[From Fred Nickols (2015.11.08.1553)]
The post below is from Bill in 2008 responding to me. The first paragraph is mine; the rest is Bill’s. I think it’s germane to the ongoing discussion about behavior IS control or behavior serves to control. I do think it is fair to say that all behavior is an attempt to control. I’m also willing to say that behaving is a process of control (or, again, attempted control). But I also know full well that not all effort to control this or that variable are successful. As I say from time to time, our control is far from perfect. So I am also willing to say that behavior is an attempt to control. I’m still choking on “behavior is control.”
AVG certification.txt|attachment (162 Bytes)
From: Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet) [mailto:CSGNET@LISTSERV.UIUC.EDU] On Behalf Of Bill Powers
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 11:17 AM
Subject: Re: Wiki update - redefining behavior
[From Bill Powers (2008.01.03.0907 MST)]
Fred Nickols (2008.01.03.0715 MT) –
More than any other thing I think that statement gets in the way of advancing PCT. I don’t have any problem with “behavior controls perception” nor do I have any difficulty with saying “behavior serves to control perception” or even “the function of behavior is to control perception.” But, for zillions and zillions of us out here, behavior is the activity of the organism.
You could be right, since it keeps provoking arguments. However, it does get people to stop and think a bit if they’re inclined to wonder how that could be right. I thought I was clever in picking a title for BCP that could be understood either way, so the usual reader would start out thinking it meant “Behavior: how perception controls it” and then, somewhere in the book, realize that it meant just the opposite: “Behavior: how it controls perception.”
I have learned since BCP not to play tricks on the reader and to say what I mean right up front. Being too clever usually doesn’t work. So I agree with you, but I’m not going to recall BCP for a change of title.