stimuli causes behavioral responses. That rhetorical purpose is what I meant when I called this an “in-your-face” statement.Â

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HB : I appreciate your concern about understanding Bill’s statement. But we already established that rhetorical purposes can be always understood in many meanings. But can we agree about these meanings :

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Bill P.

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 in the immediate environment of the system…

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MT : “Behaviour”, at least in PCT, is the consequences of the output signal that is distributed eventually to the organism’s environment.

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BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”… It is limited to observable behavioral output; even more, it is limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

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HB : Is agreement about this three oppinions possible ?

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BN: If you want clear and precise definitions, go to the mathematics.

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HB : It seems that we are both aware that without clear explanation of all segments of control loop, which can come only from final arbiter nature (as Bill used to say) we’ll not be able to understand control loop in close relationship to how organisms function, what is the general and final goal of PCT.

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Mathematics gives as nothing if problem which we want to solve is not clearly qualitativelly defined with clear natural evidences. And in this moment PCT is on the half way. Mathematical description by my oppinion doesn’t help much in this moment, until some segments of »whole picture of organisms« are not provided for ex. in diagram on p. 191 (B:CP) and help us understand how »organims« function. I think that mathematics (algebra) is just helpfull tool for expressing what is already understood clear. I used Henry Yin’s thoughts to help understanding what I meant :

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HY : It is often believed that the calculation problem can be solved by computing inverse kinematics and dynamics or by feedforward computation to predict the future effects of actions using sophisticated mathematics. If only we can calculate the needed force output, it would be possible to produce movements [50, 51]. This feedforward approach requires enormous computational power and completely accurate knowledge of the physical interactions in the environment, if not omniscience. This is never found in any biological organism. Yet the calculation problem, after all, is solved by virtually all organisms.

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BN: I’m not sure what you mean by philosophy, and what exactly you’re objecting to. Bill was not at all averse to writing and talking about the consequences of PCT for epistemology.Â

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HB : By »phylosophy« I meant »exploring« and »manipulating« with words to achieve some goal (understanding of PCT for ex.). I think that everything can’t be concluded from »exploring« with words and symbols like Rick is doing it behind a computer screen.

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We have also to go to explore into the nature (or second source in books), to get the knowledge of milions of physiologist, doctors and so on who are in contact with real peple (organism) every day. And their work is quite precisley written in books and in other methods of presenting knowledge. Henry Yin proved that this is the way to upgrade PCT. Because he did it.

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Boris

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/Bruce

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It’s becoming clear to me that you want to protect Rick and his theory about »control of environment«. And you try to make it »foggy« with equatations and citations. Well if you want that we continue our talkings I’d like if you keep »on line« what we are talking about. Are you talking to me ? If you are not our conversation is over. Please try to answer my post or at least to these parts ? Otherwise we are done.

You extracted some of mine quotes and you arranged all the conversation as it suits you. Again, if you are talking to me, than asnwer to all of my quotes, not to one that you have choosen. What kind of person are you ?

We can go part ba part if you want. But no manipulations anymore. If you’ll start again, we are finished.

So I’d like you to analyze all formulas and Bill quotes, and tell me exactly where you think something is wrong or whether they match or not. I’m speccially interested whether you agree with OUTPUT FUNCTION.

Bill P.

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 in the immediate environment of the system…

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MT : “Behaviour”, at least in PCT, is the consequences of the output signal that is distributed eventually to the organism’s environment.

BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”… It is limited to observable behavioral output; even more, it iss limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

HB : Is agreement about this three oppinions possible ?

And than please answer whether you agree with Bill’s diagram (qualitatively) or not. And please concretely where you don’t. Please no phylosophy.

Phylosophy about Rick’s imagination and his RCT control loop we’ll discuss later. You are mixing everything and your intentions are becoming more and more clear. You are trying to disqualify me. Well if this is so, we can end our converstaion right now. Obviously you are not talking to me because some agreement.

WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — input function<

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(2) e = r – p  ” comparator

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(3) Qo = Ko e — output function

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(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance ffunctions

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion 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.

HB : And everything has one probable explanation how control in the loop works :

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HB : All this is probably incorporated in Bill’s diagram, where Bill presented the understanidng of PCT. I think his understanding correspond to algebraic formulas and »definitions«.

But I also I think that even with Bill’s »meaning« explanations of algebraic formulas it’s not yet clear how control is distributed in the control loop although it seems clear to me. And I beleive it’s clear to Henry Yin, becausehe also look from the physiological perspective on PCT.

So I think that it could be more clear what segments represent with »defitnions« and diagram (LCS III), if we use physiological evidences. Bill used them in B:CP to explain more precise hierarchy of control.

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HB : As I tried to point out before, we do have problem with mutual understanding what every symbol means and what diagram is representing. Or do we not have anymore ? It seems that we do agree about most of features Bill proposed in his PCT, except whether »effects« of actions are »controlled« or are just effects.

But I’m interested whether can we agree about diagram (LCS III) that it represent effects in outer environment ? Or diagram needs changes ? By Rick’s understanding we should put »CV« into outer environment and it seems that he wants to turn »perceptual signal« into »controlled perceptual variabel« and instead of »output is not control« he tries to put »behavior is control« and so on. Can we at least agree that diagram (LCS III) represents PCT ?

Best,

Boris

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From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2015 10:14 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.22.22:00 ET)]

HB: The use of PCT in this moment when so many questions stays open, doesn’t produce »power« that it should according to Bill’s goal that PCT is general theory about how »organisms function«.

BN: It may be helpful to refer to Bill’s comments on what constitutes understanding of a system, on pp. xv-xvi of LCS.

HB : The problem with »dynamic relations between variables« (expressed by simultaneous algebra) as I see it. is that it doesn’t tell much about control, except that it makes maybe easier to understand the close loop circle. But I think that doesn’t mean that »algebraicly« defined circle explains control relationships. And operating with symbols has also some wickness. It’s obscure, simplifying problem.

BN: I don’t know what “wickness” means.

BN: The POWER of PCT is apparent when it demonstrates that an organism

WTP: must, because of its inner nature, behave as we see it behaving. Its properties must grow out of its inner organization; its behavior must arise from its properties. (LCS p. xv)

BN: Those properties are specified, not by words, but by the equations of PCT. And they must be demonstrated to work.

WTP: The only kind of explanation I can believe is one that demonstrates the principles that are proposed. It’s not enough to say that a block diagram represents a system. One has to show that, in fact, a system organized in that way must behave in a particular way. If you can’t deduce how a system would work from the explanation, then you don’t have an explanation. The best way to prove that the explanation actually explains something is to cast it as a working simulation, turn it on, and let it operate by the rules you have put in it. If you can’t do that, then you don’t have a model or an explanation. All you have is more or less persuasive rhetoric. (LCS p. xvi)

BN: What this means is that the PCT model empowers you to design “a working simulation, turn it on, and let it operate by the rules” that the PCT model requires you to put in it, such that the working simulation produces quantitative results essentially identical to what a living organism would produce (by measurement). When a simulation of the behavior of an organism replicates the observed behavior with 99%+ fidelity, the inescapable conclusion is that the structures in that working simulation correspond very closely to structures in the living organism. We would love to verify the functioning of the corresponding structures in the living organism while it is in the course of producing the observed and measured behavioral outputs, but this is at best very difficult and usually impossible, by present art, although, as you have noted, Henry is making important inroads.

BN: That is the power of PCT that we have seen demonstrated over and over for the past 50 years. The making of generative PCT simulations that actually work, each controlling a specified variable or variables in the face of unpredictable disturbances. The making of these simulations is a central aspect of PCT methodology. Too few of us have actually produced any working simulations or demos. It is something that Rick has proven himself to be very good at. Rick’s models of data for baseball players, which you are so dismissive of, are actually a pretty good example. PCT gives a good, reliable explanation that could be used to help people learn to catch fly balls more effectively. I have not found a way to create working models of language as the control of perception, other than a PCT reinterpretation of Katseff’s work disturbing pronunciation. This is humbling to me. Perhaps a little humility is in order all around.

BN: Another aspect of the ‘power’ of PCT is how persuasive it is, and to whom it is persuasive (or not). The PCT explanation is straightforward, and many of us have discussed it. PCT is a disturbance to control of system concepts. System concepts are very difficult to change. Bill gave a very good account of this in his 1989 Preface to LCS.

WTP: A system concept is an attitude, an understanding, a world view. It’s a sense of orderliness and coherence that we see in a body of principles and generalizations [at the next level down]. It lives in an individual. It not only forms out of coalescing principles, but it determines which principles belong in the system and which do not. The process is one of assimilation and accommodation, simultaneous mutual adjustment between levels.

WTP: Acceptance of control theory requires a change in the beliefs of life scientists at the level of system concepts. System concepts bring order into principles; principles bring order into methods; methods bring order into symbolic representations; symbolic representations bring order into all lower levels of observation. Reorganizing a system concept therefore requires reorganizing everything else. The very way the world looks to us changes when a system concept changes. In fact, the system concept cannot change first. The whole system must reorganize at once. Newcomers to control theory do not all learn it the same way. One part of it is immediately clear to some, other parts to others. What we understand in one area of knowledge causes problems with what we thought we understood in other areas. Even in a willing individual, this reorganization can’t take place overnight. It requires years. It requires changes at levels where we all find voluntary change difficult, mysterious, or even impossible.

WTP: […] Control theory was never the only ingredient in this alternate view of organisms[…] Another important ingredient of this system concept is a view of what constitutes understanding of a system. […] To understand a system, we must be able to see that it must, because of its inner nature, behave as we see it behaving. Its properties must grow out of its inner organization; its behavior must arise from its properties.

Grasping PCT takes time. We must have patience while our brains sort things out, and keep giving them good mental food to eat.

(Rick, note the term “world view” here. You objected to Madden’s use of it. As you know, I have disagreed with Bill’s thinking of ‘symbolic representations’ as a level between ‘methods’ [programs and sequences] and all lower levels, and have proposed an alternative account within the PCT model.)

HB: it can’t be done everything with theorizing and »imagining« like Rick is doing

HB: Rick … promotes only very narrow part of researching in PCT : tests and demos, which are mostly wrong.

BN: Your dismissal of what Rick is doing, and your dismissal of the value of a generative working simulation built according to the PCT model, seems to me to be badly mistaken. But if you claim that a particular test or demo is wrong, it is incumbent on you to say what is wrong about it. If you don’t, it is not a serious claim, and cannot and will not be taken seriously.

HB: I think that it could be more clear what segments represent with »definitions« and diagram (LCS III), if we use physiological evidences. Bill used them in B:CP to explain more precise hierarchy of control.

BN: Here, you reproduced the block diagram in Figure 2-3 of LCS III. I am puzzled what you mean by physiology. There are no physiological terms in that block diagram. No sensory organs, muscles, neural structures, or other body parts are identified, nor any chemical or electrical processes found in a living body. That block diagram could be implemented in computer software, in a robot, etc. There’s nothing that constrains it to the structure and functional activities of biological organisms–which is what physiology is about. So what do you mean when you write the word “physiological” and when you say things like this:

HB: we have to find physiological evidences as the »final arbiter« that will explain what is the content of every algebraic »segment« and how they work in relation to one another. Whether control is transferred or not from segment to segment.

BN: However, notwithstanding the absence of any physiological items in the standard PCT block diagram, many of the functions and connecting paths in control loops are well understood anatomically. Even in the early 1970s, Bill showed how the reflex control loop is implemented in living tissue (Chapter 7 of B:CP). It would be marvelous to be able to ‘flesh out’ the anatomical details for every example of behavior that has been modeled and simulated in PCT, and for every example of behavior that we would like to model. But if our aim is to demonstrate the fact of control, or if our aim is to demonstrate that control is the basis of all behavior–irrespective of whether we ‘define’ behavior as an outcome of control (Table 1 of LCS) or as the visible aspect of control–that kind of demonstration is not required.

BN: Why is it not required? I’ll paraphrase Bill and others again: When a simulation of the behavior of an organism replicates the observed behavior with 99% or greater fidelity, the inescapable conclusion is that the structures in that working simulation correspond very closely to structures in the living organism.

BN: PCT provides a guide for anatomical and physiological research, not the other way around. Existing literature in physiology and anatomy assume a stimulus-response conception of behavior. As we recently have learned, neurophysiologists apparently use the term feedback as a synonym for afferent, as contrasted with feedforward, which for them means efferent. Yes, we can do research into (HB:) “the knowledge of millions of physiologist, doctors and so on who are in contact with real people (organism) every day… their work [which] is quite precisely written in books and in other methods of presenting knowledge”. But that ‘knowledge’ too often expresses fundamentally mistaken interpretations of their observations. A good example is the ‘mirror nerves’ that have excited researchers in the last decade. We have to clear away a fog of misinterpretation in order to perceive the actual data.

You quote Bill, apparently in the belief that he is saying that knowledge of physiology is the ‘ultimate authority’ in PCT:

WTP: If the effects of the model are just as hypothetical as the model, we don’t have a model, because we can’t check it against direct experience. The ultimate authority is always direct experience, the real reality we are incapable of doubting…« (LCS II, p.185)

BN: Bill is referring here to direct experience of a working simulation. The reason he wrote LCS III was to give people direct experience of the nature of control. I am not aware of any significant recourse to the facts of physiology in that book.

The observed organism is a ‘black box’ because it is difficult or impossible to conduct physiological investigations without disrupting the very phenomenon that we are investigating: control. A working PCT simulation is a ‘white box’, because we can look into it and know its structure and all the variables and functions in it. A simulation that accurately models the recorded behavior gives us important information about structures, variables, and functions within the ‘black box’ of the organism. (In recent decades software engineers have specialized the terms ‘white box’ and ‘black box’ to a somewhat different meaning.)

BN: I’ve said this before: If you have expertise in physiological research, Boris, then please, go for it. That kind of research will be wonderful to have. But the physiological research will be guided by what the PCT model tells us, not the other way around. Control loops may be implemented in ways other than those that Bill sketched in B:CP. The ‘gap junctions’ by which adjacent cells intercommunicate, and by which subtle chemical changes can very quickly be communicated cell to cell over astonishingly large distances and volumes of tissue, are one recent discovery. (http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v312/n5/full/scientificamerican0515-70.html) But regardless of how they turn out to be implemented physiologically, there is no question that there are negative feedback control loops in the body that are closed behaviorally through the environment.

BN: Further, the block diagram in Figure 2-3 of LCS III represents only one elementary control unit (ECU) at the very lowest level of the hierarchy, with only the slightest sketch of an indication that the perceptual signal goes up “to higher systems” and that the reference signal comes down “from higher systems”. This is important because if we look at one of those higher systems we see the same block diagram, except that everything on the environment side of the horizontal line must be defined differently. For an ECU that is located within the hierarchy instead of at the periphery, its output function (assuming that we are considering behavioral output into the external environment) comprises a number of ECUs at one or more levels below it, plus the output functions of those at the very lowest level at the periphery of the hierarchy, where we can finally see “observable behavior”. It is not at all straightforward to talk about the “behavior” of an ECU above the lowest level of the hierarchy.

HB: It seems that we do agree about most of features Bill proposed in his PCT, except whether »effects« of actions are »controlled« or are just effects.

BN: As we track around the loop in this simple block diagram, each variable is the immediate effect of one or sometimes two variables immediately before: p is the effect of Qi; Qi is the effect of Qo and d; Qo is the effect of e; e is the effect of r-p; and p is the effect of Qi. Obviously, the converse is also true: each is the cause of the next, with the exception of r and d, which enter from outside of this “wheel of circular causation”. What this means is that control is happening all around the loop. In particular, if the effect of Qo (together with the effect of d) upon “an aspect of the environment” did not determine the value of Qi, then there would be no control of p. Qi is therefore just as surely controlled as p is; and this follows also from the observation that p (the controlled variable that is compared to r) is a transform of Qi, where the transformation is represented by the gain constant ki. If you suppose that control is limited to just one variable, the variable p, or that Qi (a measurement of the ECV) is not controlled, that is an illusion–apparently an illusion created by words.

HB: Mathematical description by my opinion doesn’t help much in this moment, until some segments of »whole picture of organisms« are not provided for ex. in diagram on p. 191 (B:CP) and help us understand how »organisms« function. I think that mathematics (algebra) is just helpful tool for expressing what is already understood clear. I used Henry Yin’s thoughts to help understanding what I meant:

HY : It is often believed that the calculation problem can be solved by computing inverse kinematics and dynamics or by feedforward computation to predict the future effects of actions using sophisticated mathematics.

BN: He’s talking about an entirely different approach, and he’s talking about some of the reasons that that approach is wrong and unworkable. I don’t see any relevance to what we’re talking about.

HB : By »phylosophy« I meant »exploring« and »manipulating« with words to achieve some goal (understanding of PCT for ex.). I think that everything can’t be concluded from »exploring« with words and symbols like Rick is doing it behind a computer screen.

HB : We have also to go to explore into the nature (or second source in books), to get the knowledge of millions of physiologist, doctors and so on who are in contact with real peple (organism) every day. And their work is quite precisely written in books and in other methods of presenting knowledge. Henry Yin proved that this is the way to upgrade PCT. Because he did it.

BN: I think you’re complaining about Rick’s spreadsheet here. The purpose of that spreadsheet is to identify the observable variables in familiar examples of behavior. It’s addressed to the present audience on CSG-net, so some understanding of PCT is assumed. In order to understand a given example of behavior in terms of the PCT model, some of the variables and functions in the loop can be observed and the other variables and functions can only be inferred. It deals only with what can be outwardly observed. It is based on Bill’s Table 1 on p. 172 of LCS. That table uses familiar, everyday words to identify:

  1. Familiar examples of behavior (in the Behavior column), represented by (WTP:) “phrases of a kind used both in ordinary discourse and in scientific psychology to denote what an organism is doing”.
  1. Some of the subordinate or constituent parts of that behavior (in the Means column). (WTP:) “We can see immediately that the real actions … are all in the Means column. What is so casually called behavior results from the conjunction of many forces, only one of which is contributed by the [subject]. The Behavior column really lists consequences of the … actions, consequences that are not determined by the … actions, but are only influenced by them” in combination with influences from the environment (which are not noted in the table, but they are in Rick’s spreadsheet).
  1. An aspect of the environment affected by the behavior (in the Variable column)
  1. The desired condition for that aspect of the environment (in the Reference state column)

BN: Some of the behaviors in the Means column, e.g. “grasp”, have to be analyzed further before we get to variables that are controlled at the lowest level of the hierarchy (e.g. configuration of arm, spatial relation of hand to handle, configuration of fingers, pressure on fingers). Some of the items in the Variable column can’t be identified without applying the Test (is it the angle of the door that is controlled, or the width of the opening?). If measured values for Qo and Qi were obtained (they are not), then other variables in the loop could be inferred, e.g. p, r, e, and the input and output gain.

BN: Table 1 does not go to that level of detail because that is not its purpose. It begins by showing that (WTP:) “Behavior is really a consequence that results from adding together many influences, the majority of which act even in the absence of the behaving organism.” The primary purpose for doing that is to correct the prevalent mistaken views of what behavior is. Another purpose is to illustrate the kinds of observations that must be made in order to characterize the subject organism’s contribution to those influences. The table does not arrive at sufficiently precise or detailed observations to build a working simulation, but it points in the right direction.

I believe that these are more or less the purposes that Rick has in mind for his spreadsheet. I am confident that his aim is not merely “»exploring« with words and symbols behind a computer screen”. The purpose of the words is to direct the attention of active participants to familiar examples of behavior in such a way that we all become more fluent in making the *kinds *of observations that must be made in order to characterize the behaving organism’s contribution to the outcomes listed in the Behavior column, in accord with the value identified in the Reference value column. It may be that you are not interested in sharpening those observational skills. Your level of interest and your areas of interest are entirely your affair. Many things discussed here that are legitimate aspects of PCT may fail to address your particular interests.

BN: I’ll touch on one of the definitions that you were trying to correlate with equations to show how the words are about the equations, and not the other way around. The same can easily be done with the other equations and the corresponding verbal definitions.

BN: In the 2011 jointly authored paper, four interdependent equations are written:

WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — input function

(2) e = r – p — comparator

(3) Qo = Ko e — output function

(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance functiions

WTP: PERCEPTUAL SIGNAL: The signal emitted by the input function of a system; an internal analog of some aspect of the environment.

BN: Equation (1) is identified as specifying properties of the input function of a system. Given the input quantity Qi and the multiplier Ki that quantifies the transformation from physical quantities to neural rates of firing, equation (1) gives the value of the perceptual signal, p. The definition of the perceptual signal says that it is the signal emitted by the input function of a system.

BN: Equation (1) states the analog relation of p to Qi. Qi is a “physical quantity”. Physics justifies taking Qi to be a representation of “a state of affairs outside the system”. A perception is defined as a perceptual signal which is a continuous analog of that aspect of the environment that is represented by Qi.

The equations express relationships between measured quantities that are necessarily associated with observed behavior, and between inferred quantities that are necessary in a model of a negative feedback control loop which, when implemented and made to run, replicates the observed quantitative relationships. That is what PCT is about. It is a quantitative science.

/Bruce

On Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 1:52 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Bruce,

I think that posting equatations makes our discussion as a continuing theme to agreement…

BN : Boris, yes, I agree that our control of perceptual input appears to have effects on the environment. The appearance is such that our control of the perception appears to be our control of that which is perceived. I cannot join you in denying that it is in fact control of that which is perceived, because I don’t know whether it is or not. I have no way of knowing. Maybe you do.

HB : I’ll try Bruce.

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 3:35 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

HB: It’s opened phylosohpy discussion, until we »hit« the wall of physiological »facts«.

BN: I agree that words about PCT need to be grounded, and that physiology is one important grounding. At the periphery of the hierarchy we have to identify the input function (sensors) and output function (effectors) in the course of identifying what perception is under control.

BN: Above the lowest level of the hierarchy, we so far know very little of the neurophysiology of input functions and output functions. That doesn’t prevent us from creating very successful simulations implementing the PCT model.

HB : I think we were the only who point out the future of PCT. Your presentation was at least for me even more convincing than mine. The use of PCT in this moment when so many questions stays open, doesn’t produce »power« that it should according to Bill’s goal that PCT is general theory about how »organisms function«. With Henry Yin article it come closer. But there is a lot of work to be done.

BN: That is because the most important grounding of PCT is in the quantitative relationships of functions around the loop, where each is both cause and effect of the next, and each is both effect and cause of the prior. This can be clearly expressed only with mathematics. Words are at best suggestive, always ambiguous, and therefore always subject to more than one interpretation. Misinterpretations of PCT have been due to people relying on words without understanding PCT in quantitative terms.

HB: I think that precise interpretation of words in PCT is what is defining it.

BN: Yes, we try to be careful with words. But PCT is not defined by words. It is defined by dynamic relations between variables, best expressed by simultaneous algebraic equations. The words are invariably relatively loose approximations or indications, no matter how careful we are. Ambiguity is extremely difficult to avoid using words.

HB : The problem with »dynamic relations between variables« (expressed by simultanenous algebra) as I see it. is that it doesn’t tell much about control, except that it makes maybe easier to understand the close loop circle. But I think that dosen’t mean that »algebraicly« defined circle explains control relationships. And operating with symbols has also some wickness. It’s obscure, simplifying problem.

I think It can be a mistake to annotate more to the symboly than they are expressing in relation to theory or oppinion. I think it just can be helpfull tool but not »all mighty« that could explain how organisms function.

Symbols by my oppinion explain just »pure« relationship but not how »segments« themself function. So the »content explanation« of variables and functioning of the loop can be described qualitatively with quit a lot of physiology. As Henry Yin proved.

BN: In the 2011 jointly authored paper, four interdependent equations are written:

WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — input function

/div>
(2) e = r – p — comparatrator

(3) Qo = Ko e — output function

(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance funnctions

HB : If these segments doesn’t have a MEANING than they are just symbols. So for better understanding what each »segment« means and represent in the loop I’ve added Bill’s explanation what specific segment annotate.

WTP:

(1) p = Ki Qi — inputt function

cid:image006.png@01D113AF.CBA7A060

(2) e = r – p — comparator

&nbsnbsp;

cid:image001.png@01D113AF.1F578910

(3) Qo = Ko e — output function

cid:image003.png@01D122F8.7D677120

(4) Qi = Kf Qo +: — feedback and disturbance functions

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion 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.

HB : And everything has one probable explanation how control in the loop works :

cid:image005.png@01D122F8.F6270080

HB : All this is probably incorporated in Bill’s diagram, where Bill presented the understanidng of PCT. I think his understanding correspond to algebraic formulas and »definitions«.

But I also I think that even with Bill’s »meaning« explanations of algebraic formulas it’s not yet clear how control is distributed in the control loop although it seems clear to me. And I beleive it’s clear to Henry Yin, becausehe also look from the physiological perspective on PCT.

So I think that it could be more clear what segments represent with »defitnions« and diagram (LCS III), if we use physiological evidences. Bill used them in B:CP to explain more precise hierarchy of control.

cid:image016.png@01D113B4.04DDF0B0

HB : As I tried to point out before, we do have problem with mutual understanding what every symbol means and what diagram is representing. Or do we not have anymore ? It seems that we do agree about most of features Bill proposed in his PCT, except whether »effects« of actions are »controlled« or are just effects.

But I’m interested whether can we agree about diagram (LCS III) that it represent effects in outer environment ? Or diagram needs changes ? By Rick’s understanding we should put »CV« into outer environment and it seems that he wants to turn »perceptual signal« into »controlled perceptual variabel« and instead of »output is not control« he tries to put »behavior is control« and so on. Can we at least agree that diagram (LCS III) represents PCT ?

BN (earlier in discussion with Rick) : ……except to emphasize the role that PCT can pllay in guiding neuroscience research. I’m with Boris on the need for anatomical plausibility. Certainly it would be helpful to my interest in a PCT account of word dependencies in language if there are neural structures that compute probabilities as perceptual signals. I’m suggesting that we get that already as a property of perceptual input functions.

HB : I think this is the way for PCT to advance and eliminate all »wickness« that it has (for ex. diagrams on p. 191, B:CP), where »whole« picture of PCT could be presented. I think that for final explanation we have also to explore with biological and physilogical means at least in parts that form organism (input, output function, comparator….) as you emphasiszed. . Environmental part is probably ppart for physical reseacrh and so on.

My conclussion is that it can’t be done everything with theorizing and »imagining« like Rick is doing. We need more.

BN: Solving for p and combining the several gain constants to a global gain constant G = Ki Ko Kf:

WTP:

(5) p = (G/1+G)r + ((Ki Kd D)/(1 + G))

cid:image004.png@01D122F8.7D677120

HB : Are this meanings the same ?

I think that sysmbols are useful didactical tool if we perfectly understand some scientific theory. But as I see it, our misunderstanding is whether »p« involve any control or not. Whether »o« involve any control or not ? How can we get this from equatations ? Do any »K« involve control ? I think that we need more informations.

BN: After using equation 4 to demonstrate that “the relationship of the response (output) to the stimulus (input) is determined primarily by the two environmental constants Kd and Kf, not by the actual input-output characteristics of the control system”, Bill went on to say

WTP:

In sum, behavior is the externally visible aspect of a control process by which perceptual experiences are controlled.

We control perceived results, not behaviors or actions. Behavior is the control of perception. [Italics in original.]

HB : Well this I see as a problem. Despite that you described everything in symbols (algebra) clearly, you went out of content that could explain what loop actually means. So you tried to solve it qualitatively with Bill’s explanation, what I would do too.

And if I understoof you right, we would probably use also knowledge of other sciences to clear the meaning. You seems to be quite opposite to Rick. You see the problem much wider than Rick, and you are prepared to communicate and explore for more possibilities to »uncover« the real mening if it’s not clear enough, in comparison to Rick who promote only very narrow part of researching in PCT : tests and demos, which are mostly wrong.

Beside that we already agreed, that Bill sometimes contradict himself, sometimes he changed his mind and so on, I think that he formed quite stable and clear theory, which is by my oppinion represented in his diagram and »defitnitions«. So is there any possibility that we agree on his algebraic formulas, qualitative »defitnions« and diagram (LCS III) ?

Agreement could by my oppinion mean more stimulative to further exploring what is really behind his words and speccially behind diagram on o. 191, (B:CP). And that can be also established by natural experiments (like physiology), not only by tests or »demos«. If theory is wrong or ambigous, the tests and demos will be wrong as Rick demos for ex. proved mostly to be wrong. Because PCT in this moment is not clear in all segments. .

Bill P : »If the effects of the model are just as hypothetical as the model, we don’t have a model, because we can’t check it against direct experience. The ultimate authority is always direct experience, the real reality we are incapable of doubting…« ((LCS II, p.185)

HB : So as far as qualitative explanations of organisms functioning is concerned, I think that physiology gives some clear answers, because it’s coming form final arbiter : nature. When we don’t know what is »true«, we have to go and see for ourself what is true. In nature.

Just »testing« and »making demos« will not help advance PCT. Henry Yin proved it in the best way he could. He was the first that I saw him really upgrading PCT. But he used also physiological means.

Bill’s »behavior is control of perception«, can be interpreted in many ways, as you pointed out. It could mean also »behavior is (consequence) of control«, what is better match to his diagram. So I think that finaly we have to find physiological evidences as the »final arbiter« that will explain what is the content of every algebraic »segment« and how they work in relation to one another. Whether control is transfered or not from segment to segment.

BN: The first sentence says that perceptual experiences are controlled by a control process, of which behavior is the externally visible aspect. This can be understood as saying behavior = observable outputs. The last sentence can be understood as saying that when you are observing behavior, you are observing the control of perception. But the form of the sentence is behavior = control.

HB :

You wrote it very clearly : »The last sentence can be understood…«. If you put it as you did it can be aslo understood as contradiction to »we control perceived results, not behavior or actions«.

And another interpretation CAN BE »behavior is not control«. I admitt that subjective explanations can be ambigous and maybe we are both right. So I’m dedicated to more evidences that can clear the meaning, And in this case I think that we need more evidences which are provided by physiology. Some are in Bill’s literature, speccially in B:CP, some of them were exposed in briliant Herny Yin article. Some of them have to be found in myriad of other books. So we could start with hard work of finding them.

BN: This is not a definition! It is a rhetorical statement, part of Bill’s long argument against the prevailing view that perceptual input of stimuli causes behavioral responses. That rhetorical purpose is what I meant when I called this an “in-your-face” statement.

HB : I appreciate your concern about understanding Bill’s statement. But we already established that rhetorical purposes can be always understood in many meanings. But can we agree about these meanings :

Bill P.

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 in the immediate environment of the system…

MT : “Behaviour”, at least in PCT, is the consequences of the output signal that is distributed eventually to the organism’s environment.

BN : Yes, in the “Output Quantity” box in the PCT diagram in B:CP Bill wrote “[a] measure of [the] system’s physical output action or observed behavior”… It is limited to observable behavioral output; even more, it is limited to just those aspects of behavioral output that affect the state of the controlled input quantity qi and its transform, the perceptual variable p.

HB : Is agreement about this three oppinions possible ?

BN: If you want clear and precise definitions, go to the mathematics.

HB : It seems that we are both aware that without clear explanation of all segments of control loop, which can come only from final arbiter nature (as Bill used to say) we’ll not be able to understand control loop in close relationship to how organisms function, what is the general and final goal of PCT.

Mathematics gives as nothing if problem which we want to solve is not clearly qualitativelly defined with clear natural evidences. And in this moment PCT is on the half way. Mathematical description by my oppinion doesn’t help much in this moment, until some segments of »whole picture of organisms« are not provided for ex. in diagram on p. 191 (B:CP) and help us understand how »organims« function. I think that mathematics (algebra) is just helpfull tool for expressing what is already understood clear. I used Henry Yin’s thoughts to help understanding what I meant :

HY : It is often believed that the calculation problem can be solved by computing inverse kinematics and dynamics or by feedforward computation to predict the future effects of actions using sophisticated mathematics. If only we can calculate the needed force output, it would be possible to produce movements [50, 51]. This feedforward approach requires enormous computational power and completely accurate knowledge of the physical interactions in the environment, if not omniscience. This is never found in any biological organism. Yet the calculation problem, after all, is solved by virtually all organisms.

BN: I’m not sure what you mean by philosophy, and what exactly you’re objecting to. Bill was not at all averse to writing and talking about the consequences of PCT for epistemology.

HB : By »phylosophy« I meant »exploring« and »manipulating« with words to achieve some goal (understanding of PCT for ex.). I think that everything can’t be concluded from »exploring« with words and symbols like Rick is doing it behind a computer screen.

We have also to go to explore into the nature (or second source in books), to get the knowledge of milions of physiologist, doctors and so on who are in contact with real peple (organism) every day. And their work is quite precisley written in books and in other methods of presenting knowledge. Henry Yin proved that this is the way to upgrade PCT. Because he did it.

Boris

/Bruce

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.22.2100)]

BH: What can I say.

RM: How about nothing. Does nothing work for you?

RM: Remember, it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

HB : Right, You should keep silent. You sre misleading the whole CSGnet and dragging into »self-ragulaton«, not I. I just asked you if you agree with Bill’s »definitions« and his diagram. You didn’t answer. So I can conclude you don’t. This means that we have new RCT in the middle of CSGnet forum.

Best,

Boris

Best

Rick

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2015 6:03 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

On Sat, Nov 21, 2015 at 11:04 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Henry Yin on his incredible level of understanding PCT. My impression is that he wrote in Foreword to your book mostly about PCT and Powers and purpose itself and of course purposeful behavior. He mentioned you a little. Very »fine tunning« expression of PCT.

But you surprised. You somehow managed to avoid »self-regulation« expression. Although it sliped you once or twice… as far asI could see it in very fast review.

RM : … that an understadning of purposeful behavior as a process of control

RM : Describes the control theory view of purposeful behavior as a process of control….

RM : A controlled variable is a perceptual aspect of the environment that the behaving system is acting to bring to a pre-selected or goal state.

On the whole Preface and Introduction doesn’t look so bad, because emphases are not on »Behavior is control«, but »Purposeful behavior,« what could mean much more than »behavior is control«. It means at least to me, that purposes are formed in orgamism and I’m surprised that you started to emphasize the organisms control as the prior to »behavior control of environment«. But of course I don’t know how you express it in your book. I’ve read just what was available about your book.

But will not read ti, because I could »ruin« my good feeling about your book.

When I saw the Chapter about »Optical Trajectories and the Informational Basis of Fly Ball Catching« I realized that you again mixed some of your »behaviorist knowledge« in the book as this is with no doubrt a failure, as it is in Warrens and Tim’s article where they are citating your »Baseball Catch«. Your influence on CSGnet forum and mistakes which you made will probably need some time to vanish.

So sorry I’ll not read it. J

Best,

Boris

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 15, 2015 11:17 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1425)]

On Sat, Nov 14, 2015 at 11:12 PM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

Hi Bruce,

BH: as for the answer to your post is concerned I didivded it into two posts. One is dedicated to Henry Yin (he deserves by my oppinion special place in PCT)

RM: Finally we agree on something! Henry does excellent work in PCT. He does deserve a very special place in PCT. His only fault is having written a way to kind Foreword to my book “Doing Research on Purpose”. You should get yourself a copy today!

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Your post so long that I’ll »digest« it, quite some time. But when I’ll find something I’ll write, if it’s O.K. with you

BN: Your dismissal of what Rick is doing, and your dismissal of the value of a generative working simulation built according to the PCT model, seems to me to be badly mistaken. But if you claim that a particular test or demo is wrong, it is incumbent on you to say what is wrong about it. If you don’t, it is not a serious claim, and cannot and will not be taken seriously.

HB : I’ve objected os many times on CSGnet against Rick’s demos and tests, evne with the presence of Bill that you will have to look back in CSGnet and find those discussions. But mostly theay are about that environment or events in environmet determine behavior.

Best,

Boris Â

···

From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2015 10:14 PM
To: CSG
Subject: Re: Behavior is Control (was Re: Behaviour and “Behaviour”)

[Bruce Nevin (2015.11.22.22:00 ET)]

HB: The use of PCT in this moment when so many questions stays open, doesn’t produce »power« that it should according to Bill’s goal that PCT is general theory about how »organisms function«.

BN: It may be helpful to refer to Bill’s comments on what constitutes understanding of a system, on pp. xv-xvi of LCS.