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[From Fred Nickols (970926.1214 ET)]

Rick Marken (970925.1320)

Fred Nickols (970924.1645 ET)

Fred:

PCT won't get very far with most people if PCTers insist on
defining terms that are in common usage in ways that are
inconsistent with that common usage.

Rick:

I guess this little sentence got me more ticked than I originally
thought. I kind of resent the implication that PCT has not
gotten very far because its advocates insist on discussing it
using arcane and idiosyncratic language. I also don't like
the implication that the responsibility for non-acceptance
of PCT lies with its advocates rather than with those who
aren't accepting it.

I'm puzzled, Rick. What is the point of saying that you resent
implications that you've drawn? I never said or suggested anything
like "arcane and idiosyncratic language." It seems to me that you
are dueling with your own perceptions.

I would never say that "the responsibility for non-acceptance
of PCT lies with its advocates rather than with those who aren't
accepting it." What I would say is that the responsibility for
getting PCT accepted lies with those who want it accepted. Further,
if they're not making the kind of progress they would like--if their
perceptions of actual progress do not align with the kind of progress
they want--to attribute this lack of progress to those who aren't
doing the accepting suggests to me, in PCT terms, that what is being
controlled for isn't really progress in getting PCT accepted. What
it is, I don't know, but it suggests to me a self-image that aligns
quite nicely with "a voice crying in the wilderness."

Rick:

The idea that PCT has a problem because we "insist on defining
terms" idiosycratically came to mind while I was reading one
of the _Discover_ articles. Here's a little quote from an
article on "aggression':

"Despite all the neuroscientists have learned about brain
chemistry and structure, they in fact still know very little
about how the brain works, let alone how it governs action".

Now my idiosyncratic interpretation of this sentence (and
there is a sentence like this in nearly every paragraph of
every article) is that neuroscientists are trying to solve
the wrong problem. The brain doesn't govern action; it governs
the perceived consequences of action.

First off, Rick, that's a very fine distinction you draw, and
even if correct, its value eludes me. Second, the distinction
you draw is really just an assertion on your part. You don't
know that the brain does or doesn't "govern action." You might
have some pretty darn good data to support your belief that the
brain governs the perceived consequences of action (and you'd
need no data whatsoever to get me to agree to that point); I
believe it, too. But neither of us "knows" it. We can't know it
and we never will know it. It's unknowable. All we can ever do
is believe it or not. Third, I'm no logician nor skilled debater,
but it seems to me that, before you can seriously take issue with
a statement such as "...let alone how it [the brain] governs
action..," you have to define what you mean by "govern." To
haul out my rusty old fire control technician's grasp of things,
I'd have no problem whatsoever with a statement to the effect
that the computer in the plotting room controls the position of
the gun mount on the fo'c'sle. Is that technically precise in
terms of control theory? I don't know. I'm not sure I care.

Rick:

But maybe I'm being
too idiosyncratic; maybe I should read sentences like this
under the assumption that the writer knows that behavior
is the control of perception, not action. I should realize
that, based on common usage, what the author is actually
saying is that neuroscientists are trying to figure out how
the brain controls its own percpetual signals. Yes, that must
be what the author meant! Only a hostile perceptual control
theorist would think otherwise;-)

Struck a nerve somewhere, huh? :wink: to you too... [:slight_smile:

Rick:

As for those who blame lack of acceptance of PCT on those who
teach PCT rather than on those who are not accepting it, I
suggest that you learn PCT;-)

Who are you talking to, Rick? Me? I never blamed lack of
acceptance of PCT on those who teach it. I merely pointed out
that, if you want to get something accepted, communicating that
something using words to which you have attached definitions that
are very different from the definitions already in use is not
likely to prove particularly productive. Naturally, that's an
opinion, or view, or belief, or perception of mine, not a fact.
As for learning, PCT, I'm working on it, but it's not my life's
work.

Rick:

Oh, and I just had lunch with a group of people who scoffed at
my suggestion that people work in order to satisfy their wants,
not because they are reinforced (with money) for working.

In the future, pick your lunch partners more carefully. :slight_smile: It's
not my fault that you're hanging around with people who apparently
take jobs only for the money, who think that all other people do
the same, and who fail to see that money, a medium of exchange, is
simply a means of fulfilling other wants (including the wanting of
a lot of money).

Rick:

I'm sorry, Sancho. There are a ton of people out there who believe
that reinforcement is real and _necessary_. I'm afraid I'm not
willing to humor them and say "well, that's a way to look at it";
I'm just going to tell them the truth -- it isn't!

That remark is directed to Sancho, so I'll let him respond. :slight_smile:

As for telling the truth, consider these words from Confucius:

        "The truth is always good to know;

                        it is not always good to speak."

Regards,

Fred Nickols
Senior Consultant
The Distance Consulting Company
nickols@worldnet.att.net

[From Rick Marken (970926.1645)]

Fred Nickols (970926.1214 ET)

It seems to me that you are dueling with your own perceptions.

With what else could I duel? :wink:

I would never say that "the responsibility for non-acceptance
of PCT lies with its advocates rather than with those who aren't
accepting it." What I would say is that the responsibility for
getting PCT accepted lies with those who want it accepted.

Doesn't seem like a big improvement to me. My point was that the
responsibility for accepting (or not accepting) PCT is with the
person doing (or not doing) the accepting. I want people to accept
PCT in the same way I want world peace; I want it but I certainly
can't control it (produce it on purpose). If I try to control
for getting people to accept PCT (or control for world peace)
I will just be frustrated because these are perceptions I
cannot control. I cannot control them because, to do so I would
have to control perceptions that are being controlled by other
control systems. PCT shows that this can't be done.

People are responsible for the behavior of the percetions they control
(that's why OJ should have spent the rest of his misreble life in
jail and why his defense team should have been summarily executed)
People are _not_ responsible for the behavior of perceptions they
do not or cannot control (that's why I'm not blaming you for the
cruddy, east coast weather we've been having out here lately;-)

Further, if they [the one's wanting PCT accepted] are not making
the kind of progress they would like--if their perceptions of
actual progress do not align with the kind of progress they
want--to attribute this lack of progress to those who aren't
doing the accepting suggests to me, in PCT terms, that what is being
controlled for isn't really progress in getting PCT accepted.

Possibly. But it suggests to me that we are dealing with autonomous
control systems. We might want these control systems to accept
(control for) PCT but, apparently, many don't want to accept it.
Their non-acceptance of PCT is their own responsibility because
they are the one's controlling for non-acceptance. If I tried to
control for them accepting PCT all we would get would be conflict
(which is exactly what we see happening here on CSGNet, now that
I think of it; the conflict occurs when we try to get people to
accept aspects of PCT that they don't want to accept).

Me:

Now my idiosyncratic interpretation of this sentence (and
there is a sentence like this in nearly every paragraph of
every article) is that neuroscientists are trying to solve
the wrong problem. The brain doesn't govern action; it governs
the perceived consequences of action.

Fred:

First off, Rick, that's a very fine distinction you draw, and
even if correct, its value eludes me.

Then I can't see what value you see in PCT. The "fine distinction"
I am making is the whole PCT enchilada: behavior is the control
of perception, not action; understanding behavior is a matter
of learning what perceptions are being controlled, not what
actions are caused. This is not a fine distinction; it's an
_excellent_ one (maybe that's what you meant by "fine";-))

Second, the distinction you draw is really just an assertion on
your part. You don't know that the brain does or doesn't
"govern action."

I know that behavior is a process of control; I know that what is
controlled is perception, not action. I know that the brain and
nervous system are responsible for behavior ("kill the brain and
you kill the control ghoul"). So I guess I know that the brain
governs perceptual (afferent) inputs, not action (efferent)
outputs.

But neither of us "knows" it. We can't know it and we never
will know it. It's unknowable.

Actually, it's quite knowable, in principle anyway. Just plunk
an electrode into an afferent neuron, disturb the controlled
quantity to which the neural signal corresponds and watch for
little or no change in the neural signal.

Me:

As for those who blame lack of acceptance of PCT on those who
teach PCT rather than on those who are not accepting it, I
suggest that you learn PCT;-)

Fred:

Who are you talking to, Rick? Me?

Yes, among others.

I never blamed lack of acceptance of PCT on those who teach it.

It sure sounds like it to me.

I merely pointed out that, if you want to get something accepted,
communicating that something using words to which you have
attached definitions that are very different from the definitions
already in use is not likely to prove particularly productive.

And that's not blaming PCT teachers for lack of acceptance? What
you are saying here is that the PCT teachers _could_ get people to
accept PCT if they would just use words according to their accepted
definitions. It's hard for me not to hear this as saying that
the PCT teachers are responsible, becuase of the way they use words,
for the fact that people _don't_ accept PCT. You are saying that if
PCT teachers used words according to the definitions already in use
people would accept PCT . You are saying, in other words, that it
is the PCT teachers' fault that people don't accept PCT. Isn't that
what "blame" is?

I am willing to accept responsibility for communicating PCT as
clearly as possible; I can control that variable. But that's
where my PCT teaching responsibilities end. If I have presented
PCT as clearly as I possibly can and people continue to reject
one or another aspect of it, then that's not my responsibility.
I'm sorry that they don't accept it; I wish they would accept it;
but I'm not going to get tied up in my shorts about it because I
know I have no control over (no responsibility for) whether or
not another person accepts PCT; it's all up to them, just as it
was once all up to me;-)

"The truth is always good to know; it is not always good to speak."

Tell me about it;-)

Best

Rick

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Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net