# Osmo out of control

[From Rick Marken (931229.1130)]

Osmo Eerola to Rick Marken (931221.0930)

I am not arguing for simple S-R behaviorism! However, because of causality
we can say that there is in my angry dog example at first the (perception)
of the dog (stimulus) which switches my attention to this potential danger.
Let's suppose I am walking in a peacful park. My feedback control system
(of survival) is in a more or less "stable" state. Then I see the dog.
The perception of the dog causes that the control system of my survival
is no more in the stable state. If we name the dog as the stimulus and
the change of the control system state as the response, I still state
this is a S-R relationship (step response in CT terms).

Gee, Osmo. For a fella who knows all about how to apply CT to behavior
you sure say some peculiar things. What you are saying here is
eauivalent to saying that a sudden blast of heat from a torch near the
sensor of the thermostat is what causes the heater to be turned off
shortly thereafter (assuming the heater is on at the time). In other
words, you are saying that the "step response" of the heater is caused by
the "step disturbance" (torch) to the controlled variable (sensed
temperature). Do you know why this is not the case? That is, do you
know why the sudden blast from the torch (like the sight of the dog) is
NOT the cause of the subsequent response (heater going on or person
running from dog)? Hint: the only math needed to figure this out

This MUST be true at least for the very first infinitesimal time moments when
the photons from the dog hit my retina, and due to the delay in the control
system, this effect has not yet spread all over the closed loop.
Thus, the stimulus causes my raction as defined above.
Am I wrong - completely and utterly???

In a word -- yes.

If so, what caused my reaction?

The sudden deviation of the controlled variable from it's reference level.
Now your mission (should you choose to take it) is to determine what
causes the value of the controlled variable to be what it is (re-hint:

But, I dont think PCTers deny causality!

Indeed, we don't. We just know what causes what. Now it's your turn to
figure out what causes what in a control loop -- which should be easy
since you understand CT so well.

Do you mean B. Weiner or maybe N.Wiener?

I meant N. Weiner. By B. Weiner do you mean Bernard Weiner? If so,
then you know a LOT more about conventional psychology then you
let on. B. Weiner was actually a professor of mine (LONG AGO) at
UCLA. He studies motivation. A nice guy but, unfortunately, clueless

Osmo Eerola [931228 08.45 GMT] to Martin Taylor (931221 13:50)

Take a nice seat (your favourite chair), relax, close your eyes and
go back to the first childhood Christmas you remember. Stay there for a while.
How does PCT apply to your memories?

They are controlled imaginations (played back references for perceptions).
Try reading the memory chapter in BCP. This is really becoming tiresome.

Osmo Eerola [931228 09:30 GMT] to Bill Powers (931221.1130)

in my CT education, applying
it to living systems was mentioned in the first courses.

Apparently you didn't notice that they were applying it incorrectly.
We know that CT has already been applied to the behavior of living
systems. If CT had been applied correctly in the first place, then PCT
would have happened long ago. Now we're stuck with a bunch of
people who think that CT has already been applied correctly to
behavior. This is one of PCT's major problems; people think it's
already been done. It hasn't. The incorrect application of
CT to behavior has made it nearly impossible for PCT people to
get the attention of the behavioral science community -- which
assumes that the application of CT to behavior has already been
done and found wanting in some way.

If CT has already been applied correctly to living systems then
it should be easy for you to answer a few basic questions about
the application of CT to behavior:

1. What is behavior?

2. What is control?

3. How does one determine what a living system is doing
at any particular time (ie. how does one determine it's
behavior).

4. Is there a difference between intentional and accidental
behavior?If so, what is the difference (in CT terms)? How
does one distinguish between intentional and accidental
behavior (if there is a difference)?

I know that these questions may seem pretty elementary to
an old hand at the application of CT to living systems. But,
humor me; given me some nice clear answers so that I know
that we are taking about the same thing when we talk about the
application of CT to living systems.

Thanks a bunch.

Rick