[From Rick Marken (940719.1400)]
Jeff Vancouver (940718) --
(seek similarities with others, not differences).
Along with Mary Powers (940717) I think it is a mistake (well- intentioned,
but a mistake nevertheless) to assume that you can move others (and
yourself) toward PCT gradually, by seeking similarities with what they
(and you) already believe . As Mary says:
There really are no baby steps to take between behavior as outcome,
consequence or result, and behavior as the control of perception
I certainly agree with you Marken [940711.2200] "Conventional psychology and
PCT ... are talking PAST one another." You say because they don't study
control. Humor me, I say they do sometimes study it, just not always
exactly like you.
Humor me back, Jeff. Give me one example of a conventional psychological
study in which control is the object of study.
I say a difference is the emphasis on an individual's concept of their
place in the world versus the actual hierarchy.
This has nothing to do with control as it is defined in PCT. I wrote a long
post on the nature of control; perhaps we can start from there. Once you have
read and understood that post, please give me an example of a conventional
psychological study of control, even if that study is not exactly like one
Again I ask, where does PCT stand on the self-concept?
I believe the term typically refers to a high level perceptual variable or
set of variables. I think I control many different perceptions that have to
do with my "self" -- simple perceptions like where I am at any particular
time and complex perceptions like perceptions of myself following certain
priciples and system concepts. I think there is room for what has been called
the "self concept" at all levels of the perceptual control hierarchy.
I did have a strong objection to your calling Carver & Scheier liars.
Sorry. I re-read my post where I said this and I see that I expressed myself
poorly. I didn't mean to say that C&S are liars. I meant that I would be a
liar if I presented PCT as Carver and Scheier do. C&S are NOT liars because
they have no idea what control is or how PCT explains it; they are not being
duplicitous when they make PCT seem compatible with what conventional
psychologists are already doing because they have no idea how PCT differs
from what conventional psychologists are doing. I, however, do know what
control is and how PCT explains it. I also know how PCT differs from what
conventional psychologists are doing (so do Tom B., Bill P. and Mary P.).
Therefore, if I made PCT seem compatible with what conventional psychologists
are doing, I would be a liar. I'm not
Your faith in the TEST is great. Yet, even Runkel said it is hard to
determine controlled perceptions during reorganization. There may be other
ways. PCTers need not pursue them, but can't they let others without
saying it is useless?
You'll have to expand on this one a bit. What is "faith in the Test"? The
Test is based on the definition of a controlled variable; it works --
amazingly well (ever do the "Mindreading" demo?). Where's the faith part? And
what does reorganization have to do with it; if you are reorganizing -- and
not in control of any particular variable -- then there IS NO variable under
control and the Test will reveal that fact. The phrase "it is hard to
determine controlled perceptions during reorganization" makes no sense;
controlled perceptions are controlled perceptions. It doesn't matter at all
whether they are controlled during reorganization or during a thunderstorm in
Houston; if they are there, the Test will pick them up; no question. So I'm
sure that Phil Runkel never said anything like that becuase Phil makes a lot
Unfortunately, the E.coli, where you "showed" reinforcement does not work
confirms my straw model argument. Reinforcement is operationalized as "use
the last turn that resulted in denser foodstuffs" according to your
documentation. Why not remember the last vector. Why not remember the last
set of vectors?
Why not try that model? I'm REALLY tired of hearing this stuff about "straw
men" theories and then getting verbal descriptions of how it could "really"
be done -- and never being shown that it CAN really be done that way. Talk
about faith! How stupid do you think Bill Powers and I are, anyway? We tried
every model we could think of that was consistent with reinforcement
principles as we understand them; none worked. Knowing that reinforcement
theorists would say that we only tried "straw men" versions of their theory,
we asked - - begged, pleaded with - - reinforcement theoriests to show us how
to do it RIGHT; we asked to see how ANY version of their theory could produce
the operant behavior in the E. coli study. All we get from reinforcement
theorists is the same line you deliver in the next sentence:
your model does not convince you have given reinforcement theory a fair
What would convince you? What model would be fair? If we come up with the
model, it's a straw man (as long as it doesn't work, and none of our "straw
men", so far, have worked); but the reinforcement theorists won't show us how
to do it "correctly". They just say (like you) that reinforcement theory CAN
explain our results. Pretty cute. Apparently, reinforcement theory cannot be
rejected. It's proponents do not feel like it's necessary to do anything more
about our data than be unconvinced and say that we are not fair. Well,
excuuuuuuse me for daring to challenge the wisdom of reinforcement theory.
(I am not bring it up t argue for reinforcement theory, but to note the use
What are you arguing for then, Jeff, the unrejectability of a theory? You
say you are not arguing FOR reinforcement theory but you are also saying (not
showing, SAYING) that the theory CAN explain the operant behavior in the E.
coli situation, where the consequences of actions are random. I think you're
missing a bet, here, Jeff. If I were you, I'd be arguing FOR reinforcement
theory; then I couldn't possibly be wrong.
Re: alerts, good and bad.
We have a tough time noticing that we (via our references) determine
that any particualr perception is _bad_ or "alerting".
Martin Taylor (940718 18:50)
Why do you associate "alerting" with "bad?"
Bill Leach (940719.01:04 EST)--
Now here is one place where I seem to be agreeing with you as opposed to
Don't worry, fellas. It's a non-issue. I happened to think of "bad"
deviations of perceptions from references while I was writing about alerts
because most of the "alerts" we deal with here in the satellite biz are "bad"
(indicate something wrong with the "bird"). But, of course, an "alert" is any
perception that deviates from a reference. When a gorgeous young lady with
legs up to her neck walks by that is also an alert for me -- a "very good"
Martin Taylor (940718 16:00) --
I remember some caustic comments a while ago about the Brooks and similar
groups who don't realize that it is perceptions that are controlled.
But they DON'T realize that perceptions are controlled. What's the problem?
The caustic comments?
I believe that their micro-robots would work better if they were built
according to PCT principles, but you can't charge those guys with not
testing their models to see if they could work.
No one charged these guys with anything other than being clueless about
the fact that the behavior of the systems they are trying to imitate (living
systems) is the control of perception. So these folks are NOT modelling
control; their models just produce fancy looking outputs in the real world;
but the automata that were built in the 17th century did the same thing --
and in the real world too. Nu?
Their tests more stringent than tests conducted within a computer-simulated
If they were tests of control, they would have been more stringent than many
of our tests of control . But as it sits they have just produced stringent
tests of the ability of their models to produce fancy outputs in the real
When you miss seeing the phenomenon of control, then you miss it; that's it.
Psychologists have been watching people behave in the real world for years
and they have never noticed that people were controllng their perceptions;
Brooks et al are in the same boat; they don't build robots that control
perceptions so they don't test to see how well those robots control in the
real world. Real world or no, Brooks et al have no idea that the behavior
of living systems is the control of perception.
Paul George (940719 11:30) --
In design I must anticipate different kinds of disturbances that the system
must detect in order to control the process (sorry;-).
I think you're going to have to diagram one of these controllers of yours. In
a real control system, there is no need to detect or anticipate disturbances.
I thought that you agreed with Bill's definition of disturbances?
Ideally I will design the control system so that the process _cannot_ run
away and no hazardous situation can occurr.
I think we need a diagram of what you call a control system. Could you give
us a diagram of one of the "control systems" you build at work, identifying
controlled variables, disturbances, etc.
I'm getting the distinct impression that what you call a "control system" is
not a control system . A lot of people you the word "control" as a sysnonym
for "cause"; could this be what's going on in "process control"?