Shared references [was: Misquoting]

[From Bruce Nevin (2004.06.23 14:16 EDT)]

Rick Marken (2004.06.22.2050)--

Controlled variables are real in the sense that they are real
perceptions that exist in the brain of the controller and of the
observer.

Controlled variables, like all perceptions, are real perceptions

known by the observer to be really present in the observed controller.

This then indicates a direct path by which (quoting now provocatively
tendentious language from the past) controlled perceptions and reference
values for them can be transferred from the brain of one person into the
brain of another so that they are shared by more than one person.

These shared CVs and reference values for them are social realities when
each person knows that the other is controlling the given CV. People do
have this kind of knowledge, amounting to repeatedly verified assumptions.
This knowledge of shared CVs is built up from infancy by a variety of means
-- by precept and example (a phrase used, I am told, in the Navy), by
coming into conflict with others over CVs, by resolving conflicts, by
provoking conflicts (lots of people use this as a learning strategy), and
even by the gentler forms of conflict that are formalized in PCT
methodology as the Test for the controlled variable. All of these ways of
gaining knowledge of shared CVs, and probably more that I haven't thought
of, are going on all the time, but especially for infants and small children.

This conclusion ("controlled variables, like all perceptions, are real
perceptions known by the observer to be really present in the observed
controller") therefore also indicates how social realities can be verified
as real in ways that non-social realities cannot. You know that the CV is a
real perception that exists in the brain of the controller as well as in
your own brain. That knowledge is more secure than is your perception that
they are sitting at a computer reading your email message, or even that
they are sitting in front of you. Verifying that physical reality is just
what your perception says it is cannot be done. Verifying that another
person is controlling the same CV that you are -- as formalized in the Test
for the controlled variable -- is not always easy, but is quite possible,
and indeed is well within the reach of any person.

If more than one person knows that a given CV is a perception in the brain
of the others in a set of people, that perception is a social reality among
those people. That's what a social reality is: a perception that exists in
the brains of all the people who, precisely by virtue of such shared
perceptions, constitute the society or culture or community within which
the given perception is a social reality; and outside of which it is not a
social reality, hence, the requirement of "participant observation" as a
methodology for social research -- the CV must be in the investigator's
brain as well as in the brains of the observed controllers.

It does not follow from this that all PCT research that identifies
controlled variables is thereby social research. It is not enough that the
CV be in the observer's brain and that of the observed controller alone.
The variable must be one of the many perceptions in the brains of a
plurality of individuals constituting, by virtue of sharing them and
interactively controlling them, a culture, society, community, or the like.

[Do] controlled variables (or any perceptions) correspond [directly] to
physical variables that exist in a reality beyond our perception[?] My
answer to this question would be "no".

I think that the answer must be "probably not" or "almost certainly not."
Success at control by means of a loop closed through the environment
confirms that there is some sort of correspondence. Among the infinite
possibilities for indirect correspondence, one possibility after
identifying and setting aside illusion and delusion is simple, direct
correspondence -- e.g. that really was a real rock that Sam Johnson
famously kicked to refute Bishop Berkeley. Granted, setting aside illusion
and delusion is no simple chore, but that is a different issue, a crucial
issue of scientific method in fact, and the reason that we engage in
science with the purpose of more and more closely approximating perceptions
of real characteristics of really real reality.

Much more that could be said, but I will stop there, and really must.
Really. Though that is only a social reality.

         /Bruce

···

At 08:50 PM 6/22/2004 -0700, Rick Marken wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.23.1230)]

Bruce Nevin (2004.06.23 14:16 EDT)

Rick Marken (2004.06.22.2050)--

Controlled variables, like all perceptions, are real perceptions

known by the observer to be really present in the observed controller.

I can find the first part of that quote -- "Controlled variables, like all
perceptions, are real perceptions." -- in my post (Note that it ends with a
period). But I can't find the second part -- "known by the observer to be
really present in the observed controller." That part seems to be pure
fabrication. I think your friendly relationship with Bill Williams has led
you to pick up some of his unfortunate habits.

This then indicates a direct path by which (quoting now provocatively
tendentious language from the past) controlled perceptions and reference
values for them can be transferred from the brain of one person into the
brain of another so that they are shared by more than one person.

Actually, it doesn't indicate that, even if I had made the statement you
attribute to me. People can try to control the same variables at the same
references as others. But there is no special path, direct or indirect, for
transferring controlled perceptions and references from one brain to
another.

This conclusion ("controlled variables, like all perceptions, are real
perceptions known by the observer to be really present in the observed
controller") therefore also indicates...

You can say it indicates whatever you want. I just want to be sure you know
that the quoted conclusion is yours, not mine.

Regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.23.1230)]

> Bruce Nevin (2004.06.23 14:16 EDT)
>
>> Rick Marken (2004.06.22.2050)--

>> Controlled variables, like all perceptions, are real perceptions
> known by the observer to be really present in the observed controller.

I can find the first part of that quote -- "Controlled variables, like all
perceptions, are real perceptions." -- in my post (Note that it ends with a
period). But I can't find the second part -- "known by the observer to be
really present in the observed controller."

That's why I didn't include it within the quote, Rick. It is an extension
beyond the portion marked by the email software as a quote. This extension
was not marked as a quote.

However, it is not a baseless extension. It is a paraphrase of

Controlled variables are real in the sense that they are real
perceptions that exist in the brain of the controller and of the
observer. So I don't think it's a question of whether controlled
variables are real or perceptions. Controlled variables, like all
perceptions, are real perceptions.

My conclusion was that if "Controlled variables ... are real perceptions
that exist in the brain of the controller and of the observer" then by
virtue of the Test the observer knows that the CV is a perception in the
brain of the controller. Hence, the CV is "known by the observer to be
really present in the observed controller."

One purpose of paraphrase is to test and verify understanding. It is a
commonplace, everyday application of the Test for controlled variables.

But perhaps you are saying that the CV in your brain is not the same as the
CV in another person's brain when you use the Test and declare that you
have identified a CV. But if that is so, then you have not identified a CV
at all, because the CV in your brain is not the same as the CV in the other
person's brain. That interpretation leads to solipsism.

Perhaps then instead you want to say that the CV is really an environment
variable, of which you have your perception and the person you are testing
has her perception. The Test then affirms that the CV is really present in
the really real environment, but you have only your perception of it and
the other person has only her perception of it. The agreement between you
and her, then, is that your perception and her perception are perceptions
of the same environment variable and that this variable is really real in
the really real environment of which you each have your really real
perceptions. The rest of what I said follows very nicely.

         /Bruce Nevin

···

At 12:27 PM 6/23/2004 -0700, Richard Marken wrote:
At 08:50 PM 6/22/2004 -0700, Rick Marken wrote:

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.23.1522 MDT)]

Bruce Nevin (2004.06.23 14:16 EDT)--

Rick Marken (2004.06.22.2050)--

Controlled variables are real in the sense that they are real
perceptions that exist in the brain of the controller and of the
observer.

Controlled variables, like all perceptions, are real perceptions

known by the observer to be really present in the observed controller.

Controlled variables are perceived by the observer to be in the environment
of the other person, not the brain of the other person. The observer can't
see the brain of the other person; only what appears to the observer to be
an environment with the other person (outside surfaces only) in it. A
controlled variable like air temperature is a perception in the observer.
It is identified as a CV for the other person by acting on the environment
to disturb it, and seeing whether the actions of the other person (not some
fortuitous other effect) oppose all disturbances. It is further tested by
interfering with the other person's ability to sense it -- for example, by
warming the other person's skin with infra-red light, and simultaneously
cooling the room air. If the CV is really sensed air temperature, the
person should not try to make the room air warmer since the sensors kept
warm by the IR do not detect the cooling of the room air.

Note that this experiment is based on the observer's physical models of the
environment, and models of how people detect air temperature. The fact that
a CV like air temperature could survive a test like this shows that the
various models involved have been pretty thoroughly tested, and that they
are pretty reliable.

It does not, however, show me, the observer, that the other person's
perception of air temperature is the same as my perception of it. It shows
only that when the other person controls some function of environmental
variables while I observe another function of environmental variables, I
will see a variable being controlled, and the other person will agree that
there is a variable being controlled, and we can both agree to call that
variable "air temperature."

Just consider one simple difference between the observing person and the
observed person (among the many differences that are possible). In the
observed person, if a thermometer reads 70 degrees F, the perceptual signal
in that person will have (we will say) a magnitude of 100 impulses per
second. In the observer, the same thermometer reading leads to a perceptual
signal of 200 impulses per second (0r 102, or 67). Both the observer and
the observed system can agree that the air is at about the preferred
temperature, and when they act to control the sensed temperature, they will
bring the air to about the same thermometer reading. But their reference
signals for "comfortable temperature" differ by a factor of two or 1.02 or
0.67 -- actually, by an unknown amount. The same goes for the perceptual
signals when they match their respective reference signals. I claim that
without invasive neurological methods, it would be impossible for these two
people to discover that their perceptual signals are so different. And if
we did use such methods, I claim that we would find that the two people do
indeed control different magnitudes of their perceptions at different
levels when they say they are controlling the same perception at the same
level.

I think that this whole argument has become confused. It has nothing to do
with solipsism; if forced to bet, I would say there is most probably a real
universe with properties independent of me, the observer. I can't prove
there is, and neither can anyone else, but the only practical course is to
go on the assumption that there is such an independent reality.

However, this does not take care of the difference between perceiving and
imagining. If you apply the test and prove that some variable you can
perceive is most probably under control by another system, that's one
thing. You're applying a procedure to observations, and arriving at
conclusions you can justify. But if you then say that the other person is
controlling a perception that corresponds to the CV you have identified,
that's something quite different. You have abandoned observation and are
relying on imagination. You can't observe the other person's perception,
even if you're 100% sure that the other person exists and shares the same
reality with you. The most you can say is that IF the PCT model is correct,
and IF a host of other conditions exists, then it follows logically that
such a perception exists in the other person. Then you have deduced that
such a perception exists, but you still haven't observed it. You're relying
on a model, and if the model is wrong, so is your conclusion.

I've been talking all along about the difference between things you can
observe and things you can only imagine. I don't really care if there is a
Real Reality independent of us, or if other people do or do not exist in
some ontological way. We assume what we must to make sense of life, knowing
that direct proof is impossible. But when we try to make models, we have
to be acutely aware of what is an observation to be explained, and what is
imagined on the basis of models we use as explanations. If there is some
social phenomenon, I say fine -- show it to me, so I can observe it, too.
But most social phenomena are not of that nature: I have to be taught how
to imagine them; they are not observations of nature to be explained
through modeling; they are already models. They are part of Deduced
Reality, so they are directly observable as modeling phenomena, but they
are not in the complementary part of Directly Observed Reality.

Best,

Bill P.

P.S. The second new lens was installed five hours ago and believe it or
not, here I am at home, typing (with the other eye installed two weeks ago
in charge). I can't say enough complementary things about the state of the
art of cataract surgery and John Petty, the surgeon, who did the whole
procedure in about 20 minutes without a slip or a misstep. The procedure
itself was a little unnerving, but not painful -- say a 4 on the scale of
10, if that wierd sensation could really be called pain. And afterwards --
nothing hurt. A patch over the eye until tomorrow morning, some eyedrops
for a couple of weeks, and vision that I haven't had since childhood (if
ever). This is the part of the field of medicine where they actually know
how to fix things. I am very, very grateful.

···

At 08:50 PM 6/22/2004 -0700, Rick Marken wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.23.1610)]

Bruce Nevin writes:

That's why I didn't include it within the quote, Rick. It is an extension
beyond the portion marked by the email software as a quote. This extension
was not marked as a quote.

OK. But it would help if you were a little clearer about that next time.

However, it is not a baseless extension. It is a paraphrase of

Controlled variables are real in the sense that they are real
perceptions that exist in the brain of the controller and of the
observer. So I don't think it's a question of whether controlled
variables are real or perceptions. Controlled variables, like all
perceptions, are real perceptions.

My conclusion was that if "Controlled variables ... are real perceptions
that exist in the brain of the controller and of the observer" then by
virtue of the Test the observer knows that the CV is a perception in the
brain of the controller. Hence, the CV is "known by the observer to be
really present in the observed controller."

The observer doesn't _know_ that the CV is really present in the observed
controller. All the observer knows is that the controller is controlling a
variable that is like the one the observer perceives.

One purpose of paraphrase is to test and verify understanding. It is a
commonplace, everyday application of the Test for controlled variables.

Yes. Paraphrase is fine. It's just have been better if you had said that
that's what you were doing. Since I've now criticized your paraphrase, it's
clear that it doesn't quite convey the meaning I'm controlling for.

But perhaps you are saying that the CV in your brain is not the same as the
CV in another person's brain when you use the Test and declare that you
have identified a CV.

It's different in the sense that a neural signal in one person's brain is
not a neural signal in another person's brain. But the perception that is
computed by your brain _may_ be the same as the perception computed by mine.
I believe that's true for controlled variables like cursor position; I think
that when you control a perception of cursor position you are controlling
the same perception I have when I watch cursor position being controlled by
you. But the controlled variable I perceive may be only analogous to the
controlled variable that is perceived and controlled by the controller. I
gave the example of bats, for example. It's pretty easy to tell that bats
are controlling the phase of the echo from high frequency pulses. But I
don't perceive this CV as the bat does. I perceive it as a visual pattern --
a spectrogram -- while the bat perceives it as an auditory perception.

But if that is so, then you have not identified a CV
at all, because the CV in your brain is not the same as the CV in the other
person's brain. That interpretation leads to solipsism.

Not really. The bat example shows that it is possible to identify a CV (in
this case, identify a visual perception of my own) that corresponds to the
bat's CV, which is not the _same_ as my perception of the CV but which is
unquestionably a variable that the bat is controlling because I can see
(using my visual representation of the echo variable) that it is protected
from disturbance.

Perhaps then instead you want to say that the CV is really an environment
variable, of which you have your perception and the person you are testing
has her perception.

That's closer. The CV is a _function_ of environmental variables. In the
Test, the observer tries to determine what this function is. The function
guessed at by the observer doesn't have to be _exactly_ the same as the
function that determines the CV of the controller. It just has to give an
output that is an analog of the output of the controllers function.

The Test then affirms that the CV is really present in
the really real environment,

No. The Test doesn't affirm that the CV is really present in the really real
environment. It just shows that the observer is able to perceive (compute a
function of) environmental variables in a way that is analogous to the way
the controller perceives it.

The agreement between you
and her, then, is that your perception and her perception are perceptions
of the same environment variable and that this variable is really real in
the really real environment of which you each have your really real
perceptions.

All we can agree to is that our perceptions are equivalent (not necessarily
the same). We have no idea how our perceptions relate to the presumed
environmental variables on which they are based. That's something students
of perception have been trying to figure out, with some success. It's
certainly not something most subjects of The Test would understand.

Regards

Rick

···

At 08:50 PM 6/22/2004 -0700, Rick Marken wrote:

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400

From[Bill Williams 23 June 2004 6:20 PM CST]

My comments marked by pound signs ##.

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.23.1522 MDT)]

Bruce Nevin (2004.06.23 14:16 EDT)--

Rick Marken (2004.06.22.2050)--

Controlled variables are real in the sense that they are real
perceptions that exist in the brain of the controller and of the
observer.

Controlled variables, like all perceptions, are real perceptions

known by the observer to be really present in the observed controller.

Controlled variables are perceived by the observer to be in the environment
of the other person, not the brain of the other person. The observer can't
see the brain of the other person; only what appears to the observer to be
an environment with the other person (outside surfaces only) in it. A
controlled variable like air temperature is a perception in the observer.
It is identified as a CV for the other person by acting on the environment
to disturb it, and seeing whether the actions of the other person (not some
fortuitous other effect) oppose all disturbances. It is further tested by
interfering with the other person's ability to sense it -- for example, by
warming the other person's skin with infra-red light, and simultaneously
cooling the room air. If the CV is really sensed air temperature, the
person should not try to make the room air warmer since the sensors kept
warm by the IR do not detect the cooling of the room air.

Note that this experiment is based on the observer's physical models of the
environment, and models of how people detect air temperature. The fact that
a CV like air temperature could survive a test like this shows that the
various models involved have been pretty thoroughly tested, and that they
are pretty reliable.

It does not, however, show me, the observer, that the other person's
perception of air temperature is the same as my perception of it. It shows
only that when the other person controls some function of environmental
variables while I observe another function of environmental variables, I
will see a variable being controlled, and the other person will agree that
there is a variable being controlled, and we can both agree to call that
variable "air temperature."

## Of course agreements can be mistaken as in the situation described.

## a somewhat more sophisticated subject might be aware that the perception

## of temperature is influenced by radiation, humidity, wind speed etc.

Just consider one simple difference between the observing person and the
observed person (among the many differences that are possible). In the
observed person, if a thermometer reads 70 degrees F, the perceptual signal
in that person will have (we will say) a magnitude of 100 impulses per
second. In the observer, the same thermometer reading leads to a perceptual
signal of 200 impulses per second (0r 102, or 67). Both the observer and
the observed system can agree that the air is at about the preferred
temperature, and when they act to control the sensed temperature, they will
bring the air to about the same thermometer reading. But their reference
signals for "comfortable temperature" differ by a factor of two or 1.02 or
0.67 -- actually, by an unknown amount. The same goes for the perceptual
signals when they match their respective reference signals. I claim that
without invasive neurological methods, it would be impossible for these two
people to discover that their perceptual signals are so different. And if
we did use such methods, I claim that we would find that the two people do
indeed control different magnitudes of their perceptions at different
levels when they say they are controlling the same perception at the same
level.

## No doubt, but this is not a sufficient, or persuasive basis for the PCT

## sophistology.

I think that this whole argument has become confused.

## I would say rather that the argument started with a confusion regarding

## where arguments such as the PCT scheme ought to start.

It has nothing to do with solipsism;

## But this is just your perception.

if forced to bet, I would say there is most probably a real
universe with properties independent of me, the observer. I can't prove
there is, and neither can anyone else, but the only practical course is to
go on the assumption that there is such an independent reality.

## However, the relationship between perception and reality may not be the

## one that is assumed in the PCT scheme.

However, this does not take care of the difference between perceiving and
imagining. If you apply the test and prove that some variable you can
perceive is most probably under control by another system, that's one
thing. You're applying a procedure to observations, and arriving at
conclusions you can justify. But if you then say that the other person is
controlling a perception that corresponds to the CV you have identified,
that's something quite different. You have abandoned observation and are
relying on imagination. You can't observe the other person's perception,
even if you're 100% sure that the other person exists and shares the same
reality with you. The most you can say is that IF the PCT model is correct,
and IF a host of other conditions exists, then it follows logically that
such a perception exists in the other person. Then you have deduced that
such a perception exists, but you still haven't observed it. You're relying
on a model, and if the model is wrong, so is your conclusion.

## This is the human condition.

I've been talking all along about the difference between things you can
observe and things you can only imagine. I don't really care if there is a
Real Reality independent of us, or if other people do or do not exist in
some ontological way.

## This is part of the problem, you have pursued inquiry without paying

## adaquate attention to the nature of the situation in which you have

## been attempting to apply control theory.

## In the following Bill Powers states a principle that I regard as fundamental

## to this discussion:

We assume what we must to make sense of life,

## Individualism, as I understand it (see a recent post in reply to Rick Marken

## does not provide the starting point from which it is possible to comprehend

## human experience with any adaquacy.

knowing
that direct proof is impossible. But when we try to make models, we have
to be acutely aware of what is an observation to be explained, and what is
imagined on the basis of models we use as explanations.

## Bill Powers says,

If there is some social phenomenon, I say fine -- show it to me, so I can observe it, too.

## Well, over a couple of decades I and other people have argued with Bill Powers

## in regard to this topic. I attempted to explain the Keynesian system to Bill Powers

## without success.

···

At 08:50 PM 6/22/2004 -0700, Rick Marken wrote:

##

## Recently Bruce Nevin proposed a project that seemed to me might generate some

## empirical results. As far as I know Bill Powers ignored the proposal. Operating

## on a principle of if I didn't perceive it, it didn't happen Bill Powers can repeat

## this "show me" requrest endlessly, and despite how many times he has been exposed

## to evidence or argument he can repeat this request-- as if, there was not a history

## in which this request is made, proposals ignored, and the request repeated.

##

## I would suggest that Bruce repeat his proposal.

But most social phenomena are not of that nature:

## What ever is true of "most social phenomena" all that is required is diligent work

## so that "some social phenomena" _are_ demosntrated to be of that nature.

I have to be taught how
to imagine them; they are not observations of nature to be explained
through modeling; they are already models.

## But, so what? They are none the less real for being models.

They are part of Deduced
Reality, so they are directly observable as modeling phenomena, but they
are not in the complementary part of Directly Observed Reality.

## Reality is never a "Directly Observed Reality." Because there are no individuals

## to directly observe whatever it is that might be there. I can not see how there can

## be a consistent basis for communication while Bill Powers retains this notion of

## an individual.

Bill Williams

From[Bill Williams 23 June 2004 7:20 PM CST]

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.23.1610)]

Bruce Nevin writes:

That's why I didn't include it within the quote, Rick. It is an extension
beyond the portion marked by the email software as a quote. This extension
was not marked as a quote.

OK. But it would help if you were a little clearer about that next time.

My score as an impartial obsrver is a minus 1 for Rick.

Rick argues that,

The Test doesn't affirm that the CV is really present in the really real
environment. It just shows that the observer is able to perceive (compute a
function of) environmental variables in a way that is analogous to the way
the controller perceives it.

Consider a mother brown bear and two young cubs.

Is protection of the two cubs a controlled variable? I suggest Rick apply

the test and then he can report back to us. Unless that is he is, oh happy

thought, no longer a part of the really real reality.

Bill Williams

From [Marc Abrams (2004.06.23.2204)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.23.1522 MDT)]

However, this does not take care of the difference between perceiving

and

imagining.

Here I believe is the biggest fatal flaw in PCT. Your insistence on a
'real' 'perceived' reality vs. an 'imagined' one. I don't believe there
is any difference, and in fact, a very large part of _all_ perceptions
have an 'imagined' component and by virtue of it's inclusion in our
perceptions this also plays a very large part in how our reference
levels are constructed.

When you add the effects of emotions to both perceptions and reference
levels a modified PCT model is suggested.

But when we try to make models, we have
to be acutely aware of what is an observation to be explained, and

what is

imagined on the basis of models we use as explanations.

What you don't seem to understand or recognize is that a majority of
what you 'observe' is not 'really' out there, or what is out there is
not exactly what you think is out there.

Your sense organs moderate your imagination. Not the other way around.

You 'perceive' things at times based on 'incomplete' sense data. That
is, you can smell things, and hence 'perceive' them without either
feeling it, seeing it, or hearing it. How do you 'perceive' these things
without imagination? Dreams are perceptions based solely on imagination
as hallucinations are, but our realities have large 'imagined'
components.

Even using the PCT definition of 'perception', at some point, a 'signal'
from imagination going to parts of our nervous system is no different
than a 'signal' coming from any of our senses.

I'm happy to hear your vision is being helped and you're doing well.

Marc

Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have
been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who
are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something
different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.

Being smart is what keeps some people from being intelligent.

Thomas Sowell

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the
difference.

Anon

I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get
elected

Anon

[From Richard Kennaway (2004.06.24.1718 BST)]

From[Bill Williams 23 June 2004 6:20 PM CST]

My comments marked by pound signs ##.

Still using defective mail software?

## Individualism, as I understand it (see a recent post in reply to
Rick Marken

## does not provide the starting point from which it is possible to comprehend

## human experience with any adaquacy.

If the post you are referring to is this one:

From[Bill Williams 23 June 2004 3:00 PM CST]

Returning to the crime scene, it occurred to me that, there is a
historical episode, an extended episode, that answers Rick's
question.

...

you use "individual" and its derivatives 27 times, but nowhere do you
say what you or anyone else mean by the word. What do you mean by
it, and what view do you want to replace it by? At one point you
seem about to express your alternative view:

The alternatives to these two versions of reality individualism and
collectivism is to use control theory and construct a third
conception of reality in terms of "community." This notion of
community, contrary to both the individualist and the Durkheimian
collectivist conceptions has an factual basis-- as a historical
matter there have been human communities.

But all you have done is introduce another undefined word,
"community". Ordinarily this word would be taken to mean something
like "a group of individuals living together in some form of social
organization with cohesion in planning and operation and/or
manifesting some underlying trait or common interest" (from Google).
But you can't mean anything like that, because in the next sentence
you say:

In contrast there has never been an individual or a collective in
the Durkheimian sense.

O'Brien, meet Thatcher. Thatcher, meet O'Brien. O'Brien, meet Bill
Williams, he has some new entries for your dictionary.

What is this novel sense of the word "individual", according to which
there are none? If there are no individuals, what is a "community",
as distinct from a "collective"?

Any dictionary will give you an unproblematic definition of
"individual": a single person; a single thing; separate and distinct
from others of the same kind; and so on (Google again; I could look
up the OED when I get home, but it will say much the same).
According to these definitions, there are individuals. I am one, you
are another, George W. Bush is a third. According to most people's
definitions, there are around 6 billion individual people alive right
now, and some multiple of that who have ever lived. According to
your definition, whatever it is, it applies to nothing at all. Why
do you use the same word?

-- Richard Kennaway

···

At 16:37 -0500 23/6/04, Williams, William D. wrote:

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.24.1132 MDT)]

Richard Kennaway (2004.06.24.1718 BST) --

Richard, I know it's hard to resist getting sucked into Bill Williams'
private world, but I really advise against it. You are asking him for what
he cannot provide: a rational answer to a civil question. He will tell you
that there is an answer, but he will not give it to you. He will tell you
that he knows something, but he will not tell you what it is. He will tell
you that your arguments have long been discarded by all the best thinkers,
but he will not tell you what is wrong with what you said. He puts labels
on ideas and offers the labels as if they were analyses. When he is backed
into a corner and faced with the fact that he made a mistake, he falls into
a black fury, justifying his vituperations by saying they are a
carefully-thought-out strategy for teaching you a lesson, and of course
claiming that he feels nothing but a cosmic amusement. He says he is
holding up a mirror, but it is a pane of glass through which his true
nature is all too clearly visible.

"Individualism" is not a technical term or a description of a philosophical
position. It has nothing to do with dictionary meanings. It is a word like
"nigger" or "kike" or "communist," used because of an emotional reaction
against the sound of a word. It reminds people who share the same beliefs
that they are a group and think alike. It helps to reassure them that they
are "team players", insiders, sharers of the same secret knowledge. If he
uses this term 27 times and you are not cowed, he will use it 27 more
times, or however many it takes to make his case -- since he has no other
way to make it and does not himself understand why the people he admires
think it is so bad. All he knows is that nice people do not say things
about individuals, and that if they do, they are nothing but dirty
individualists and decent people should not associate with them.

Let's talk about something else: for example, a book on the properties and
possibilities of control system models in the life sciences. I think the
time has come. We can probably do it in two years.

Best,

Bill P.

From [Marc Abrams (2004.06.24.1623)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.24.1132 MDT)]

Let's talk about something else: for example, a book on the properties

and

possibilities of control system models in the life sciences. I think

the

time has come. We can probably do it in two years.

Before plunging ahead I would think it might prove useful to see how you
can add to the existing literature.

_Physiological Control Systems_ 2000, Michael C.K Khoo, IEEE Press in
Biomedical Engineering

_Neural Adaptive Control Technology_, Zbikowski & Hunt, World
Scientific, 1996

_Control Theory and Biological Systems_, Grodins F.S., Columbia
University Press, 1963

_The Application of Control Theory to Physiological Systems_, H.T.
Milhorn, Saunders, 1966

_Biomedical Engineering Systems_, M. Clynes & J.M Milsum, McGraw-Hill,
1970

_Living Control Systems_, L.E. Bayless, English University Press, 1966

_Principles of Biological Regulation_ R.W. Jones, Academic Press, 1973

_Biological Control System Analysis_, J.H. Milsum, McGraw-Hill, 1966

_Control Theory and Physiological Feedback Mechanism's_ Williams &
Wilkins, Baltimore, 1970

_Neurological Control Systems_, Plenum Press, 1968

and lets not forget Wieners, _Cybernetics: Control and Communication in
the Animal and the Machine_

Khoo did a fine job of updating the work done in the '60's and 70's by
these various authors.

Marc

Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have
been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who
are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something
different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.

Being smart is what keeps some people from being intelligent.

Thomas Sowell

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the
difference.

Anon

I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get
elected

Anon

From[Bill Williams 24 June 2004 4:00 PM CST]

[From Richard Kennaway (2004.06.24.1718 BST)]

From[Bill Williams 23 June 2004 6:20 PM CST]

My comments marked by pound signs ##.

Still using defective mail software?

Yes.

The university installs Micro Soft on their standard setup. Following the hard disk crash on the previous computer I am using the new stuff,

But, the mail software is still Micro Soft.

I regard the issues that revolve about term, and concept of individual and individualism as having been the source of some real mistakes in the implementation of PCT type, or PCT derived, programs.

The questions involved are not ones that I believe can be resolved by who said what appears in however excellent a dictionary.

I hope that Bruce Nevin has time to respond to your question. The issues concerning the use of the term and concept of an individual are of, as I understand it looking in from the outside, important in linguistics.

Let me think about how to explain what is involved and I will attempt to answer your question.

Bill Williams

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.24.1430)]

Marc Abrams (2004.06.24.1623)]

Bill Powers (2004.06.24.1132 MDT)--

Let's talk about something else: for example, a book on the properties
and possibilities of control system models in the life sciences. I think
the time has come. We can probably do it in two years.

Before plunging ahead I would think it might prove useful to see how you
can add to the existing literature.

_Physiological Control Systems_ 2000, Michael C.K Khoo, IEEE Press in
Biomedical Engineering

_Neural Adaptive Control Technology_, Zbikowski & Hunt, World
Scientific, 1996 ...achine_

Does the existing literature explain that behavior is the control of
perceptual variables. That is, does the existing literature explain that the
basic function of a control system is to keep p = r where p is a complex
function of environmental variables: p = f(q1, q2,....qn)? If not, I think
you see at least one way the book Bill describes can be a very important
addition to the existing literature.

Regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400

From [Marc Abrams (2004.06.24.1840)]

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.24.1430)]

Does the existing literature explain that behavior is the control of
perceptual variables.

_NO_. :slight_smile: And that is the reason I am such a pain in the ass and
continue to stay on CSGnet.

You do have a _BIG_ opportunity (I believe) with PCT _IF_ you handle it
properly but this window is not going to stay open another 30 years.
Negative feedback and control is involved in more microbiological
research than ever

Stick with what you know and what you model best _PCT_. Let the
physiologists and biologists decide how PCT should be structured (i.e.
what kind of hierarchies or networks exist in the systems) to represent
their areas of expertise. Whether it be nuclear, cell or system
processes.

If you go in and try to 'sell' the current hierarchy as presently
constructed you will fail.

It would be _real_ helpful if you had a model or two of a biological or
physiological process you could show. A book, not supported by any data
(i.e a model) and/or some research will be a waste of time.

Anyone know any physiologists or biologists willing to work with Bill or
Rick on a nice little project? :slight_smile:

Good luck, I'd love to see it.

Marc

Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have
been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who
are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something
different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.

Being smart is what keeps some people from being intelligent.

Thomas Sowell

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the
difference.

Anon

I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get
elected

Anon

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.1640)]

Marc Abrams (2004.06.24.1840)]

Rick Marken (2004.06.24.1430)]

Does the existing literature explain that behavior is the control of
perceptual variables.

_NO_. :slight_smile: And that is the reason I am such a pain in the ass and
continue to stay on CSGnet.

You do have a _BIG_ opportunity (I believe) with PCT _IF_ you handle it
properly but this window is not going to stay open another 30 years.

Don't worry. Marc. I'm sure that behavior will remain the control of
perception for far more than 30 years.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400

From[Bill Williams 24 June 2004 5:10 PM CST]

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.24.1132 MDT)]

Richard Kennaway (2004.06.24.1718 BST) --

Richard, Not to worry only the grad students seem to be catching
whatever mental condition it is that I have developed.

However, I will corroborate, and even emphasise Bill Powers
warning-- that my private world is seductive, and you might wish
to give careful consideration to the risks involved in being sucked
into another universe, you might never be seen again.

I don't think I want to issue a Manifesto. But, maybe I could manage a
somewhat informal review of the literature. Who knows, maybe you are a
subversive sort of guy who might think that health care ought to be
provided for poor children before spending, as Rick Marken says,
"trillions and trillions" going to Mars on a trip that won't cost
anything.

Bill Williams

Richard, I know it's hard to resist getting sucked into Bill Williams'
private world, but I really advise against it.

However, there is now a 12 step program to assist the suckers.

You are asking him for what he cannot provide: a rational answer to a
civil question.

Actually I thought I provided a "civil" and even rational answer to
Bill Powers in suggesting we move the economics discussion to the
ECACS forum where we attempt and often succeed in treating each other
with a measure of consideration.

However, what I thought was a civil invitation wasn't perceived in the
spirit in which the invitation was offered.

But I can quote Rick Marken on, not you understand that it
is going to cost anything to go to mars, the fact that this great
democracy is going to spend "trillions and trillions" going to Mars

He will tell you that there is an answer, but he will not give it to you.
He will tell you that he knows something, but he will not tell you what
it is.

Actually what I know, or a part of what I know, is carefully hidden on
page 87. in Porfessor Bruun's dissertation-- the savings investment
identity.

He will tell you that your arguments have long been discarded by all
the best thinkers, but he will not tell you what is wrong with what
you said.

Bill I can only provide you with the best argument I can come up with.
However, I can not provide you with an understanding. If I can't
explain the Keynesian system to you, why not ask professor Bruun.

He puts labels on ideas and offers the labels as if they were analyses.

Well, in my defense I can point out that I have yet to mistake calling
someone an asshole for providing an analysis.

When he is backed into a corner and faced with the fact that he made
a mistake,

Bill Powers began to think that I was "dog poop" when I proposed that
using control theory to clean up the Keynesian system.

he falls into a black fury, justifying his vituperations by saying
they are a carefully-thought-out strategy for teaching you a lesson,
and of course claiming that he feels nothing but a cosmic amusement.

This attribution to me of a "black fury" is a bit of the mark. And,
my stragegy hasn't been all that carefully thought out, but I think
it may have worked out to my advantage. I have meant some nice folks
that encourage me from time to time. And, while I have from time to
time had a good laugh, I would prefer that all of us find more useful
things to do.

He says he is holding up a mirror, but it is a pane of glass through
which his true nature is all too clearly visible.

Actually the true nature that seems to emerge in this hall of mirrors
is Bill Powers' dad TCP. This could be checked by examining TCP's
comments on Bill Powers' work.

"Individualism" is not a technical term or a description of a
philosophical position.

Oh, really? So when a guy publishes a book with the title "Individualism
Old and New" as John Dewey did the formost American philosoher of the
time, Dewey didn't have the slightest clue what he was talking about?
Having failed to comprehend modern control theory, Keynesian econmics,
Bill Powers is making a new start as an authority on philosphy.

It has nothing to do with dictionary meanings.

Oh, then I wonder why the put the word in the dictionary? Bill Powers'
solipcism may be showing in this claim. But then I guess compiling
dictionaries is one more field that we can put on hold until Bill Powers
gets around to straightening things out.

It is a word like "nigger" or "kike" or "communist," used because of
an emotional reaction against the sound of a word.

I think words like "nigger" and "kike" represent attitudes that we should
see through and get over. "Communist" however represents a tradition that
contains some serious intellectual mistakes and has generated some
un-neccesary difficulties

It reminds people who share the same beliefs that they are a group and
think alike.

Nobody thinks remotely like the way I do, so I am sure I don't know what
Powers is talking about.

It helps to reassure them that they are "team players", insiders, sharers
of the same secret knowledge.

Sure, Williams is a well known "team player."

If he uses this term 27 times and you are not cowed, he will use it 27 more
times, or however many it takes to make his case -- since he has no other
way to make it and does not himself understand why the people he admires
think it is so bad.

The next thing you know Bill is going to bring out the "All Williams knows is..."

All he knows is that nice people do not say things
about individuals, and that if they do, they are nothing but dirty
individualists and decent people should not associate with them.

Let me remind everyone that it was Bill Powers who was calling poor ole
Ludwig von Mises an asshole not me. This goes to show just how much
Bill Powers knows about me. I not only associated with a known
individualist I even was cited by this individualist. And when I organized
a memorial session for my mentor I invited the individualist (who choose
Lionell Robbins as a dissertation suppervisor--london School of Ecnomics)
to speak. I'm a team player --- sure. Ask Sturgeon after he gets out of
the intensive care center. Once again, Bill Powers is talking about stuff
that he knows little about.

Bill Powers makes what might be a very good suggestion,

Let's talk about something else: for example, a book on the properties and
possibilities of control system models in the life sciences. I think the
time has come. We can probably do it in two years.

However, I think there is still time to consider this question regarding
individualism and cultural theory.

From [Marc Abrams (2004.06.24.2045)]

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.1640)]

Don't worry. Marc. I'm sure that behavior will remain the control of
perception for far more than 30 years.

Worried? Hardly Rick, I'm going in my own direction and having the time
of my life doing it.

Bill seems to think that control theory is something foreign to the life
sciences and it's not. Not by a long shot. If you ever hope to influence
the life sciences Bill will have to do a better job than he did with Jay
Forrester last year.

You see Rick, Bill agreed with Jay and company that _mathematically_ his
model is no different than Jay's negative feedback model. What is needed
in my opinion is an SD model that shows the differences between a
'normal' SD model' and one with a PCT perspective.

In my opinion, PCT needs to become the defacto behavioral model for all
SD modelers. You have some key allies in the SD community. All you need
to do is come up with a few good working examples for them to chew on
and be able to support you with.

I'm not trying to minimize the effort required for this but I think it's
something worth doing. Probably more worthwhile than writing a book for
the life sciences because SD is widely used in a number of disciplines,
with economics, and biology being two of them.

Marc

Being smart is what keeps some people from being intelligent.

Thomas Sowell

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the
difference.

Anon

I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get
elected

Anon

From[Bill Williams 24 June 2004 2:00 PM CST]

From [Marc Abrams (2004.06.24.2045)]

[From Rick Marken (2004.06.1640)]

Don't worry. Marc. I'm sure that behavior will remain the control of
perception for far more than 30 years.

Worried? Hardly Rick, I'm going in my own direction and having the time
of my life doing it.

Bill seems to think that control theory is something foreign to the life
sciences and it's not. Not by a long shot. If you ever hope to influence
the life sciences Bill will have to do a better job than he did with Jay
Forrester last year.

ou see Rick, Bill agreed with Jay and company that _mathematically_ his
model is no different than Jay's negative feedback model. What is needed
n my opinion is an SD model that shows the differences between a
'normal' SD model' and one with a PCT perspective.

In my opinion, PCT needs to become the defacto behavioral model for all
SD modelers.

Marc, your post explained something that puzzled me. I was talking to some
of the SD modelers who were here for a Post-Keynesian summer school. They
were saying negative things about Bill Powers and I didn't understand where
it was coming from. Beleive me, there is almost no possiblity that PCT is
going to go anywhere in the SD crowd. The SD people say that they are in
a process of forming a collaboration with the Post-Keynesian fraction. Do
I need say anything more?

You have some key allies in the SD community.

You may be right, but the economists in the SD community that I know are not
going to ally themselves to people with views like those of Bill Powers.

All you need to do is come up with a few good working examples for them to
chew on and be able to support you with.

After what Bill Powers has said about the economists, and Keynes in
particular a few working models are not likely to cut anything.

I'm not trying to minimize the effort required for this but I think it's
something worth doing.

I've known the SD folks for about 20 years. I think Bill Powers has already

slammed the door on this. I could be wrong, but the SD folks have their own

agenda and their own Guru. What is PCT going to do for them?

Bill Williams

[From Richard Kennaway (2004.06.25.0959 BST)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.24.1132 MDT)]

Richard Kennaway (2004.06.24.1718 BST) --

Richard, I know it's hard to resist getting sucked into Bill Williams'
private world, but I really advise against it. You are asking him for what
he cannot provide: a rational answer to a civil question.

I know, but there are some things that I can't let go unchallenged,
another of which I'll be posting on later. But I have a meeting to
go to now, a real productive-type work meeting.

-- Richard Kennaway

[From Richard Kennaway (2004.06.25.1553 BST)]

From[Bill Williams 24 June 2004 4:00 PM CST]
The questions involved are not ones that I believe can be resolved
by who said what appears in however excellent a dictionary.

They can be resolved by explaining what you mean by the words
"individual" and "community", and how you arrive as a use of these
words that departs so markedly from all ordinary usage.

I hope that Bruce Nevin has time to respond to your question.

Have you ever lived in Japan, Bill? In Japan, the above sentence
would mean, and be taken by all concerned as meaning, "no".

The issues concerning the use of the term and concept of an
individual are of, as I understand it looking in from the outside,
important in linguistics.

You are using the words with respect to economics. What has Bruce
Nevin or linguistics to do with it?

Let me think about how to explain what is involved and I will
attempt to answer your question.

In Japan, this would also mean "no".

From[Bill Williams 24 June 2004 5:10 PM CST]

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.24.1132 MDT)]

>>Richard Kennaway (2004.06.24.1718 BST) --

Richard, Not to worry only the grad students seem to be catching
whatever mental condition it is that I have developed.

However, I will corroborate, and even emphasise Bill Powers
warning-- that my private world is seductive, and you might wish
to give careful consideration to the risks involved in being sucked
into another universe, you might never be seen again.

Don't worry yourself, I've seen you turn the rationality on and off
like a tap enough times not to be taken in.

I don't think I want to issue a Manifesto. But, maybe I could manage a
somewhat informal review of the literature.

In Japan, this would be a third "no". In Japan, three noes are
definitive: they admit of no possibility that the request will ever
be fulfilled.

Who knows, maybe you are a
subversive sort of guy who might think that health care ought to be
provided for poor children before spending, as Rick Marken says,
"trillions and trillions" going to Mars on a trip that won't cost
anything.

Mars is irrelevant to this context.

However, I think there is still time to consider this question regarding
individualism and cultural theory.

The time is always now, and by the volume of your other postings to
CSGNET, you clearly have the time. This is a central theme of your
work that I am asking about. It should not be so difficult for you
to answer.

-- Richard Kennaway