From: “Fred Nickols” (email@example.com via csgnet Mailing List) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 4:26 PM
Subject: RE: The controlled quantity (q.i) is data, the perceptual signal § is theory
[Fred Nickols (2018.05.29.1025 ET)]
FN : I get the distinction you are driving at, Rick. I think â€œtheoreticalâ€? vs â€œempiricalâ€? is a better way of labeling it than â€œtheoryâ€? vs â€œdata.â€?
HB : He is maybe really getting to the distinction between the perceptual signal and neural signal. Perceptual signal is theorethical construct and neural signal is theoretical construct. No distinction. I don’t understand how Rick is alive if his nervous system is working theoretically ?
From: Richard Marken (email@example.com via csgnet Mailing List) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 12:56 AM
Cc: Richard Marken email@example.com
Subject: The controlled quantity (q.i) is data, the perceptual signal § is theory
[Rick Marken 2018-05-28_21:46:30]
RM: In my reply to Rupert today I said:
RM… there seems to be general agreement that I am completely wrong to think that q.i is the controlled perception, p, from the observer’s perspective. I think this is the only way to see things if one is involved in doing research on PCT. Since most everyone on CSGNet is not involved in doing PCT research I suppose the only problem with not seeing that q.i as p from the observer’s perspective is that you’ll keep getting into useless verbal arguments about it with me.
RM: Upon reflection I realized that failure to understand that the controlled quantity, q.i, is the controlled perception, p, from the observer’s perspective is not just a problem for researchers. If you don’t understand this, then you don’t understand what is fundamental about PCT: that it is a theory that explains the fact of control as it is seen in the behavior of living systems.
RM: The controlled quantity is a variable that we see being kept in a reference state, often symbolized q.i*. Thus, variations (or lack thereof) in the controlled quantity, q.i, and the fact that q.i is being kept in a reference state, q.i*, protected from disturbance, are the data on which we base our conclusion that the behavior we see involves control. As Powers says on p. 175 of LCS “In these reference states we have the heart of the problem to which control theory is addressed”.
RM: So PCT (which was then just called control theory because that’s what it is) is the theory that accounts for the observed fact that organisms keep certain variables, q.i, in reference states, q.i*. The theory accounts for this fact by assuming that the organism controls a perceptual signal, p, that is an exact analog of q.i.
RM: It’s the fact of control (the fact that q.i is observed to be maintained in a reference state, q.i*, protected from normal disturbances) that motivates the theory that says that this observation is a result of control of perception. The controlled variable, q.i, is data. PCT says that this data can be accounted for by a theory that says that a perceptual signal that is an exact analog of of the controlled variable is being controlled. The perceptual signal, p, is theory.
RM: So the controlled variable, q.i, is unquestionably the observer’s perspective on what the controller is presumed to be perceiving (in theory). The idea that this is not the case is a misunderstanding of PCT so profound as to make even a detailed knowledge of the theory perfectly useless for understanding the behavior of living organisms.
Richard S. Marken
"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.â€?
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery