Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.13.50]

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.14.03]

Hey guys, anyone seen the excitement building about PCT among this group of 12,000 followers of Scott Alexander?

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/06/book-review-behavior-the-control-of-perception/

I don't see "excitement", but I see a lot of people saying PCT is nothing to be excited about. It's not original; everyone uses hierarchy; to control needs a lot of computation, often needing data you don't have, which makes control impractical; behaviourism explains everything better; PCT ignores everything that's important such as learning and memory; it's just a metaphor, and no better than any other metaphor, sometimes helpful, sometimes misleading, etc. etc. Nothing to see here, folks. The blog author and one or two commentators (besides Richard Kennaway) do seem to get it, though.

Most of the commentators seem to be commenting from a position of complete ignorance of PCT, but with great authority they either dispute what they assume it says or claim that what it says is self-evident but useless. The only commentator I recognized who has knowledge of PCT and uses it to correct some of the misstatements is Richard Kennaway. Maybe some of us could "ride to his rescue" waving high the flag? It is nice to have so many people made aware of the existence of B:CP, but it would be nicer if some of the misapprehensions about PCT were corrected, especially in light of the four decades that have elapsed since B:CP was first published. A book review of B:CP was what started the discussion. I think everyone including Bill P. has learned a bit in the last 40+ years.

I tried to figure out what Scott Alexander or this site was all about. As far as I can see, the site has more to do with religions than anything else, but that can't be true, given the scientific backgrounds that are implicit or explicit in many of the comments on the book review. I didn't find any clue to Alexander. I suppose I could Google him, but I can't be bothered.

Martin

···

On 2017/03/18 7:16 AM, Warren Mansell wrote:

I agree. I would be more worried about those comments if they had read B:CP in detail prior to making them! Scott himself seemed very positive but of course he didn't completely 'get it'.
Warren

···

On 19 Mar 2017, at 04:14, Martin Taylor <mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net> wrote:

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.13.50]

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.14.03]

On 2017/03/18 7:16 AM, Warren Mansell wrote:
Hey guys, anyone seen the excitement building about PCT among this group of 12,000 followers of Scott Alexander?

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/06/book-review-behavior-the-control-of-perception/

I don't see "excitement", but I see a lot of people saying PCT is nothing to be excited about. It's not original; everyone uses hierarchy; to control needs a lot of computation, often needing data you don't have, which makes control impractical; behaviourism explains everything better; PCT ignores everything that's important such as learning and memory; it's just a metaphor, and no better than any other metaphor, sometimes helpful, sometimes misleading, etc. etc. Nothing to see here, folks. The blog author and one or two commentators (besides Richard Kennaway) do seem to get it, though.

Most of the commentators seem to be commenting from a position of complete ignorance of PCT, but with great authority they either dispute what they assume it says or claim that what it says is self-evident but useless. The only commentator I recognized who has knowledge of PCT and uses it to correct some of the misstatements is Richard Kennaway. Maybe some of us could "ride to his rescue" waving high the flag? It is nice to have so many people made aware of the existence of B:CP, but it would be nicer if some of the misapprehensions about PCT were corrected, especially in light of the four decades that have elapsed since B:CP was first published. A book review of B:CP was what started the discussion. I think everyone including Bill P. has learned a bit in the last 40+ years.

I tried to figure out what Scott Alexander or this site was all about. As far as I can see, the site has more to do with religions than anything else, but that can't be true, given the scientific backgrounds that are implicit or explicit in many of the comments on the book review. I didn't find any clue to Alexander. I suppose I could Google him, but I can't be bothered.

Martin

[Richard Kennaway 2017.03.19 11:43 GMT]

Some background on Scott Alexander, to give context to people arriving at his blog not knowing anything about him.

He is in training to be a psychiatrist, and writing under a pseudonym in order to be able to write more freely. He is very well known in “rationality circles”, which roughly means the diaspora from the LessWrong blog/forum that Eliezer Yudkowsky founded
something like ten years ago and posted about a million words to on the subject of rationality, all of which are worth reading, but you don’t have to have read all of that to understand where Scott is coming from.

I’m not sure which of his writings Martin was reading to get the impression that it was mostly about religion (perhaps “Unsong”, his novel in progress that takes every weird idea from the Kabbalah and Jewish rabbinic tradition as being literally true and
runs with it), but it is not a particular focus of his blog. He has written a lot about the dreadful state of psychiatry (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/12/29/book-review-mount-misery/ ),
the dreadful state of medicine (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/07/17/who-by-very-slow-decay/) ,
the dreadful state of political discourse (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/the-toxoplasma-of-rage/), and the dreadful state of everything and why it cannot ever be fixed (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/).

He has written many well-researched and argued posts on various topics in medicine and psychopharmacology, too many to list, and not individually relevant to someone wanting to get a sense of who he is, but his full list of all
his blog posts is at https://slatestarcodex.com/archives/.

I think he’s a genius, and I hope that at some point he will understand PCT.

– Richard Kennaway

···

From: Martin Taylor mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 4:14:13 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.13.50]

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.14.03]

On 2017/03/18 7:16 AM, Warren Mansell wrote:

Hey guys, anyone seen the excitement building about PCT among this

group of 12,000 followers of Scott Alexander?


https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/06/book-review-behavior-the-control-of-perception/

I don’t see “excitement”, but I see a lot of people saying PCT is

nothing to be excited about. It’s not original; everyone uses hierarchy;

to control needs a lot of computation, often needing data you don’t

have, which makes control impractical; behaviourism explains everything

better; PCT ignores everything that’s important such as learning and

memory; it’s just a metaphor, and no better than any other metaphor,

sometimes helpful, sometimes misleading, etc. etc. Nothing to see here,

folks. The blog author and one or two commentators (besides Richard

Kennaway) do seem to get it, though.

Most of the commentators seem to be commenting from a position of

complete ignorance of PCT, but with great authority they either dispute

what they assume it says or claim that what it says is self-evident but

useless. The only commentator I recognized who has knowledge of PCT and

uses it to correct some of the misstatements is Richard Kennaway. Maybe

some of us could “ride to his rescue” waving high the flag? It is nice

to have so many people made aware of the existence of B:CP, but it would

be nicer if some of the misapprehensions about PCT were corrected,

especially in light of the four decades that have elapsed since B:CP was

first published. A book review of B:CP was what started the discussion.

I think everyone including Bill P. has learned a bit in the last 40+ years.

I tried to figure out what Scott Alexander or this site was all about.

As far as I can see, the site has more to do with religions than

anything else, but that can’t be true, given the scientific backgrounds

that are implicit or explicit in many of the comments on the book

review. I didn’t find any clue to Alexander. I suppose I could Google

him, but I can’t be bothered.

Martin

[Fred Nickols (2017.03.19.0927 ET)]

Now that’s a “ringing endorsement” if ever I’ve seen one, Richard.

Fred Nickols

···

From: Richard Kennaway (CMP) [mailto:R.Kennaway@uea.ac.uk]
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 7:48 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

[Richard Kennaway 2017.03.19 11:43 GMT]

Some background on Scott Alexander, to give context to people arriving at his blog not knowing anything about him.

He is in training to be a psychiatrist, and writing under a pseudonym in order to be able to write more freely. He is very well known in “rationality circles”, which roughly means the diaspora from the LessWrong blog/forum that Eliezer Yudkowsky founded something like ten years ago and posted about a million words to on the subject of rationality, all of which are worth reading, but you don’t have to have read all of that to understand where Scott is coming from.

I’m not sure which of his writings Martin was reading to get the impression that it was mostly about religion (perhaps “Unsong”, his novel in progress that takes every weird idea from the Kabbalah and Jewish rabbinic tradition as being literally true and runs with it), but it is not a particular focus of his blog. He has written a lot about the dreadful state of psychiatry (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/12/29/book-review-mount-misery/), the dreadful state of medicine (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/07/17/who-by-very-slow-decay/), the dreadful state of political discourse (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/the-toxoplasma-of-rage/), and the dreadful state of everything and why it cannot ever be fixed (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/).

He has written many well-researched and argued posts on various topics in medicine and psychopharmacology, too many to list, and not individually relevant to someone wanting to get a sense of who he is, but his full list of all his blog posts is at https://slatestarcodex.com/archives/.

I think he’s a genius, and I hope that at some point he will understand PCT.

– Richard Kennaway


From: Martin Taylor mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 4:14:13 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.13.50]

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.14.03]

On 2017/03/18 7:16 AM, Warren Mansell wrote:

Hey guys, anyone seen the excitement building about PCT among this
group of 12,000 followers of Scott Alexander?

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/06/book-review-behavior-the-control-of-perception/

I don’t see “excitement”, but I see a lot of people saying PCT is
nothing to be excited about. It’s not original; everyone uses hierarchy;
to control needs a lot of computation, often needing data you don’t
have, which makes control impractical; behaviourism explains everything
better; PCT ignores everything that’s important such as learning and
memory; it’s just a metaphor, and no better than any other metaphor,
sometimes helpful, sometimes misleading, etc. etc. Nothing to see here,
folks. The blog author and one or two commentators (besides Richard
Kennaway) do seem to get it, though.

Most of the commentators seem to be commenting from a position of
complete ignorance of PCT, but with great authority they either dispute
what they assume it says or claim that what it says is self-evident but
useless. The only commentator I recognized who has knowledge of PCT and
uses it to correct some of the misstatements is Richard Kennaway. Maybe
some of us could “ride to his rescue” waving high the flag? It is nice
to have so many people made aware of the existence of B:CP, but it would
be nicer if some of the misapprehensions about PCT were corrected,
especially in light of the four decades that have elapsed since B:CP was
first published. A book review of B:CP was what started the discussion.
I think everyone including Bill P. has learned a bit in the last 40+ years.

I tried to figure out what Scott Alexander or this site was all about.
As far as I can see, the site has more to do with religions than
anything else, but that can’t be true, given the scientific backgrounds
that are implicit or explicit in many of the comments on the book
review. I didn’t find any clue to Alexander. I suppose I could Google
him, but I can’t be bothered.

Martin

BarbP:  To Richard Kennaway, et al, I’m going to hop in and add some shameless advertising for the upcoming PCT conference. And since we haven’t confirmed the scheduled quite yet, I might suggest a long morning (day?) to include a panel discussion, complete with on line demos and plenty of Q&A. especially if there are a lot of new people in attendance.

Questions, responses and suggestions may be sent to csgrespond@gmail.com

Important note regarding the banquet dinner - we will likely replace the pork dish with a vegetarian dish. My apologies for that oversight.

Thank you!

*barb

2017 PCT CONF REG.doc (231 KB)

···

On Sun, Mar 19, 2017 at 7:28 AM, Fred Nickols fred@nickols.us wrote:

[Fred Nickols (2017.03.19.0927 ET)]

Â

Now that’s a “ringing endorsement� if ever I’ve seen one, Richard.

Â

Fred Nickols

Â

From: Richard Kennaway (CMP) [mailto:R.Kennaway@uea.ac.uk]
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 7:48 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

Â

[Richard Kennaway 2017.03.19 11:43 GMT]

Â

Some background on Scott Alexander, to give context to people arriving at his blog not knowing anything about him.

Â

He is in training to be a psychiatrist, and writing under a pseudonym in order to be able to write more freely. He is very well known in “rationality circles”, which roughly means the diaspora from the LessWrong blog/forum that Eliezer Yudkowsky founded something like ten years ago and posted about a million words to on the subject of rationality, all of which are worth reading, but you don’t have to have read all of that to understand where Scott is coming from.

Â

I’m not sure which of his writings Martin was reading to get the impression that it was mostly about religion (perhaps “Unsong”, his novel in progress that takes every weird idea from the Kabbalah and Jewish rabbinic tradition as being literally true and runs with it), but it is not a particular focus of his blog. He has written a lot about the dreadful state of psychiatry (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/12/29/book-review-mount-misery/), the dreadful state of medicine (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/07/17/who-by-very-slow-decay/), the dreadful state of political discourse (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/the-toxoplasma-of-rage/), and the dreadful state of everything and why it cannot ever be fixed (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/).

Â

He has written many well-researched and argued posts on various topics in medicine and psychopharmacology, too many to list, and not individually relevant to someone wanting to get a sense of who he is, but his full list of all his blog posts is at https://slatestarcodex.com/archives/.

Â

I think he’s a genius, and I hope that at some point he will understand PCT.

Â

– Richard Kennaway

Â


From: Martin Taylor mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 4:14:13 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

Â

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.13.50]

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.14.03]

On 2017/03/18 7:16 AM, Warren Mansell wrote:

Hey guys, anyone seen the excitement building about PCT among this
group of 12,000 followers of Scott Alexander?

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/06/book-review-behavior-the-control-of-perception/

I don’t see “excitement”, but I see a lot of people saying PCT is
nothing to be excited about. It’s not original; everyone uses hierarchy;
to control needs a lot of computation, often needing data you don’t
have, which makes control impractical; behaviourism explains everything
better; PCT ignores everything that’s important such as learning and
memory; it’s just a metaphor, and no better than any other metaphor,
sometimes helpful, sometimes misleading, etc. etc. Nothing to see here,
folks. The blog author and one or two commentators (besides Richard
Kennaway) do seem to get it, though.

Most of the commentators seem to be commenting from a position of
complete ignorance of PCT, but with great authority they either dispute
what they assume it says or claim that what it says is self-evident but
useless. The only commentator I recognized who has knowledge of PCT and
uses it to correct some of the misstatements is Richard Kennaway. Maybe
some of us could “ride to his rescue” waving high the flag? It is nice
to have so many people made aware of the existence of B:CP, but it would
be nicer if some of the misapprehensions about PCT were corrected,
especially in light of the four decades that have elapsed since B:CP was
first published. A book review of B:CP was what started the discussion.
I think everyone including Bill P. has learned a bit in the last 40+ years.

I tried to figure out what Scott Alexander or this site was all about.
As far as I can see, the site has more to do with religions than
anything else, but that can’t be true, given the scientific backgrounds
that are implicit or explicit in many of the comments on the book
review. I didn’t find any clue to Alexander. I suppose I could Google
him, but I can’t be bothered.

Martin

[Richard Kennaway 2017.03.19 13:56 GMT]

Oops, the “million words” comment about LessWrong was about Eliezer, not Scott. But Scott must have written that amount by now, on his blog, and on LessWrong in the
past.

– Richard

···

From: Richard Kennaway (CMP)
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 11:47:44 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

[Richard Kennaway 2017.03.19 11:43 GMT]

Some background on Scott Alexander, to give context to people arriving at his blog not knowing anything about him.

He is in training to be a psychiatrist, and writing under a pseudonym in order to be able to write more freely. He is very well known in “rationality circles”, which roughly means the diaspora from the LessWrong blog/forum that Eliezer Yudkowsky founded
something like ten years ago and posted about a million words to on the subject of rationality, all of which are worth reading, but you don’t have to have read all of that to understand where Scott is coming from.

I’m not sure which of his writings Martin was reading to get the impression that it was mostly about religion (perhaps “Unsong”, his novel in progress that takes every weird idea from the Kabbalah and Jewish rabbinic tradition as being literally true and
runs with it), but it is not a particular focus of his blog. He has written a lot about the dreadful state of psychiatry (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2016/12/29/book-review-mount-misery/ ),
the dreadful state of medicine (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/07/17/who-by-very-slow-decay/) ,
the dreadful state of political discourse (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/12/17/the-toxoplasma-of-rage/), and the dreadful state of everything and why it cannot ever be fixed (e.g. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/).

He has written many well-researched and argued posts on various topics in medicine and psychopharmacology, too many to list, and not individually relevant to someone wanting to get a sense of who he is, but his full list of all
his blog posts is at https://slatestarcodex.com/archives/.

I think he’s a genius, and I hope that at some point he will understand PCT.

– Richard Kennaway

From: Martin Taylor mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 4:14:13 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.13.50]

[Martin Taylor 2017.03.18.14.03]

On 2017/03/18 7:16 AM, Warren Mansell wrote:

Hey guys, anyone seen the excitement building about PCT among this

group of 12,000 followers of Scott Alexander?


https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/06/book-review-behavior-the-control-of-perception/

I don’t see “excitement”, but I see a lot of people saying PCT is

nothing to be excited about. It’s not original; everyone uses hierarchy;

to control needs a lot of computation, often needing data you don’t

have, which makes control impractical; behaviourism explains everything

better; PCT ignores everything that’s important such as learning and

memory; it’s just a metaphor, and no better than any other metaphor,

sometimes helpful, sometimes misleading, etc. etc. Nothing to see here,

folks. The blog author and one or two commentators (besides Richard

Kennaway) do seem to get it, though.

Most of the commentators seem to be commenting from a position of

complete ignorance of PCT, but with great authority they either dispute

what they assume it says or claim that what it says is self-evident but

useless. The only commentator I recognized who has knowledge of PCT and

uses it to correct some of the misstatements is Richard Kennaway. Maybe

some of us could “ride to his rescue” waving high the flag? It is nice

to have so many people made aware of the existence of B:CP, but it would

be nicer if some of the misapprehensions about PCT were corrected,

especially in light of the four decades that have elapsed since B:CP was

first published. A book review of B:CP was what started the discussion.

I think everyone including Bill P. has learned a bit in the last 40+ years.

I tried to figure out what Scott Alexander or this site was all about.

As far as I can see, the site has more to do with religions than

anything else, but that can’t be true, given the scientific backgrounds

that are implicit or explicit in many of the comments on the book

review. I didn’t find any clue to Alexander. I suppose I could Google

him, but I can’t be bothered.

Martin


[From Rick Marken  (2017.03.21.1235)]

···

Richard Pfau (2017.03.20 18:33 EDT)–
RP: After reading writings of PCT doubters accessed using links provided at the end of Section II of Scott Alexander’s blog (the titles of the links being thoroughly shot down and can predict some things but not much better than competing theories), my major take-away is that after 45 years, PCT does not have enough solid experimental research evidence to convince other professionals/doubters of PCT’s value as a paradigm worth taking seriously.

I wrote a reply (as mindreadings) to the post in thoroughly shot down (how do you put those links into the emails?). And I don’t think the problem over these 45 years has been a lack of solid, experimental research (though I’ve been advocating for getting people to put more solid, experimental PCT research into peer reviewed journals). The problem has been that PCT is an explanation of a phenomenon that behavioral and social scientists either ignore, deny or take for granted – the phenomenon of purposeful behavior, technically known as control. PCT is a huge disturbance to what conventional behavioral researchers are controlling for. The only way PCT won’t be a disturbance is if these researchers voluntarily change the goals of their research (what they are controlling for) or if PCT is presented in a way that makes it seem to be consistent with the goals of conventional researchers (as was done by Carver & Scheier, and even then they eventually abandoned the pretense of their approach being consistent with PCT).Â

Â

RP: Specific ideas for topics and the conduct of such research would be an excellent focus for a panel discussion at the upcoming PCT conference in August.Â

RM: Great idea.Â

RP: Research dealing with specific real-life perceptions, higher-level references, and behavior might be especially persuasive. (i.e., we need to go beyond computer screen demonstrations and predictions).

RM: I agree.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Â

-----Original Message-----
From: Warren Mansell wmansell@gmail.com
To: csgnet csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Sent: Sat, Mar 18, 2017 7:16 am
Subject: Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects

Hey guys, anyone seen the excitement building about PCT among this group of 12,000 followers of Scott Alexander?

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/06/book-review-behavior-the-control-of-perception/

On Friday, March 17, 2017, Bruce Nevin bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

[From Bruce Nevin (20170317.1830 ET)]

I said “Since we know this [i.e. that ‘observers who do not see the actor’s true intention consistently misidentify some unintended side effect of carrying out that intention as the actor’s true intention’], perhaps we can recognize that it is the cause of much of the contention that can be observed on CSGnet, and enquire more carefully into what the purpose might be of what someone has written.”

I didn’t propose that this is “the cause of all of the contention”. I agree that there can be substantive disagreements. Wouldn’t it be foolish of me to suppose that there weren’t!Â

The appearance of disagreement can often be reduced by more carefully testing if one’s opinion of what the other intends is indeed actually what the other intends, and by testing if what the other has understood (perhaps too quickly) is indeed actually what you intended them to understand. This is of course the TCV in intimate practice. More than once in my years at Cisco a passionate argument between two engineers would be brought to a halt by the joking observation that they were in “violent agreement”.

Substantive disagreements of course lead to discussions, and these discussions are not exempt. The useful parts of such discussions can get obscured in a clutter of unintended alternative meanings and, just as sneaky, unnoticed equivocation (as between perception the signal and perception the experience). These can give rise to conflicts that are not substantive. So the useful parts of discussions that follow from substantive disagreements can be obscured and even sidetracked or thwarted by parts that are not useful.

The useful parts are useful insofar as they identify to each party more and more clearly just what the polarity of the conflict is. Then, as in MoL, when both poles of the conflict are perceived at the same time, in commensurate terms, a perhaps unexpectable resolution may emerge. Of course, it could be as you expect and wish: the other person saying “Oh, I see my mistake now.” But it could be a perspective that comprehends each pole in an unexpected unity. That, to my mind, is the gold standard of fruitful scientific discussion. The idealism/realism discussion may be an example. Of course one side may be mistaken, but obvious errors tend to get flushed out of the bushes pretty well, and when both parties are extremely intelligent and demonstrably well grounded in PCT it’s worth looking for alternatives to simple rejection.

/Bruce Nevin

On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 3:47 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.03.17.1245)]

[From Bruce Nevin (20170316.1241 ET)]

BN:Â Rick, I think you made a proper generalization from experimental evidence when you said

observers who do not see the actor’s true intention consistently misidentify some unintended side effect of carrying out that intention as the actor’s true intention.

BN: Why do you think it does not apply to disagreements on CSGnet?

RM: Because I was thinking of these disagreements as conflicts, where the problem results from efforts to keep the same perceptual variable in two different states. So, for example, the variable in contention might be “the meaning of Qi”, where one party wants to keep that variable in the state “a variable in the environment that is perceived as p” and the other wants to keep it in the state “an observer’s perception that corresponds to the perceptual variable controlled by the system under observation”.Â

BN: You might see the application of your PCT generalization to CSGnet discourse more clearly if you substitute “alternative meaning of an ambiguous expression” for “unintended side effect”. The alternative meaning is an unintended side effect of expressing the intended meaning.Â

RM: Yes, that’s a possibility. It implies that the parties to the disagreement are actually controlling for the same meaning – that they actually agree – and that the disagreement exists only because the parties are perceiving the unintended meaning of each others’ ambiguous statements as the intended one. Thus, the disagreement would disappear if one (or both) sides of the disagreement were able to disambiguate the others’ statements to see that both sides are actually talking about the same thing.Â

BN: PCT has some conceptual minefields that almost demand equivocation (shifting between alternative meanings) in order to write about PCT without awkwardly convoluted language. I pointed recently to ambiguity between “perception” the neural signal p, “perception” the experience, where the latter is ‘projected’ as though in the environment but the former decidedly is not, and where that projection correlates with Qi, an observer’s quantification (yet another perceptual construct) of the observer’s experience of a perception of what the subject is perceiving and controlling.Â

RM: Yes, and I read that as a very nice disambiguation of my position. It seems to me to be a nice way of stating what I have been saying all along: that Qi is the observer’s perception that corresponds to the perception, p, that is controlled by the control system under observation. So if your theory is right, then your post should go a long way toward reconciling the disagreement over the relationship between Qi and p. My guess, however, is that it will not. That’s because I think this disagreement persists because the parties to the disagreement are really controlling for different meanings of Qi and the relationship between Qi and p. In the discussions of this topic the parties to the disagreement have stated their positions every which way from Sunday so it seems to me that there has been ample opportunity to resolve the disagreement via disambiguation. And it hasn;t been resolved.Â

RM: So I don’t see any evidence that the persistence of the Qi vs p (and probably most other) disagreements on CSGNet have much to do with the ambiguity of language. I see these disagreements as conflicts of the kind that often come up in science – like that between those who thought the sun goes around the earth and those who thought the earth goes around the sun. Sometimes people are just controlling for different ideas about how things work, and this is particularly true for sciences – like the science of purpose represented by PCT – that represent a significant paradigm shift. And I think the only way to resolve these conflicts is through empirical test, which is what I am trying to do with the new demo I just posted (http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Instruct.html). I don’t think that demo represents an experimentum crucis but I hope it can be developed into a form that will aid understanding of the relationship between Qi and p – an understanding of which I believe is crucial for those interested in  “Doing Research on Purpose”.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Â

Person B’s message in reply to a prior message from person A may constitute tests of perceptions that A was controlling, if (by whatever ambiguous expressions are in those messages)Â they are both intending the same meanings. If not, it can quickly become muddled. Brief and to the point might be good practice, and in reply to a long and complex post taking it a bit at a time, perhaps occasionally interspersed with a revision of the long post setting a new baseline for discussion.

Â

/B

On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 2:06 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.03.16.1110)]

Bruce Nevin (20170315.1825 ET)–

Rick Marken (2017.03.01.2230)

observers who do not see the actor’s true intention consistently misidentify some unintended side effect of carrying out that intention as the actor’s true intention.

BN: Since we know this, perhaps we can recognize that it is the cause of much of the contention that can be observed on CSGnet, and enquire more carefully into what the purpose might be of what someone has written.

BN: That would be a good use of PCT.

RM: I agree. Why don’t we start with an explanation of why you think, based on PCT, that misidentifying some unintended side effect of a person’s true intention is the cause of much of the contention on CSGNet?Â

BestÂ

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Dr Warren Mansell
Reader in Clinical Psychology

School of Health Sciences
2nd Floor Zochonis Building
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
Email: warren.mansell@manchester.ac.uk
Â
Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 8589
Â
Website: http://www.psych-sci.manchester.ac.uk/staff/131406
Â
Advanced notice of a new transdiagnostic therapy manual, authored by Carey, Mansell & Tai - Principles-Based Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Method of Levels Approach

Available Now

Check www.pctweb.org for further information on Perceptual Control Theory


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Down…

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 8:37 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Scott Alexander blog (was Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects)

[From Rick Marken (2017.03.21.1235)]

Richard Pfau (2017.03.20 18:33 EDT)–
RP: After reading writings of PCT doubters accessed using links provided at the end of Section II of Scott Alexander’s blog (the titles of the links being thoroughly shot down and can predict some things but not much better than competing theories), my major take-away is that after 45 years, PCT does not have enough solid experimental research evidence to convince other professionals/doubters of PCT’s value as a paradigm worth taking seriously.

RM : I wrote a reply (as mindreadings) to the post in thoroughly shot down (how do you put those links into the emails?). And I don’t think the problem over these 45 years has been a lack of solid, experimental research (though I’ve been advocating for getting people to put more solid, experimental PCT research into peer reviewed journals).

HB : If I’m reading right your texts it seems to me that you didn’t advocate people for more solid experimental PCT because you are promoting non solid, non experimental PCT research. But you are promoting Occultims and Parapsychology with Telekinesis, Telepathy, »protection from bullits«, extrasensory perception and so on…

RM : The problem has been that PCT is an explanation of a phenomenon that behavioral and social scientists either ignore, deny or take for granted – the phenomenon of purposeful behavior, technically known as control.

HB : Where and how can we see that Behavior is technically control ? Can you show us some evidences ? Physiological will be just fine.

RM : PCT is a huge disturbance to what conventional behavioral researchers are controlling for.

HB : PCT could be huge disturbance, but it’s not because it needs to be upgraded. But RCT (Ricks’ Control Theory)Â is huge disturbance to PCT as it is preventing PCT to develope further as it has to deal with RCT imagination. .

RM : The only way PCT won’t be a disturbance is if these researchers voluntarily change the goals of their research (what they are controlling for) or if PCT is presented in a way that makes it seem to be consistent with the goals of conventional researchers (as was done by Carver & Scheier, and even then they eventually abandoned the pretense of their approach being consistent with PCT).

HB : The »facts« about Carver & Scheier was not invented by you, so it would be nice that you mention where did you get ideas about wrong »facts« in Carver/Scheier theory. As I said before. Your imagination is destroying PCT. How much exactly Carver/Scheier abondoned their approach being consistent with PCT ? Remember ? I was the medium between Bill and Carver. Not you.

RP: Specific ideas for topics and the conduct of such research would be an excellent focus for a panel discussion at the upcoming PCT conference in August.

RM: Great idea.

HB : I doubt that you and Richard Pfau are talking about the same things.

RP: Research dealing with specific real-life perceptions, higher-level references, and behavior might be especially persuasive. (i.e., we need to go beyond computer screen demonstrations and predictions).

RM: I agree.

HB : So where can we see your specific real life perception research ? Did you went and drive in the wind and see whether everything in the control loop is happening at the same time ? Did you go to the street and say to people »hello« to see if you can really disturb their »external control« ?

Best,

Boris

Best

Rick

-----Original Message-----
From: Warren Mansell wmansell@gmail.com
To: csgnet csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Sent: Sat, Mar 18, 2017 7:16 am
Subject: Re: controlling for misattribution of side effects

Hey guys, anyone seen the excitement building about PCT among this group of 12,000 followers of Scott Alexander?

https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/06/book-review-behavior-the-control-of-perception/

On Friday, March 17, 2017, Bruce Nevin bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

[From Bruce Nevin (20170317.1830 ET)]

I said “Since we know this [i.e. that ‘observers who do not see the actor’s true intention consistently misidentify some unintended side effect of carrying out that intention as the actor’s true intention’], perhaps we can recognize that it is the cause of much of the contention that can be observed on CSGnet, and enquire more carefully into what the purpose might be of what someone has written.”

I didn’t propose that this is “the cause of all of the contention”. I agree that there can be substantive disagreements. Wouldn’t it be foolish of me to suppose that there weren’t!

The appearance of disagreement can often be reduced by more carefully testing if one’s opinion of what the other intends is indeed actually what the other intends, and by testing if what the other has understood (perhaps too quickly) is indeed actually what you intended them to understand. This is of course the TCV in intimate practice. More than once in my years at Cisco a passionate argument between two engineers would be brought to a halt by the joking observation that they were in “violent agreement”.

Substantive disagreements of course lead to discussions, and these discussions are not exempt. The useful parts of such discussions can get obscured in a clutter of unintended alternative meanings and, just as sneaky, unnoticed equivocation (as between perception the signal and perception the experience). These can give rise to conflicts that are not substantive. So the useful parts of discussions that follow from substantive disagreements can be obscured and even sidetracked or thwarted by parts that are not useful.

The useful parts are useful insofar as they identify to each party more and more clearly just what the polarity of the conflict is. Then, as in MoL, when both poles of the conflict are perceived at the same time, in commensurate terms, a perhaps unexpectable resolution may emerge. Of course, it could be as you expect and wish: the other person saying “Oh, I see my mistake now.” But it could be a perspective that comprehends each pole in an unexpected unity. That, to my mind, is the gold standard of fruitful scientific discussion. The idealism/realism discussion may be an example. Of course one side may be mistaken, but obvious errors tend to get flushed out of the bushes pretty well, and when both parties are extremely intelligent and demonstrably well grounded in PCT it’s worth looking for alternatives to simple rejection.

/Bruce Nevin

On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 3:47 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.03.17.1245)]

[From Bruce Nevin (20170316.1241 ET)]

BN: Rick, I think you made a proper generalization from experimental evidence when you said

observers who do not see the actor’s true intention consistently misidentify some unintended side effect of carrying out that intention as the actor’s true intention.

BN: Why do you think it does not apply to disagreements on CSGnet?

RM: Because I was thinking of these disagreements as conflicts, where the problem results from efforts to keep the same perceptual variable in two different states. So, for example, the variable in contention might be “the meaning of Qi”, where one party wants to keep that variable in the state “a variable in the environment that is perceived as p” and the other wants to keep it in the state “an observer’s perception that corresponds to the perceptual variable controlled by the system under observation”.

BN: You might see the application of your PCT generalization to CSGnet discourse more clearly if you substitute “alternative meaning of an ambiguous expression” for “unintended side effect”. The alternative meaning is an unintended side effect of expressing the intended meaning.

RM: Yes, that’s a possibility. It implies that the parties to the disagreement are actually controlling for the same meaning – that they actually agree – and that the disagreement exists only because the parties are perceiving the unintended meaning of each others’ ambiguous statements as the intended one. Thus, the disagreement would disappear if one (or both) sides of the disagreement were able to disambiguate the others’ statements to see that both sides are actually talking about the same thing.

BN: PCT has some conceptual minefields that almost demand equivocation (shifting between alternative meanings) in order to write about PCT without awkwardly convoluted language. I pointed recently to ambiguity between “perception” the neural signal p, “perception” the experience, where the latter is ‘projected’ as though in the environment but the former decidedly is not, and where that projection correlates with Qi, an observer’s quantification (yet another perceptual construct) of the observer’s experience of a perception of what the subject is perceiving and controlling.

RM: Yes, and I read that as a very nice disambiguation of my position. It seems to me to be a nice way of stating what I have been saying all along: that Qi is the observer’s perception that corresponds to the perception, p, that is controlled by the control system under observation. So if your theory is right, then your post should go a long way toward reconciling the disagreement over the relationship between Qi and p. My guess, however, is that it will not. That’s because I think this disagreement persists because the parties to the disagreement are really controlling for different meanings of Qi and the relationship between Qi and p. In the discussions of this topic the parties to the disagreement have stated their positions every which way from Sunday so it seems to me that there has been ample opportunity to resolve the disagreement via disambiguation. And it hasn;t been resolved.

RM: So I don’t see any evidence that the persistence of the Qi vs p (and probably most other) disagreements on CSGNet have much to do with the ambiguity of language. I see these disagreements as conflicts of the kind that often come up in science – like that between those who thought the sun goes around the earth and those who thought the earth goes around the sun. Sometimes people are just controlling for different ideas about how things work, and this is particularly true for sciences – like the science of purpose represented by PCT – that represent a significant paradigm shift. And I think the only way to resolve these conflicts is through empirical test, which is what I am trying to do with the new demo I just posted (http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Instruct.html). I don’t think that demo represents an experimentum crucis but I hope it can be developed into a form that will aid understanding of the relationship between Qi and p – an understanding of which I believe is crucial for those interested in “Doing Research on Purpose”.

Best

Rick

Person B’s message in reply to a prior message from person A may constitute tests of perceptions that A was controlling, if (by whatever ambiguous expressions are in those messages) they are both intending the same meanings. If not, it can quickly become muddled. Brief and to the point might be good practice, and in reply to a long and complex post taking it a bit at a time, perhaps occasionally interspersed with a revision of the long post setting a new baseline for discussion.

/B

On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 2:06 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2017.03.16.1110)]

Bruce Nevin (20170315.1825 ET)–

Rick Marken (2017.03.01.2230)

observers who do not see the actor’s true intention consistently misidentify some unintended side effect of carrying out that intention as the actor’s true intention.

BN: Since we know this, perhaps we can recognize that it is the cause of much of the contention that can be observed on CSGnet, and enquire more carefully into what the purpose might be of what someone has written.

BN: That would be a good use of PCT.

RM: I agree. Why don’t we start with an explanation of why you think, based on PCT, that misidentifying some unintended side effect of a person’s true intention is the cause of much of the contention on CSGNet?

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Dr Warren Mansell
Reader in Clinical Psychology

School of Health Sciences
2nd Floor Zochonis Building
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
Email: warren.mansell@manchester.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 8589

Website: http://www.psych-sci.manchester.ac.uk/staff/131406

Advanced notice of a new transdiagnostic therapy manual, authored by Carey, Mansell & Tai - Principles-Based Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Method of Levels Approach

Available Now

Check www.pctweb.org for further information on Perceptual Control Theory

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery