Social Reality

From[Bill Williams 4 June 2004 9:25 AM CST]

[From Bill Powers (2004.06.04.0732w MDT)]

In response to

Bruce Nevin (06.03.2004 23:15 EDT) --


Linguistics, economics, and other behavioral disciplines work without
models for the most part,

I have no idea how Linguists go about what they do. Bruce can speak to this part of Bill Powers' assertion if he wishes.

However, when Bill Powers describes economics as working for the most part without models he could not be more wrong. The "model" that has dominated economics for more than a century has been the conception of economic behavior as a process of maximization. But, the PCT approach to economics can't be bothered with taking the time to acquire the most basic information about a field of inquiry. Bill Powers knows that it is _all_ junk and that is all he needs to know. Anyone from economics reading the above statement becomes immediately aware that Bill Powers doesn't know the first thing about economics.

From my standpoint I don't see that there is necessarily anything contained in control theory that makes it a necessity to approach social theory using the approach that Bill Powers is using. Often the only association that I can see between Bill Powers remarks on methodological questions and control theory is that the same man talks about his preconceptions in terms of control theory. As far as I am concerned there is a largely accidental association of ideas that I often don't find compelling.

I think those of us who are interested in a control theory approach to a theory of culture should continue to discuss such a project. Bill Powers' approach to cultural theory is-- "Who need it?" and "Do it my way." The results that this approach has had in psychology may provide some indication of what is wrong with attempting to introduce a method into a culture without having a theory of culture.

Bill Williams