[From Rick Marken (930324.2100)]
Ken Hacker  --
Why all the excitement?
This all started (for me) when you said:
But I think that sometimes
the claims about how useless, futile and infantile other approaches to
understanding human behavior are, are a bit hyperbolic.
And I said:
So, please, be specific. Pick one PCT claim that seems "hyperbolic" and
explain (or better, tells us how we can demonstrate to ourselves) what
is hyperbolic about it.
Now you say:
Arrogance in what is called scientific activity is closing doors to
inquiry and citing mathematics or "working models" or experiments as
the only acceptable form of reasoning about knowledge claims.
So I'm arrogant because I ask for mathematics, working models or
experiments to demonstrate that a PCT claim is hyperbolic? What
are the alternatives you suggest?
But I prefer reasoning based on data as opposed to
reasoning based on someone in PCT says it's so and therefor you must
I am a really big fan of exactly the same thing; reasoning based on data.
But you said that citing mathematics, working models and experiments (all
of which I count as sources of data on which to base my reasoning) is
arrogant (closing the door to scientific inquiry). If you have some other
source of data that would help us reason about what you consider to be the
hyperbolic claims of PCT I would certainly consider them.
Science is based on data and
religion is based on faith. I want more data and less faith in regard to
Of course, Rick, if any of this bothers you, remember that such a thing
No bother. I was not trying to be mean or smart ass. What you said about
the hyperbolic claims of PCT simply aroused my curiosity -- really. I'm
not trying to call your bluff. I'm not interested in defending the "faith".
I really just want to know what it is about PCT that you find hyperbolic.
My aim is simple -- if you can give me some concrete data (or demonstration
or even a verbal description) of what you consider a hyperbolic claim of
PCT then maybe -- MAYBE -- I can come up with some way of convincing you
that the claim is actually supported by data. If not, I will happily admit
that the claim is hyperbolic and I will stop making it. I am interested in
doing this for several reasons: 1) yours is a common reaction to PCT, we have
you available on the net and maybe -- if we can figure out how to answer
your concerns -- we can answer the same concerns among the general population
of life scientists and 2) I want to try to convince you that PCTers are more
than willing to put the PCT model to the test; PCT is not a religion; the
model has been subjected to VERY rigorous tests -- and we want to continue
to test it. I want you to see that I am more than happy to subject PCT to
ANY and ALL tests -- the more the merrier -- and if it fails even one, the
model will be cheerfully exchanged or you can receive a complete refund.
I see no contributions of PCT, thus far,
to any claims about social interaction, societies, social systems,
organizations, cultures, or language.
Now you don't like PCT because it doesn't claim enough --
yesterday it was because it made hyperbolic claims. You don't
do this with your kids, do you?
I believe that when a sensor provides feedback to the comparator
and the comparator guides the activator, that the behaviors produced by the
activator generate external feedforward-feedback loops which are what I
study as social interaction. In other words, I think there is a social loop
to human behavior and control which does not deny, negate, replace, or
override the internal loops and levels described by PCT, and which exists
when the control system is in contact with other control systems.
That's a lot of believing and thinking. If that is your alternative to
evidence from mathematics, working models and experiments then YOU WIN.
Everything you say must be correct. On what basis could I possibly say
it is not -- other than by saying "you're wrong"? But you could
easily counter that by saying "no I'm not" or "I believe such and such".
When you're ready to look into the horse's mouth, I'm ready to help you