Eileen, Theory

[From Dag Forssell (921226 12.00)] Eileen Prince (921226)

Apologies to all. I had meant my last posting to go to Bill but sent it
to the entire list instead.

This is what the list is for. Bill is not the only one who will
appreciate your thoughtful post. If you want to apologize, do so for EVEN
THINKING of depriving the rest of us of your contributions.

By the way, have you taken the time to read Ed Ford's book "Freedom from
Stress?" What did you think of it? Did you find it helpful? How can such
an introduction be improved? What questions (if any) does it open but not
answer? Ed and I would like to know.


With reference to the discussion between Rick and Martin, as well as
Bill's and Oded's postings, I would like to resubmit my chart of Dec 14.

                   What does "THEORY" mean to you?


Type 1 Hunch, expectation Common sense / What works
           based on experience. Statistical (sometimes?)
           Intuitive / Formal research

Type 2 Explanation, Engineering Why it works
           prediction, test. science (always?)

Type 3 Logical reasoning. Abstract Abstraction

Continued to the right.


..1 Trial & error / Long Poor Spotty
      data collection

..2 Create theory, Short Excellent Confident
      test theory

..3 Deduction Short Depends on Depends
                                            fit with fit with
                                            type 2 type 2

Cause-Effect is in the category of an Engineering science. Type 2.
Information theory etc. is in the category of Abstract science. Type 3.
Control Theory is in the category of an Engineering science. Type 2.

The abstract sciences (math, geometry, information theory, etc., etc.),
have NO connection to Boss REALITY. They cannot be tested, since they are
logical constructs ONLY. Their "validity" and usefulness depends ENTIRELY
on their application in support of a type 2 theory, which DOES have
connection with Boss REALITY.

The Cause-Effect engineering theory has failed more than once, but even
though the experimenters have read Karl Popper, they WANT to interpret
their "data" as supporting their theory. As Jean Luke Picard of "Star
Trek" fame so appropriately commands when someone has made a suggestion:
"Make it so!" "(Control for that perception)!" - "Proof" is found.
(Ref: "Skinners mistake" by W.T. Powers, CSG-l March 3, 1991)

As Rick and Martin now agree, it is the application of an abstract theory
(about which one otherwise can make NO value judgements) to a FAILED
engineering type theory, that created at least some of the previous
disagreements. (Certainly, the abstract theory being applied to the
engineering theory has to be appropriate to be useful).

What is needed above all is sound engineering theory. When it comes to
behavior, it is called PCT. If and when PCT fails once, we will not
ignore Popper, but modify PCT.

In the spirit of the season, I too wish everyone a time of appropriately
chosen perceptual references, allowing yourself and others enough
perceptual degrees of freedom, effective action on whatever Boss REALITY
is out there and satisfying perceptions of it.

Your choice: It's all perception / It's all control / All of the above

Best, Dag

To Dag and all:

Thanks for the encouragement.

I have read about a third of the book and hope to finish it this
vacation. So far it makes sense and I am both enjoying it and trying to
learn from it. I have had no trouble
with the idea that we have control over our perceptions of others nor
with the idea of dare I call it archetypes (though not necessarily
Jungian in the sense of being the same for all people -- I think that
was part of his theory) that are a kind of baggage that may govern our
perceptions if we don't see beyond them. I have to a great extent
"believed" these ideas since long before my exposure to PCT. That's
part of what appeals to me so much about the theory.

Here's a thought if someone really wants to proselytize. How about an
article for a magazine like COSMOPOLITAN, something with a header like:
"If You Think He's Prince Charming, It May All Be in Your Head: How PCT
Can Help in Evaluating Relationships." I say this not at all
tongue-in-cheek. I strongly believe in popularizing theories within pop
culture. Then they may be taken more seriously be "scientists."

Are there any takers? If not, I just may write the article myself,
though I won't have time until the second half of the new year because
of my ESL text writing schedule, etc.

Hope you really want my contributions on the list, because now I fear
I've just gotten started.

Here's to a fruitful new year, and thanks to all.


From Tom Bourbon (921228 9:23)

Eileen Prince (921226)
  It looks to me as though you are EXACTLY the person to do that article
for COSMO. That would move COSMOPOLITAN way up on my list, over some
of the things I read and skimmed during the extended weekend for the
holidays. If you want to get an idea of what behavioral ald life science
are like without the realization that living things are in a high-gain
negative feedback interaction with their environment, try these two
recent collections:

   American Psychologist, Vol. 47, No. 11, November 1992. The entire issue os d
devoted to the topic, "Reflections on B. F. Skinner and Psychology." The
22 articles, an introduction, and a historical note make this a rich source for
anyone who needs up-to-the-minute evidence that radical behaviorists say
the things we (would-be PCT authors) attribute to them -- reviewers like
to tell us our attributions are incorrect. (By the way, one of the denizens
of CSG-L is co-author of one of the articles, and a nice one it is!
Dennis J. Delprato & Bryan D. Midgley, Some fundamentals of B. F. Skinner's
behaviorism," pp. 1507-1520. This is a nice review exactly what they say
it is -- many of the fundamentals.)

  Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 15, No. 4, December 1992. An issue
on "Controversies in neuroscience I: Movement control. Gary Cziko
mentioned tghis one a few days back, but I just had to see for myself. Not
one mention of PCT or anything close -- well, there are a few commentaries
that come a little close, but not very. And the first of eight target
articles is by Bizzi, Hogan, Mussa-Ivaldi, and Goszter: "Does the nervous
system use equilibrium-point control to guide single and multiple jointt
movements?" Bill and Greg -- when you re-submit your manuscript on
ARM-LITTLE MAN, I am certain this reference, and its long list of
commentaries in B&BS, will be thrown back at you. Better look at it and
mention it.

  All in all, these two thick collections gave me a renewed appreciation
of the degree to which the idea of high-gain negative feedback control
has penetrated the behavioral and life sciences -- not one bit.
  A few days ago, I posted, "May Boss Reality tread lightly on the controlled
variables of you, and of those you love." I didn't expect to find my own
CVs stomped flat!
       (Bizzi's coauthor is Giszter, not Goszter.)
Until later,
   A two-dimensional Tom Bourbon