"Let us now ignore famous men"

[MK (2014.11.25.0640 CET)]

Rick Marken (2014.11.24.1640) –

  1. There is no such thing as “behavior” […]

Rick Marken (920804) –

Well, here it is; my first “post - meeting - post”.

The Durango meeting was a joy, as usual. Every day was filled with
helpful discussions and fascinating demonstrations.

A general impression from the meeting: many of us (people) have a
great reluctance to abandon ideas that have at one time or another
been deemed “important” or treated as “fundemental”. Thus, for example,
it is difficult to believe that “reinforcement” is a useless concept; that it
is simply the result of a misperception of the phenomenon of control. A
famous man said it was important – and many famous men and women continue
to use the concept – so it MUST be important.

It is hard for people to believe that the fruits of the “great minds” of
the past could be completely useless; many people think that there must be
SOMETHING worth preserving from what went before – even when they accept
the value of a new point of view, such as control theory.


There are many places where control theory shows that some old, revered
concepts are just plain wrong or irrelevant.


Even when we make our case there is still the
feeling thaty there must be SOMETHING that can be salvaged from the old ideas.
But the fact is that control theory shows that these concepts are often just
flat out wrong and can be safely (and profitably) ignored. This is the
only proper response to these famous concepts.

Speaking about famous useless concepts: it is my understanding that the behavers thought about the purported ‘Behavior’ as being both a process (the process of control) and a variable (such as the perceived spatial position of an ‘object’). In one sentence the Behavior was believed to be a process, in another a variable. Is this what was meant by the ‘variability’ of the Behavior?