Tom Bourbon [940920.0835]
[from Mary Powers 940919]
Jeff Vancouver 940913
Your comment on Locke's indifference to the implications of
having a positive feedback loop was interesting ("he did not seem
I will probably not hear back from him, because in his last to me
he called me presumptuous (for suggesting that he should learn
something about control theory before criticizing it). He said
Wonderful, Mary. Henceforth we cannot be accused of being nasty when we
say that, on the subject of control theory, there is no reason to take
Locke seriously. He is a popular dispenser of -- who knows what, but it is
not control theory as a theory that explains the phenomenon of control.
We can add Locke to a growing list of experts on control theory who
declined our earnest offers to communicate on the subject: Carver, Lord,
Bandura. Can anyone else suggest other names for the list? How many more
must we add before it becomes obvious why there is a lack of "bridges"
between PCTers and other experts on control theory?
You quoted Locke:
I do not plan to read the 1973 book you cite [BCP], partly,
because based on what you have said in your letter, it will
be more of the same, and partly because the title itself is
invalid. People do not behave to control perceptions but to
achieve values, ie, to live. In short, I believe that your
premises are _fundamentally_ mistaken. Given this, there is
little point haggling over details.
This beautiful piece (which deserves framing on the wall above every
PCT modeler's computer) demonstrates that we have been right, all along,
when we told people it was pointless to look for similarities between
PCT and whatever that stuff is that Locke dishes out. When it comes to the
phenomenon of control, it seems there is no point to looking for people
whose ideas are "close, in principle," to PCT. After witnessing the
antics of many almost-PCTers, I am just about convinced there is no such
animal as an expert on control theory whose ideas are close to PCT, "in
principle." It has always turned out to be all or nothing.
Maybe Bill should retitle the book "Behavior, the control of
perception in order to achieve values". In any event, it should
be noted that when Locke talks about control theory it is not
just from ignorance - it is from deliberate ignorance.
It is noted. In my biased book, innocent ignorance is no vice, but the
deliberate ignorance I have seen in many so-called "almost-PCT" experts is
another matter. Thanks, Mary.