Confusion of theory and methodology

[From Bruce Nevin (20200603.08:30)]

Boris Hartmann (CSGnet Jun 3, 2020, 12:30 AM) a.k.a. here Borislav_Harihari, objects to what he calls “RCT definition of control”. This is his characterization of what he objects to:

  1. Control of behavior – controlling some “controlled variable” in external environment to some reference state
  2. Feedback function : pushing perception of controlled variable in outer environment toward references
  3. Creation of Controlled perceptual variable by input function – control of CPV in comparator …
  4. COMPARATOR : Function that takes a perceptual and a reference signal as input and produces an error signal as output,

Setting aside the ad hominem rhetoric of ‘RCT’ meaning “Rick’s control theory”, objections 1 and 2 fail to distinguish experimental methodology from theory.

  1. Methodology : The reference state is observed in the environment. It is quantified as q.i , in the same way that d and q.o are also observed and quantified.
    Theory : The reference value is inferred from the observed reference state.
  2. Methodology : The controlled perception and its reference value are identified by the Test for controlled variables. In the Test, the experimenter controls their perception of environmental input to what they perceive to be the perception that the subject is controlling.
    Theory : a comparator outputs the difference between the perceptual input signal and the reference signal, producing an error signal which is transformed to muscle tensions producing actions that counter disturbances to their controlled perceptual input.

#3 seems to say that the comparator, and not the input function, creates control. The perceptual input function receives input (from the environment or from lower-level perceptual signals) and creates a perceptual signal. However, the comparator does not control that signal, the entire loop controls that signal. No single function in the loop creates control.

If #4 is an objection to something, the objection is not stated.

Actual experience applying the methodology of PCT is essential for proper understanding of its theory. At minimum, experience working through the Test to identify what is controlled. Confusions about the nature and status of environmental variables come from failure to think carefully about the experience of performing the Test. In the Test, it is essential to assume the subject’s point of view and not impose the observer’s point of view. Understand clearly what the relationship is between what the experimenter is perceiving and controlling and what the subject is perceiving and controlling.

RM: It’s simpler than that. Except for the definition of Comparator, these are just not the way I would define these things. Here is the way I would define them:

  1. Control of behavior – Acting to bring some aspect of an organism’s behavior to a reference state specified by a controller.

  2. Feedback function : the characteristics of the environment that determine how the output of a control system affects the state of a controlled variable.

  3. Creation of Controlled perceptual variable by input function – the perceptual process that transforms a controlled aspect of the environment into a neural signal that is the analog of that variable.

  4. Comparator – Function that takes a perceptual and a reference signal as input and produces an error signal as output. (This one he got exactly right).

If you want to call that RCT then I’d be honored. But the honor actually belongs to Bill Powers, who developed the theory.

Best

Rick

Bruce, Rick,

well it seems that it wasn’t enough answer on CSGnet.

Whatever phylosophy Bruce you are showing here is just phylosophy (empty talking) without any scientific evidence…But you already know that. How many times do we have to discuss that PCT is scientific theory and scientific methodology and evidences has to be used. Do you understand the difference between phylosophy and science ???

Rick, it’s true that changed your RCT (Ricks Control Theory) couple times and here we have another nonsense version :

  1. (RCT) Control of behavior – Acting to bring some aspect of an organism’s behavior to a reference state specified by a controller.

HB : Ha,ha aspect of organisms behavior (what that could be) ??? Organisms behavior is brought to reference state ? How that is happenning ? First you should explain how behavior works ?
Reference specified by controller ? Could you explain how reference signal is specified in controller with removing question mark on 11.th level in diagram on p. 191 (B:CP, 2005) ???

  1. (RCT) Feedback function : the characteristics of the environment that determine how the output of a control system affects the state of a controlled variable.

HB : And where do you see “controlled variable” in the environment in diagram LCS III ??? O.K. show us how your definition works with everyday behavior : standing and observing, walking, sleeping etc. Which and where are those “controlled variable” in environment. PCT is general theory about human behavior and whatever theory you use it ahould explain any behavior…

And finaly could you explain why your definition so strongly depart from PCT definition of “Feedback function”.

FEEDBACK FUNCTION (Powers, 2005) : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the action of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

HB : Do you understand what Powers is saying about “feedback function” ???

  1. (RCT) Creation of Controlled perceptual variable by input function – the perceptual process that transforms a controlled aspect of the environment into a neural signal that is the analog of that variable.

HB : What is Controlled Perceptual Variable ? Something that is bringing “control” into organism through sensor ? Is that something that is result of control of “controlled variable” in environment ???
What is “controlled aspect of environment” ??? Something controlled in environment with “control of behavior” or with Telekinesis ??? Where in the whole Powers PCT literature can you find term “Controlled Perceptual Variable” or CPV ??? Explain some “Controlled Percpetual Variable” in everyday life experience ?

  1. Comparator – Function that takes a perceptual and a reference signal as input and produces an error signal as output. (This one he got exactly right).

HB : O.K. explain to us how comparator (neuron) can be function ??? You can use physiological literature or neurophysiological explanation of how neuron or nervous system works. If neurons and nervous system would be “functions” you wouldn’t think. And why is your definition so drasticaly different from Powers.

(PCT) Powers:
COMPARATOR : The portion of control system that computes the magnitude and direction of mismatch between perceptual and reference signal.

HB : Do you understand the difference between “function” and “computation” in PCT ???

Best,
Boris