[From Fred Nickols (970926.1214 ET)]
Rick Marken (970925.1320)
Fred Nickols (970924.1645 ET)
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.
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."
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.
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? to you too... [
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
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. 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).
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.
As for telling the truth, consider these words from Confucius:
"The truth is always good to know;
it is not always good to speak."
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