From Ken Hacker  --
To Bill Powers
You recently described how social and behavioral scientists amass findings
about behavioral regularities and how PCT scientists develop first
principles about human behavior. I believe you are right, but I do not
agree with the implication that there is anything wrong with collecting
data about behavioral regularities. I think it is very useful. By knowing
what humans tend to do in various situations, we then have important
questions to answer. You make the connection yourself when you say that
PCT provides the underlying principles to predict those regularities.
When you say that PCT can explain all behavior in all circumstances, I
believe you are half right and half wrong.
You are correct in terms of controlling perceptions without considering
what context in involved. When we look at the complex of factors which
influence and constrain the human control system in a particular context,
your assertion is wrong, for the simple reason that all of those factors
are consequential if for no other reason than that they are perceived.
What I am saying here is that yes, PCT can explain the underlying reasons
why people control their perceptions, but it does not explain why they
do this in specific contexts of human activities. Now, you may say that
the contexts are not determinant and I agree, but I also think that the
contexts shape courses of action and make some far more likely than others.
For example, you are not likely to ask a judge in court questions, not
simply because you choose not to, but ALSO because you choose not to
in light of the fact that judges are not expected to answer questions and
you know that social norm.
In short, I think that PCT explains the individual control system, but
not systems or social systems.
That is where other sciences are useful. Both areas of knowledge are