From Greg Williams (920928 - 2)


      >CLOSED LOOP GW 920923-2

      >I know it would be a great amount of work but I think that you
      >(Greg) can edit the transcripts of the conversation so as to
      >represent the major matters mentioned about "Influence and
      >Control". I do think that it would be useful to have a "summary"
      >of the discussion (as Cliff suggests). The other part of the
      >project I suggest, i.e., comments by other on the Net and a
      >future book, can wait to see it there is any interest in it.

Sounds OK to me, as long as ALL contributors get to OK the final version(s?).

      > I
      >think that one way to get people interested in these ideas is to
      >have our books in ther libraries in the country and ask (in some
      >instances FORCE) people to read them.

FORCE?!?! What an interesting suggestion for promoting PCT. How about burning
all non-PCT psychology books, for good measure? Do you teach a course in
ideology, by any chance?!?!

      >INFLUENCE AND CONTROL WTP 920922.0900; 23.0900
      > GW 920922; 23; 23-2
      > PW 920923

      >Unfortunately, I still have a problem with your specification of
      >what you mean and how you determine that A has influenced B.
      >The problem with these definitions that I find is that they are
      >stated in terms not consistent with PCT since they contain
      >attributes, i.e.,"the power or capacity," or notions which are S-
      >R, i.e., "to produce an effect" or "to flow in". But I don't
      >think you are using INFLUENCE in that way (at least most of the
      >time) but rather as a description of interaction where in A
      >figures out what B wants (call it "X") and provides it for A in
      >such a way that their interaction continues w/o force on the part
      >of either A or disturbances on the part of B.

That's right. I hope my just-posted summary helps to clear up the problem.

      >But it seems to me that in PCT terms for A to influence B to
      >"produce a certain effect" that B would have to take and use a
      >purpose (reference signal "X") "provided" by A since "a certain
      >effect" in PCT terms is action taken by B consistent with B's
      >reference signal X.

It's OK with me if you want to use "influence" solely in this way. I'm not
really very concerned about clinging to PARTICULAR matches between PCT
descriptions and PARTICULAR everyday/sociological terms; to me, the important
thing is to identify SOME matches between certain PCT descriptions and
everyday/sociological terms. If "influence" is best construed (because of
some sorts of historical precedents, fine) what PCT talks about as B's
learning/reorganization which depends (in part) on A, so be it. We're all
trying simply to make sense, first and foremost, and we don't make sense de
novo (except maybe to ourselves only)!

      >Thus, with this specification, Pat (please
      >excuse me if this is offensive to either of you) has influenced
      >your childrens' food preferences to the extent they have adopted
      >similar notions of "healthy" and /or "tasty" food and it seems
      >that there is no other source for these preferences. But even if
      >this is the case, Pat's actions have served only as an "occasion"
      >for the children to develop these preferences from a PCT

That is correct. Pat would then be A contributor to the result, not the ONLY
contributor. She would be necessary (assuming the kids wouldn't adopt the
notions without her "influence") but NOT sufficient for the outcome.

      >I say this not as a criticism of Pat (or anyone
      >else, including myself) but to simply point out that in PCT terms
      >all that we DO serves as an "occasion" for what others DO; we do
      >not determine what they DO.

Correct, unless we apply overwhelming physical force. This is what I've been
saying all along. Notwithstanding your feelings expressed above about the
proper use of "influence," I've been at pains to use that term because it (in
my opinion!) connotes PARTIAL cause and so stands in distinction to
"determination," which connotes COMPLETE cause.