Simulations and Metaphors

[Dan Miller (980206.1130)]

Bruce Nevin

I understand that simulations and models are big with folks who think
they can't study what they really want to study. Actually studying
the phenomenon you purport to explain gets so messy and it's time
consuming - let alone the fact that you might have to deal with
people.

But to answer your question about my understanding of terms:
A simulation is defined as an imitation; a sham; a representation, as
of a potential situation; representation of the operation or features
of one process or system through the use of another. A metaphor is a
word or phrase that designates one thing as applied to another in an
implicit comparison. A model is a schematic description or
simulation of a system that accounts for its properties and may be
used to further study those properties. Do you not see any
similarities there? Or are you a true believer who does not have to
question - only preach?

The model is not the thing. I would suggest studying the thing
(e.g., lots of different forms of individual and social behavior) in
nature. Make very accurate descriptions. Don't rely on a metaphor
to tell you how the world works. But these are only suggestions.
You can do what you want.

Rick Marken

I asked you the questions. You answered in questions. An
interesting tactic. My questions remained (mostly) unanswered.
BTW, I am disputing your (and others) high correlations. They are
misrepresentations - only possible if you tell and show people how to
do your study. I could say that I think that anticipations are
absolutely necessary features of living control systems (not models),
but then I would resort to your ploy - that of the expert. I do,
however, believe that anticipating is a central property of control.
I've drawn this conclusion from research, reading, and, of course, my
own experience. It is through the reading that I understood the
relationship between simulation, metaphor, and model. This ability
to read and comprehend helped me in school, too.

Always,
Dan

Dan Miller
miller@riker.stjoe.udayton.edu

i.kurtzer (980206.2330)
[Dan Miller (980206.1130)]

Dan, i'm a bit confused. The following samples suggest a position that i
consider nearly anti-science.

I understand that simulations and models are big with folks who think
they can't study what they really want to study.

For example, aside from the "folks' " motives are your suggesting that the
fleshing of of a hypothesis in a fixed form to generate predictions--given
analogous conditions for the world and the model--is _not_ studying the
matter.

Actually studying

>the phenomenon you purport to explain gets so messy and it's time
>consuming - let alone the fact that you might have to deal with
>people.

All the papers i've referred to deal with real persons.
Marken, Powers, Bourbon, Pavlovski, Hershberger, Robertson, Plooji, and at
least 10 more have done PCT studies involving real persons and some non-
humans--chimps, and chicks.

I would suggest studying the thing

>(e.g., lots of different forms of individual and social behavior) in
>nature. Make very accurate descriptions.

This has been done before and should obviously be continued.

Don't rely on a metaphor to tell you how the world works.

But this purported metaphor has been extremely successful. It has told us how
the world works in those scrutinized situations. I feel that should give us
some confidence that we are on the right trial.

>BTW, I am disputing your (and others) high correlations. They are
>misrepresentations - only possible if you tell and show people how to
>do your study.

All that is public within the methods section, or is so implicit as to not be
worth mentioning. Marken "and others" have not kept this privy to themselves,
but provide a Method section so that other others can check for themselves.
In what way is this condemnable?

I could say that I think that anticipations are

>absolutely necessary features of living control systems (not models),
>but then I would resort to your ploy - that of the expert.

A few small points not to construed as antagonistic. First, Marken is an
expert of purposive behavior. His papers--notably the collection "Mind
Reading"--is seminal work. He has earned that expertise by casting his
questions in a manner amendable to prediction. That is science. Now, as to
whether you would say "anticipations" are an integral feature of living
control systems--breathe--then you are responsible to demonstrate that. Until
then your contention carries no weight.
I, for one, would be very interested in how "anticipation" would be so
demonstated as necessary.

i.

[Dan Miller (980207)]

Izaac Kurtzer:

Once, again, I liked your post. I'll try to answer a few of your
questions. I don't think I am anti-science so much as I am
pro-observation and description as the best place to start the more
serious scientific endeavors. For, example in a ball catching
observation. I can make this observation because I used to play a
lot of ball, I still watch a lot of it, and I have read considerably.
This is not to be construed that I am an expert, but only a student
of human behavior (control). The example: a catcher anticipating a
curve ball has a great deal of trouble catching a fastball (indeed
s/he often misses it), but has no trouble catching a fastball when
one is expected. This is only suggestive, I know, but it's the best
I can do. Oh, here is another one, maybe. Could a person be a good
bridge player without anticipation in the act of controlling
perceptual input? If so, then I would want to invite that person to
play poker at my Saturday night game. Now, I understand that this
is not science as you and others construe it, but it is a serious
question.

I have nothing but respect for the research of Powers, Bourbon, the
Plooijes, and others. I do have some trouble with some, though.
With respect to Rick's published research (and I refer only to some
of it - most notably those that report the high correlations), I
believe that the sample he drew from is highly biased and very small.
I would like to have seen naive subjects only given the reference
signal they were to control for, then turned loose with the task.
I'm not sure that the statistical measure used was appropriate - why
correlation in a series of point-in-time comparisons of two points?
(or am I misunderstanding this?). I don't see why I would have to
provide new data to ask these questions.

Yes, the studies you note and others should give you evidence that
you are on the right trail. My argument isn't about Perceptual
Control Theory, but with some claims made by people on this list.
For instance, that they know for certain what constitutes PCT
research and what does not. What constitutes data and what does not.
For example, I could suggest that my observations regarding catching
curves and fastballs are data. This is how I would define the
observations. Any others?

We are all experts on purposive behavior. Marken's range of
expertise on the science of purposive behavior is so narrow and
constrained that I do not find his work particularly helpful. My
reading of his work is that it continually demonstrates that living
organisms are control systems. Agreed. Perhaps we should move on.
Also, his works on behavior (illusion) are simplistic and obfuscating
- or more pertinently rhetorical.

I'll stop my harangue here, but write more in my response to Rick.

Keep the faith,
Dan

Dan Miller
miller@riker.stjoe.udayton.edu