[From: Bruce Nevin (Fri 920710 13:42:31)]
(Bill Powers (920709.2000) ) --
Neuropeptides: rightly or wrongly, I am using this term in a generic
sense. I posted some stuff about work of Candace Pert and others a
while back, but this is certainly not my field.
Even so, I apparently included too much detail so that you missed the
main point, which is that control systems of one order (cells),
controlling for coordination, cooperation, or simply for a more stable
and predictable environment (which happens to include numerous of their
fellows), together can constitute what we recognize as control systems
of another order (ECSs within a complex living control system).
Each constituent cell of an ECS is in itself blind to the functioning of
the ECS. Nor does it in any direct sense control for helping to
constitute an ECS. Nor does it have any means for perceiving the ECS of
which it is a constituent.
Now let me restate the question about one cell controlling another, if I
can. Consider two neural fiber cells connected by a synapse. Does the
state of one control the state of the other, with respect to neural
impulses (modulo the value of the synapse)?
Consider an ECS with a sensory input function I, a reference input
function R, a comparator C, and an output function O. In this simple
and perhaps merely schematic example, I has coming into it a number of
neural fibers bearing sensory input signals, and it has leaving it one
neural fiber bearing a unified sensory input signal to the comparator.
Ditto for R, with respect to reference signals. Conversely, O has one
fiber entering and a number exiting. C has two entering from I and R,
and one exiting to O. Each function (I, R, O, and C) comprises a number
of cells, and each neural fiber is at least one cell. We want to say
that the input signal and the reference signal together determine the
error signal in the comparator, C. In this really rather complex chain
of inter-cellular relationships, does one cell in the chain control the
next, with respect to the transmitted neural current?
Perhaps with this context, what I said earlier turns out to say
something a little different than it seemed to?
If it does, please consider again the analogy to the human situation.