Mechanisms; rate decrease; purpose; (from cc)

[From Chris Cherpas (960127.0211 PT)]
   [re: Bruce Abbott (960127.1525 EST)]


What I have briefly sketched here is a theoretical basis for the notion that
some sensory qualities are under certain conditions experienced as pleasant
and will be sought, whereas others will be experienced as unpleasant and
will be rejected and avoided. Things that produce the former sensory
quality serve as reinforcers; things that produce the latter sensory quality
serve as punishers. The rest are neutral.

An EABer might also add that pleasant/unpleasant feelings, per se,
are a side effect. Some organism/environment conditions are reinforcing,
others punishing, others neutral -- all due to evolution. EABers might stress
that the only important thing is that the organism reproduce some conditions
(reinforcing) and avoid others (punishing).

BTW1, the continued issue of reinforcement decreasing response rate is
spurious. I challenge anyone to answer this: Do you think that given a
choice between more immediate food versus less immediate, a hungry
organism would choose the less immediate?

The notion that an organism does "whatever" it can to get those pesky
inputs to match reference levels (PCT) is not incompatible with the notion
that actions which historically accomplish this better are predictive of
future actions (RT).

BTW2: "Purpose" is apparently important to PCT purely to maintain the illusion
of the organism as being a prime mover. An evolutionary account is sufficient,
whether on the phylogenic or ontogenic level. Face it: PCT's technical
definition of purpose is hardly more "purposeful" than EAB's.

But talking about purpose may be good public relations -- that is,
until people find out that we're just talking about biological thermostats.
On the other hand, maybe there's a personal agenda for some PCTers -- i.e.,
having a theory that is "purposeful" and therefore somehow restores
humanity to a place in the center of the universe. How comforting %->.

The differences between EAB and PCT are what they are; exaggerating them
doesn't add anything useful for me -- it's just fun to ridicule I guess.
IV-DV pairs and loops are both useful ways to conceptualize functional units.
I'm personally getting increasingly interested in loops, but the whining that
PCT has gotten an unfair chance in our supposedly S-R culture has no more
appeal than EAB's lament over mentalism.


I'll bet if I ask him about it, Killeen will offer an explanation close to
if not identical with the one I sketched in above. I think I _will_ ask
him; perhaps I will be surprised by his answer.

Why doesn't somebody send Killeen email and invite him to participate?