PCT & EAB: from Mary

[from Mary Powers 951212]

Bruce Abbott (951211.1830 EST)

Bill P. saw your post to me before I did, and answered better
than I ever could. 'Nuff said. Except a couple of things at the

I'm sure physicists are as nasty to each other as geologists,
paleontologists, linguists, psychologists, etc. - but they can
evaluate each other's math - they are all playing the same game
by the same rules. It's kind of a telling criticism of
psychology as a science that those who are the most involved in
making it a science (i.e. quantitative) cannot do this. I know
your math is somewhat limited, and mine is extremely so,
requiring both of us to either get off the stick and learn it or
take it on faith from someone we trust. For us, and others like
us, Bill is introducing a set of grown-up rules into a game that
has so far been been played with kid's rules (like letting one's
grandson use 2-letter words in Scrabble). Unfortunately, the
kids think they are playing by grown-up rules, so when Bill
published something like his "Quantitative Analysis" paper, its
significance went unremarked, and a pseudo-quantitative paper
published at the same time (Myerson & Miezen) was perfectly
acceptable. (Roads not taken - I tried to nudge Bill towards a
critique of M&M but he was in a what's the use mode and also, as
I recall, writing the Byte articles).

Bill's main thrust right now is defining terms rigorously, and
separating out observations from assumed "empirical facts".
Think of the empirical fact that the sun goes around the earth.
The observation is of this bright object appearing in the eastern
sky, moving over to the west and disappearing. For centuries the
hypothetico-empirical facts were that this object was quite close
and quite small, leading to a model of the sun crossing the sky,
and later, going around a round world. Quite a shift to think of
the sun as very large and far away, and the earth turning. But
notice that I said the sun "appears". Even to say that what is
observed is the sun _rising_ is to subtly include an assumption
in an observation. For in the heliocentric model, the sun isn't
rising at all; the turning of the earth leads to a perception of
the horizon dropping away.

As for the paradigms of psychology. OK, lots of little,
unconnected paradigms. For psychology as a whole (not to mention
the life and social sciences too), none (except for the implicit
one of cause-effect/S-R/IV-DV). PCT is the first (but by no
means the last) great big - and explicit - one.

               * * *

Andy (951211.812)

Thanks for your offer of an EAB address - but:

So what do we do? Waltz onto an EAB list and say "Have we got a
theory for you!" :wink:

I think we have all the EAB we can handle (or stomach ;-})
reading published stuff - and for some of us, interacting with
(former, thank goodness) colleagues of that ilk. Meanwhile,
Bruce is (or was) as "real" an EABer as they come. Rick is
knowledgable, and so are Chris and Samuel, etc. etc. I don't
think we are PCT True Believers making this stuff up. BTW, this
net is only partly for explaining PCT to EABers (and control
engineers, and organization/management/industrial psych people,
and sociologists, and counselors/socialworkers/educators, etc.
etc.) who happen to come wandering by; it's for already committed
PCTers to keep in touch with each other and work on PCT itself.

Do we really look like we're playing, on our nice newsgroup?
Maybe you should roam through the archives a while. A couple of
weeks is not a good sample of the last 5 years. Try (I hope I
have this right) http://www.uiuc.edu/csg/ for PCT demos, readings
from the net and elsewhere, references, etc.

If I were to take up monitoring an EAB newsgroup, I would look
for any comments indicating that the author was dissatisfied or
puzzled, and send a note direct inviting him/her to check us out.
Any volunteers?

Meanwhile, welcome to csg-l.

Mary P.