Significant agreement!

From Greg Williams (921020)

Gary Cziko 921019.0217 GMT

I don't see why anyone should feel reluctant to discuss issues relevant to
PCT on the network with anyone else on the network. Indeed I would prefer
that the private discussions that have been going between some netters on
relevant to PCT all be put on the net so that all may enjoy or disregard as
each wishes. I don't see discussions on CSGnet as an imposition on anyone,
rather as sharing. As Bill has said, we all have delete keys (or a mouse
with which to drag things into the trash bin).

But such "sharing" can become a burden on busy people, especially if it
appears that not many other netters are very interested in it. So far, I count
less than 10 "keep it up" posts. So I'll keep this short. I doubt that I'll
continue unless I feel I've been considerably maligned.



A "deceptive dog" story, told to Pat yesterday...

This is a good story indeed, but did it actually happen? I find it hard to
believe, but not living with dogs perhaps I underestimate their powers of
perceptual control.

It was told as matter-of-fact. But it WAS anecdotal, as they say. Grad
students, here's the research project you've been awaiting (just try to get it
past the animal research ethics committee!)


Bill Powers (921019.0900)

I'm getting pretty tired of this "ideology" crap, buddy. Let's start
breaking down some meanings into PCT terms.

Let's do "importance."

Again I repeat that I have no problems with your definition. And again I say
that many people attach great importance to the outcomes of social
interactions involving persons who are controlling their perceptions which are
dependent on others' actions, regardless of whether the interactions are
"important" as you define it (that is, involving reorganization of the control
structure of someone upon whose actions another's controlled perception
depends) or are "unimportant." I'm saying that your definition is simply not
relevant for people who study such interactions or for people who are
actually involved in such interactions.

The influencer acts either by altering the disturbing variable or the
environmental link. The result in either case is a change in the
action. No alteration in the organization of the control system is
required unless control is made impossible. The action simply changes
as required to maintain the perception near the reference signal. The
"action" label could include many lower-level control systems.

I agree.

As a result of altering the disturbance or the link, the influencer
perceives a change in the action. The influencer can therefore learn
to control the action in the above diagram to match the influencer's
reference level for it (via perceiving, comparing, and acting as
usual). The influencee's action as perceived by the influencer is
therefore important to the influencer by the same definition.

I agree.

The only way for the action to become important to the influencee
would be for it to be perceived and compared with a reference signal
of its own.

I agree, but it can become important RETROSPECTIVELY: "Ooops! I was wrong to
do that!" And it can be important TO THIRD-PARTY "OBSERVERS" (such as
sociologists and police officers).

But this would mean that both the action and its effect on
the controlled variable in the diagram would be independently
controlled. This would immediately produce conflict, because for the
controlled variable in the diagram to be controlled, the action must
be determined by the disturbing variable and the reference signal in
the diagram. Any other effect on the action would constitute a
disturbance, which the control system in the diagram would resist by
altering its output. So the influencee cannot have goals both for the
controlled variable and for the action that controls it, if conflict
is to be avoided.

So the influencing person can control the action of the influencee,
but the influencee cannot have any preference for one degree or sign
of action over another.

Non-retrospectively, non-third-party, I agree, although I still think that the
phrase "control the action" is unfortunate, since the "influencer" is actually
ONLY controlling his/her OWN PERCEPTIONS.

Nor can the influencee control the influencee's own action.

I agree. People can only control (some of) their own PERCEPTIONS, not actions.

The controlled variable is important to the influencee and is
controlled by the influencee but not by the influencer. The
influencee's action is important to the influencer and is controlled
by the influencer but not by the influencee. This all presumes no
change of organization and no loss of control by the influencee.

With your technical definition of "importance," here, I agree, again with the
caveat about the influencee's action being "controlled" by the influencer.

So far this is straight PCT, is it not?

It is straight PCT plus a PCT-based definition of importance.

Gary, this the kind of significant agreement between Bill and I which you
asked to be noted. Please excuse me now while I go build some walls.

Your buddy,