[From Rick Marken (930514.1400)]
Bill Powers (930514.1215 MDT) --
All this epistemology stuff is an interesting
puzzle, but unless it makes some difference in the way we build
and test models, it just leads us off into sidetracks that never
A large, approving nod on that one!
I don't think there's any real problem among us about the basic
principles of PCT or HPCT.
Part of the value of the net (for me, anyway) is that it can serve as
an educational tool. Discussions like those about "information in
perception" (that was the most recent and fruitful) can lead us to
do actual modeling to demonstrate aspects of control in ways
that are extremely educational and that might not have even been
considered if we had not been led to discuss the issue on the net.
The "information in perception" thread ended with the posting of
real data based on real models. This was a lot more than hot air; it's
what makes the net really valuable (especially if people are willing
to do some of the net-suggested work "off line" so that
it can become a useful part of the PCT repetoire of data, models
While the epistemological discussion is, indeed, likely to end
up as nothing more than wasted hot air, there have been two
recent threads that could lead to productive work. First, and by
far most important, is Tom Bourbon's cooperation experiment.
Tom gave a detailed description of the experimen,the model and
many of the results; I would imagine some substantive criticisms,
questions or comments could produce new variations or demonstrate
other principles of social interaction.
Second, Chuck Tucker has said:
I do guide my actions by the directions that I give myself by
setting reference signals and acting to accomplish them.
that does not fit in your model then your model is wrong but you
are not stupid; just wrong.
Tom Bourbon noted that this sounds a lot like an output
generation model of behavior and he has twice asked Chuck
for " suggestions about how to revise plan-driven models
and PCT models so that they reverse their relative positions
as predictors and producers of controlled perceptions". This
is a modelling question -- as Tom notes -- so it would be very
educational if Chuck would respond to Tom's request. Perhaps
there is a misunderstanding about what Chuck meant to say;
but I think the only way to get past these misunderstandings
is to try to cast our proposals and objections (to the extent
that this is possible) in the form of working models. This is
what we did in the "information in perception" and several other
of our more productive net discussions -- we can do it again!