Precisely backwards

Martin Taylor (2014.01.01.23.48)–

MT: I think you have it precisely backwards… PCT doesn’t explain control. It uses control to explain other things.
RM: What other things
MT: Life, generally. For a few specific examples: why we eat, how we talk, how we walk, how trees deal with parasites or lost branches, what we choose to study, how we treat other people, why dogs live with humans and wolves don’t, how communities evolve, why we accept orders from some people and not others
[From Dag Forssell (2014.01.07.20:10 PST)]

I have been thinking about Martins post and have concluded that he is right on.

Thanks, Martin!!!

PCTers have been talking about the phenomenon of control, as in the late 1980s video by Bill that Rick endorsed today.

The fact that Bill talked about the phenomenon of control does not make control a phenomenon. With hindsight, this now appears to me a mistake.

···

==============================

In astronomy, you have the phenomenon of the sun crossing the sky every day.

To many, this must be magic. But magic one takes for granted. That is the way it is.

Egyptians offered an explanation: The sun is pulled by a chariot.

It was very important to keep the chariot going.

Ptolemy provided an explanation: The sun revolves around the earth, along with everything else.

Copernicus provided an explanation: The earth revolves around its axis.

The question is: Which explanation is best and most useful. Today you might ask: Which explanation will help you navigate your rocket to Mars?

To the best of my understanding we do not call the solar system a phenomenon.

We consider the mechanism of the solar system to be an explanation.

==============================

Rick cites “the production of consistent results by variable means in the face of disturbances”. This verbiage is loaded with theoretical interpretation, PCT-style.

Normal human beings do not describe what they see using such terminology.

How about “When I push on you, you push back”?

I would bet that most people have no idea why. It is magic, as is so much else in the world we live in. Lights turn on when you flip a switch – magic. The car accelerates when you step on the gas – magic. Most people skip techie subjects in school. Few ponder in-depth physical explanations for anything. Yet there are physical explanations for everything. Some of them we have not yet figured out, of course.

Watson and Skinner provided an explanation: The environment stimulates you to push back – because you have been reinforced to do so.

Cognitive psychologists provide an explanation: Your brain takes in sensory data from the environment, processes it, decides it does not like it, and issues commands to your muscles to push back.

PCTers provide an explanation: A control system with a given reference signal resists disturbances.

Most every human being, with the exception of a few dozen PCTers, consider the phenomenon to be that you push back when I push on you. Those who have any understanding at all most likely think that the reason is called stimulus and response. Most have no understanding of control, much less interest in how control works. There is no phenomenon of control to take an interest in. So why care?

It has been a mistake to call control a phenomenon. Control is not a phenomenon except perhaps for the very, very few who study control systems in engineering school, where control emerges from a certain arrangement of physical components.

What is interesting is that the mechanism of control provides an explanation for most phenomena in life.

==============================

I think Martin is right. By leading a conversation with a proclamation about control – a phenomenon nobody has ever heard of, much less understood – we lose our audience right away. Deservedly so.

If instead we can pick a phenomenon, such as any of the ones Martin alludes to; perhaps even the car staying in its lane on a windy day, and delineating the possible explanations, then evaluate which ones are nonsense and which feasible, we might get somewhere.

There are any number of phenomena one could pick that are of vital importance to people. The phenomenon of people following a leader. The phenomenon of people hating a micro-manager. The phenomenon of people distressing about alternatives in their lives.

Reams of literature has been written to propose explanations for such phenomena in order to provide guidance for better results, peace of mind, whatever. Some explanations offered are on par with the Egyptian chariot, others elaborate and on par with everything revolving around the earth. PCT is the explanation that is on par with the idea of the solar system. Outrageously wrong to those who KNOW in their bones that the earth is the center of the universe, but necessary and useful for those who have aspirations to send rockets to Mars.

PCT provides an explanation for the phenomena of life. An simple and clean explanation with awesome explanatory powers. An explanatory mechanism, not a phenomenon in itself.

==============================

Best, Dag

Martin Taylor
(2014.01.01.23.48)–

MT: I think you have it precisely backwards… PCT doesn’t explain
control. It uses control to explain other things.
RM: What other things
MT: Life, generally. For a few specific examples: why we eat, how we
talk, how we walk, how trees deal with parasites or lost branches, what
we choose to study, how we treat other people, why dogs live with humans
and wolves don’t, how communities evolve, why we accept orders from some
people and not others
[From Dag Forssell (2014.01.07.20:10
PST)]

I have been thinking about Martins post and have concluded that he is
right on.

Thanks, Martin!!!

PCTers have been talking about the phenomenon of control, as in the late
1980s video by Bill that Rick endorsed today.

The fact that Bill talked about the phenomenon of control does not make
control a phenomenon. With hindsight, this now appears to me a mistake.

···

==============================

In astronomy, you have the phenomenon of the sun crossing the sky every
day.

To many, this must be magic. But magic one takes for granted. That is the
way it is.

Egyptians offered an explanation: The sun is pulled by a chariot.

It was very important to keep the chariot going.

Ptolemy provided an explanation: The sun revolves around the earth, along
with everything else.

Copernicus provided an explanation: The earth revolves around its
axis.

The question is: Which explanation is best and most useful. Today you
might ask: Which explanation will help you navigate your rocket to Mars?

To the best of my understanding we do not call the solar system a
phenomenon.

We consider the mechanism of the solar system to be an
explanation.

==============================

Rick cites “the production of consistent results by variable means
in the face of disturbances”. This verbiage is loaded with
theoretical interpretation, PCT-style.

Normal human beings do not describe what they see using such
terminology.

How about “When I push on you, you push back”?

I would bet that most people have no idea why. It is magic, as is so much
else in the world we live in. Lights turn on when you flip a switch –
magic. The car accelerates when you step on the gas – magic. Most people
skip techie subjects in school. Few ponder in-depth physical explanations
for anything. Yet there are physical explanations for everything. Some of
them we have not yet figured out, of course.

Watson and Skinner provided an explanation: The environment stimulates
you to push back – because you have been reinforced to do so.

Cognitive psychologists provide an explanation: Your brain takes in
sensory data from the environment, processes it, decides it does not like
it, and issues commands to your muscles to push back.

PCTers provide an explanation: A control system with a given reference
signal resists disturbances.

Most every human being, with the exception of a few dozen PCTers,
consider the phenomenon to be that you push back when I push on you.
Those who have any understanding at all most likely think that the reason
is called stimulus and response. Most have no understanding of control,
much less interest in how control works. There is no phenomenon of
control to take an interest in. So why care?

It has been a mistake to call control a phenomenon. Control is not a
phenomenon except perhaps for the very, very few who study control
systems in engineering school, where control emerges from a certain
arrangement of physical components.

What is interesting is that the mechanism of control provides an
explanation for most phenomena in life.

==============================

I think Martin is right. By leading a conversation with a proclamation
about control – a phenomenon nobody has ever heard of, much less
understood – we lose our audience right away. Deservedly so.

If instead we can pick a phenomenon, such as any of the ones Martin
alludes to; perhaps even the car staying in its lane on a windy day, and
delineating the possible explanations, then evaluate which ones are
nonsense and which feasible, we might get somewhere.

There are any number of phenomena one could pick that are of vital
importance to people. The phenomenon of people following a leader. The
phenomenon of people hating a micro-manager. The phenomenon of people
distressing about alternatives in their lives.

Reams of literature has been written to propose explanations for such
phenomena in order to provide guidance for better results, peace of mind,
whatever. Some explanations offered are on par with the Egyptian chariot,
others elaborate and on par with everything revolving around the earth.
PCT is the explanation that is on par with the idea of the solar system.
Outrageously wrong to those who KNOW in their bones that the earth is the
center of the universe, but necessary and useful for those who have
aspirations to send rockets to Mars.

PCT provides an explanation for the phenomena of life. An simple and
clean explanation with awesome explanatory powers. An explanatory
mechanism, not a phenomenon in itself.

==============================

Best, Dag

This is a falsely dichotomous and overly semantic debate.

We are sentient beings and we perceive at various levels; none is the level of pure ‘phenomena’. One person’s phenomena is another person’s explanation. For many people both ‘when I push you push back’ and ‘you are controlling your food intake’ are both phenomena. Explanations vary in their level of sophistication and accuracy under various tests. PCT takes us deeper into the explanatory detail but not quite deep enough yet for the full artificial development of a living organism controlling.

Does that make sense folks? Now let’s get into those details!

Warren

···

Sent from my iPhone

On 8 Jan 2014, at 05:03, Dag Forssell csgarchive@PCTRESOURCES.COM wrote:

Martin Taylor
(2014.01.01.23.48)–

MT: I think you have it precisely backwards… PCT doesn’t explain
control. It uses control to explain other things.
RM: What other things
MT: Life, generally. For a few specific examples: why we eat, how we
talk, how we walk, how trees deal with parasites or lost branches, what
we choose to study, how we treat other people, why dogs live with humans
and wolves don’t, how communities evolve, why we accept orders from some
people and not others
[From Dag Forssell (2014.01.07.20:10
PST)]

I have been thinking about Martins post and have concluded that he is
right on.

Thanks, Martin!!!

PCTers have been talking about the phenomenon of control, as in the late
1980s video by Bill that Rick endorsed today.

The fact that Bill talked about the phenomenon of control does not make
control a phenomenon. With hindsight, this now appears to me a mistake.

==============================

In astronomy, you have the phenomenon of the sun crossing the sky every
day.

To many, this must be magic. But magic one takes for granted. That is the
way it is.

Egyptians offered an explanation: The sun is pulled by a chariot.

It was very important to keep the chariot going.

Ptolemy provided an explanation: The sun revolves around the earth, along
with everything else.

Copernicus provided an explanation: The earth revolves around its
axis.

The question is: Which explanation is best and most useful. Today you
might ask: Which explanation will help you navigate your rocket to Mars?

To the best of my understanding we do not call the solar system a
phenomenon.

We consider the mechanism of the solar system to be an
explanation.

==============================

Rick cites “the production of consistent results by variable means
in the face of disturbances”. This verbiage is loaded with
theoretical interpretation, PCT-style.

Normal human beings do not describe what they see using such
terminology.

How about “When I push on you, you push back”?

I would bet that most people have no idea why. It is magic, as is so much
else in the world we live in. Lights turn on when you flip a switch –
magic. The car accelerates when you step on the gas – magic. Most people
skip techie subjects in school. Few ponder in-depth physical explanations
for anything. Yet there are physical explanations for everything. Some of
them we have not yet figured out, of course.

Watson and Skinner provided an explanation: The environment stimulates
you to push back – because you have been reinforced to do so.

Cognitive psychologists provide an explanation: Your brain takes in
sensory data from the environment, processes it, decides it does not like
it, and issues commands to your muscles to push back.

PCTers provide an explanation: A control system with a given reference
signal resists disturbances.

Most every human being, with the exception of a few dozen PCTers,
consider the phenomenon to be that you push back when I push on you.
Those who have any understanding at all most likely think that the reason
is called stimulus and response. Most have no understanding of control,
much less interest in how control works. There is no phenomenon of
control to take an interest in. So why care?

It has been a mistake to call control a phenomenon. Control is not a
phenomenon except perhaps for the very, very few who study control
systems in engineering school, where control emerges from a certain
arrangement of physical components.

What is interesting is that the mechanism of control provides an
explanation for most phenomena in life.

==============================

I think Martin is right. By leading a conversation with a proclamation
about control – a phenomenon nobody has ever heard of, much less
understood – we lose our audience right away. Deservedly so.

If instead we can pick a phenomenon, such as any of the ones Martin
alludes to; perhaps even the car staying in its lane on a windy day, and
delineating the possible explanations, then evaluate which ones are
nonsense and which feasible, we might get somewhere.

There are any number of phenomena one could pick that are of vital
importance to people. The phenomenon of people following a leader. The
phenomenon of people hating a micro-manager. The phenomenon of people
distressing about alternatives in their lives.

Reams of literature has been written to propose explanations for such
phenomena in order to provide guidance for better results, peace of mind,
whatever. Some explanations offered are on par with the Egyptian chariot,
others elaborate and on par with everything revolving around the earth.
PCT is the explanation that is on par with the idea of the solar system.
Outrageously wrong to those who KNOW in their bones that the earth is the
center of the universe, but necessary and useful for those who have
aspirations to send rockets to Mars.

PCT provides an explanation for the phenomena of life. An simple and
clean explanation with awesome explanatory powers. An explanatory
mechanism, not a phenomenon in itself.

==============================

Best, Dag

[From Rick Marken (2014.01.08.0810)]

Dag Forssell (2014.01.07.20:10 PST)--

Martin Taylor (2014.01.01.23.48)--

DF: I have been thinking about Martins post and have concluded that he is right
on. Thanks, Martin!!!

PCTers have been talking about the phenomenon of control, as in the late
1980s video by Bill that Rick endorsed today.

The fact that Bill talked about the phenomenon of control does not make
control a phenomenon. With hindsight, this now appears to me a mistake.

RM: Wow, I didn't see that coming.

That's one heck of a big mistake Bill made there. Are there any
others? You might have quite a big editing job on those tapes! He
makes the same mistake in a lot of his published and unpublished
papers too. I hope you can fix those up as well. When in doubt,
redact!

Best

Rick

···

==============================
In astronomy, you have the phenomenon of the sun crossing the sky every day.

To many, this must be magic. But magic one takes for granted. That is the
way it is.

Egyptians offered an explanation: The sun is pulled by a chariot.
It was very important to keep the chariot going.

Ptolemy provided an explanation: The sun revolves around the earth, along
with everything else.

Copernicus provided an explanation: The earth revolves around its axis.

The question is: Which explanation is best and most useful. Today you might
ask: Which explanation will help you navigate your rocket to Mars?

To the best of my understanding we do not call the solar system a
phenomenon.
We consider the mechanism of the solar system to be an explanation.

==============================
Rick cites "the production of consistent results by variable means in the
face of disturbances". This verbiage is loaded with theoretical
interpretation, PCT-style.

Normal human beings do not describe what they see using such terminology.

How about "When I push on you, you push back"?

I would bet that most people have no idea why. It is magic, as is so much
else in the world we live in. Lights turn on when you flip a switch --
magic. The car accelerates when you step on the gas -- magic. Most people
skip techie subjects in school. Few ponder in-depth physical explanations
for anything. Yet there are physical explanations for everything. Some of
them we have not yet figured out, of course.

Watson and Skinner provided an explanation: The environment stimulates you
to push back -- because you have been reinforced to do so.

Cognitive psychologists provide an explanation: Your brain takes in sensory
data from the environment, processes it, decides it does not like it, and
issues commands to your muscles to push back.

PCTers provide an explanation: A control system with a given reference
signal resists disturbances.

Most every human being, with the exception of a few dozen PCTers, consider
the phenomenon to be that you push back when I push on you. Those who have
any understanding at all most likely think that the reason is called
stimulus and response. Most have no understanding of control, much less
interest in how control works. There is no phenomenon of control to take an
interest in. So why care?

It has been a mistake to call control a phenomenon. Control is not a
phenomenon except perhaps for the very, very few who study control systems
in engineering school, where control emerges from a certain arrangement of
physical components.

What is interesting is that the mechanism of control provides an explanation
for most phenomena in life.

==============================
I think Martin is right. By leading a conversation with a proclamation about
control -- a phenomenon nobody has ever heard of, much less understood -- we
lose our audience right away. Deservedly so.

If instead we can pick a phenomenon, such as any of the ones Martin alludes
to; perhaps even the car staying in its lane on a windy day, and delineating
the possible explanations, then evaluate which ones are nonsense and which
feasible, we might get somewhere.

There are any number of phenomena one could pick that are of vital
importance to people. The phenomenon of people following a leader. The
phenomenon of people hating a micro-manager. The phenomenon of people
distressing about alternatives in their lives.

Reams of literature has been written to propose explanations for such
phenomena in order to provide guidance for better results, peace of mind,
whatever. Some explanations offered are on par with the Egyptian chariot,
others elaborate and on par with everything revolving around the earth. PCT
is the explanation that is on par with the idea of the solar system.
Outrageously wrong to those who KNOW in their bones that the earth is the
center of the universe, but necessary and useful for those who have
aspirations to send rockets to Mars.

PCT provides an explanation for the phenomena of life. An simple and clean
explanation with awesome explanatory powers. An explanatory mechanism, not a
phenomenon in itself.

==============================

Best, Dag

--
Richard S. Marken PhD
www.mindreadings.com

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.
                                                   -- Bertrand Russell

[Martin Taylor 2013.01.08.11.36]

[From Rick Marken (2014.01.08.0810)]

Dag Forssell (2014.01.07.20:10 PST)--

Martin Taylor (2014.01.01.23.48)--
DF: I have been thinking about Martins post and have concluded that he is right
on. Thanks, Martin!!!

PCTers have been talking about the phenomenon of control, as in the late
1980s video by Bill that Rick endorsed today.

The fact that Bill talked about the phenomenon of control does not make
control a phenomenon. With hindsight, this now appears to me a mistake.

RM: Wow, I didn't see that coming.

That's one heck of a big mistake Bill made there. Are there any
others? You might have quite a big editing job on those tapes! He
makes the same mistake in a lot of his published and unpublished
papers too. I hope you can fix those up as well. When in doubt,
redact!

Are we now reduced to arguing about dictionary definitions? Perhaps, but maybe it is inevitable if people start to use words in different ways, as seems to be the case with "phenomenon". Such arguments cannot be resolved by assertion of opinion, but sometimes they can be biased by appeal to authority. Accordingly, I looked up "phenomenon" in the Oxford English Dictionary (I imagine that dictionaries of the American Language might include different definitions, but for me, the OED is the main authority).

The OED gives four main meanings for "phenomenon": 1 and 2 refer to something directly observed, the first sense being everyday, the second being in philosophical theory; meaning 3 is something extraordinary, and 4 is obsolete, meaning "That which appears or seems to a person to be the correct view". Clearly Rick and Bill use "phenomenon" appropriately in the obsolete meaning 4, but I wonder if "control" is "directly observed" in either the everyday or the philosophical sense. I'd be hesitant to use the word in that sense, as attested by the recent discussion about the difficulty of determining whether a particular observed behaviour is a manifestation of control. That leaves meaning 3. Is control "Something very notable or extraordinary; a highly exceptional or unaccountable fact or occurrence; a thing, person or animal remarkable for some unusual quality; a prodigy." Since we think that control is the essence of all life, I don't think meaning 3 applies.

So, for the purposes of CSGnet, I suggest that we should allow that control is "that which appears to a person to be the correct view", but it is not "directly observed" and it is not "highly exceptional or unaccountable". If the word "phenomenon" does occur in CSGnet discussion, we should assume that it means that the writer takes the phenomenon to be the correct view of something.

Martin

[Martin Taylor
2013.01.08.11.36]

[From Rick Marken
(2014.01.08.0810)]

Dag Forssell (2014.01.07.20:10
PST)–
[From Dag Forssell (2013.01.08.10.50 PST]

Levels of phenomena.pdf (482 KB)

···

At 08:54 AM 1/8/2014, you wrote:
I’ll have to eat most of what I wrote yesterday. Tim sent me a private
blast.
Control sure is a phenomenon. I think it is also an explanation.
In both physical science and PCT, I think in terms of layers of phenomena
and explanations, much as we think in terms of layers in Hierarchical
PCT.
To explain PCT and control, we bring in other phenomena, such as the
ability of neurons to subtract one neural current from another, resulting
in a comparison. Some of the phenomena we use as lower level explanations
may lack accepted explanations at this time, such as the precise
functioning of neurons, or gravity.
The issue Martin made me think about should NOT be called Precisely
Backwards, but rather Up a Level.
20 years ago I wrote an article called Are all Sciences Created
Equal?
.

I included it in my book on management as well as a supporting document
in Dialogue… I’ll attach the two pages that hold my illustration of
levels of phenomena and explanations.

The question I am pondering is at what level one might start introducing
and explaining PCT.

For some time now I have been thinking about addressing an audience of
people who know nothing of PCT, with an invite suggesting that my talk
will have something to say about management and/or artificial
intelligence.

Title might be: AI and Management – Insight into our minds’
architecture

Rather than get on stage and say “Let me tell you about the
phenomenon of control” I now think I should get up and ask something
like "For what phenomenon of interaction between people would you
like to find an explanation? " Then make a list and pick something
that is basic enough that the phenomenon of control becomes relevant as a
topic. The Rubber Band Experiment will be a key, interactive
illustration.

Anyhow, levels of phenomena and explanation is what I am pondering, not
questionning any of Bill’s work. It has been 25 years and I am as
committed as ever to sharing PCT with the world. And do it correctly.

Best, Dag