From [Marc Abrams (2004.10.28.0949)]
[From Bill Powers (2004.10.26.1452 MDT)]
Control is a process that emerges when perception, comparison, and action
form a closed loop with a feedback link outside the control system. Neither
perception, comparison, nor action are (necessarily) control processes in
themselves; that is, we can understand each part of the system without
having to analyze it further into lower-level systems, and the parts do not
have to be treated as control systems in themselves.
Very Interesting statement. I don’t disagree with this in principle, but if this were true, why bother with the hierarchy? What purpose does it serve, and more importantly does it in fact explain perceptions, reference levels and how we acquire either one?
Does it? I don’t think so. Should it? I think it should. Will it? Not if we depend on the expnasion of PCT to take place on CSGnet it seems.
[From Bill Powers (2004.10.26.1255 MDT)]
I define a belief as a proposition I accept without having what I consider
to be reasons to think it is true. I believe, for example, that cashiers
give the the right change, and I don’t make a big fuss about counting my
change down to the penny. To say I believe it doesn’t mean I think it’s
true; it just means that I operate on the basis that it’s true, to avoid
If you want to argue that cashiers are not honest, I
won’t argue against you. I might even count my change more carefully for a
while if you persist in your doubts. A belief is only a working hypothesis,
adopted for a purpose. It has no value of its own. Its only value is in
what it accomplishes, or seems to accomplish, for you.
This certainly sounds like an accurate description of the PCT hierarchy to me.
The preexisting belief or notion behind this is that when beliefs are given
the status of truth, true knowledge goes out the window. Belief leads us to
ignore counterexamples, to accept data without checking it just because it
leads to the answer we want. It leads us to imagine supporting evidence
where there is none and to avoid looking for evidence that the belief is
wrong. In short, it leads to the exact opposite of scientific knowledge.
Bill, this is a tough way to view 35 years of work on your part. I guess blocking e-mails from people who might provide views that go against strongly held beliefs is one way of avoiding the pain, another might be to take each argument on its own merits and toss what you feel is unwarranted. Of course doing the latter would require some actual concern for the truth on your part as well as some backbone to take some critisism
What I call true knowledge is not, of course, true in any ultimately
provable sense. It is simply the best we can do in creating good models of
the real world.
Spoken like a true philosopher. What pray tell is a ‘good model of the real world’. According to whom?
Honest observation, searching for contrary evidence, and
open means of testing and reasoning are our best guarantees of arriving at
Why is your practice different than your belief? How do you ‘serach’ for contrary evidence when you refuse to acknolwledge the work of others as being useful or important? Why do you have such a difficult time in supporting others who might have a different view of things than you do?
Belief is almost sure to lead to false knowledge,
superstition, and self-deception. That is why I try to avoid it in
important matters – more important than getting the right change at the
You talk a wonderful game. Its inspiring. When you actually start practicing what you preach we will all be better off. Please tell me how you check yourself for ‘self deception’?
Do you really believe you have ‘objective’ introspective discussions with yourself? How do you disconfirm a belief if you are unwilling to listen to how others assess what you say and do?
If you believe your introspection is self evident, than so will the ‘truths’ be that it represents. On this basis, it would become obvious as to why you can’t give up the notion of the hierarchy.
As a very dear friend of mine told me recently. I am not your enemy. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t bother.
The thought that you think your major contribution is wrapped up in that hierarchy is mind boggling. Do you really have such a narrow view of what you have done?
In pointing out that you and Jay Forrester seem to have the same view on behavior, the fact of the matter is that you don’t, and the differences are important to the BOTH of you.
But this would hardly matter to you if you have no concern or interest in it. Where is your ‘scientific’ curiosity? Where is your searching for the truth?