Synchronous swimming

[From Bruce Abbott (980625.1030 EST)]

Anyone care to wish me a happy birthday? (:->

Rick Marken (980624.2200) --

It would be nice if all PCT advocates could agree about (almost)
everything related to PCT. But I don't think there is any magic
way to get this agreement. Have you noticed any significant
disagreement between Bill and myself over coercion (or any other
PCT topic) by the way? Bill and I tend to agree because we both
understand (from working with models and using these models to
mimic behavior) how the PCT model works and how it applies to
behavior.

This is only partly true. Sometimes Bill and you agree because you are
talking about the same fundamentals, such as how the standard PCT control
system behaves under various disturbance waveforms, or what the effect of
lowering the gain would be. At other times Bill and you agree because you
have learned how Bill thinks about certain matters and can anticipate what
position he will take, and not because there is only one PCT-consistent
interpretation. At yet other times you simply wait to hear what Bill's
position is, see that it can indeed follow from your understanding of PCT
and the phenomenon in question (as you understand it), and adopt that
position as if no other were possible. I think that your position on
coercion developed in this last way. To adopt Bill's PCT model of coercion,
it is not enough to understand and apply PCT to the problem, and see that
Bill's model fits. You also have to agree with Bill's particular view of
what coercion is.

Bill has taken position that coercion occurs when two control systems are
trying to control the same environmental variable and one of the two systems
(the coercer) is able to overpower the other system's control actions, so
that only the coercer is able to control the variable. This model is
consistent with one dictionary definition of the term, but are other
definitions with which this model is not consistent. Some hold that
coercion involves the coercive system forcing the coerced system to _behave_
as the coercive system specifies, either by overriding the coerced system's
outputs, or by creating severe conflict between systems within the coercee
which can be resolved only by doing as the coercer specifies ("talk and I'll
loosen the thumbscrews"). Others hold that coercion occurs only if the
behavior specified of the coercee by the coercer is "against the coercee's
will." A reasonable PCT interpretation of that phrase is the the coercee
has a goal that conflicts with that of the coercee. Under this view of
coercion, coercion cannot be taking place if the coercer demands that the
coercee do something that the coercee is willing to do voluntarily.

Given the fact that different conceptions, requiring different PCT models,
are possible, the notion that you and Bill almost always agree, simply
because you both know PCT, does not stand up to rational examination.
There's something more going on here, and I'm not going to rest until Oliver
Stone tells me what it is. (;->

Regards,

Bruce

Bruce,

<Given the fact that different conceptions, requiring different PCT models,
are possible, the notion that you and Bill almost always agree, simply
because you both know PCT, does not stand up to rational examination.
There's something more going on here, and I'm not going to rest until
Oliver
Stone tells me what it is. (;->

This is funny. Thanks. But all that is going on is Rick controlling his
perceptions (whatever they might be). His behavior is just perceived as
bizarre by many other PCTers. It's all PCT. No Coercion involved.

Kenny

[From Rick Marken (980624.0900)]

Bruce Abbott (980625.1030 EST)--

Anyone care to wish me a happy birthday? (:->

I wish you a happy everything.

I also wish you would tell me why you think there has been
such a lack of interest in and recognition of PCT.

Given the fact that different conceptions, requiring different
PCT models, are possible, the notion that you and Bill almost
always agree, simply because you both know PCT, does not stand
up to rational examination. There's something more going on here,
and I'm not going to rest until Oliver Stone tells me what it
is. (;->

It's a conspiracy, all right. Mary Powers is part of it too. Do I
get leniency for naming names? ;-)).

Best

Rick

ยทยทยท

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bill Powers (980525.10564 MDT)]

Bruce Abbott (980625.1030 EST)--

Anyone care to wish me a happy birthday? (:->

No. I'm only interested in MY birthday when _I_ get the presents and the
cake and everybody sings for ME.

Bill has taken position that coercion occurs when two control systems are
trying to control the same environmental variable and one of the two systems
(the coercer) is able to overpower the other system's control actions, so
that only the coercer is able to control the variable. This model is
consistent with one dictionary definition of the term, but are other
definitions with which this model is not consistent. Some hold that
coercion involves the coercive system forcing the coerced system to _behave_
as the coercive system specifies, either by overriding the coerced system's
outputs, or by creating severe conflict between systems within the coercee
which can be resolved only by doing as the coercer specifies ("talk and I'll
loosen the thumbscrews"). Others hold that coercion occurs only if the
behavior specified of the coercee by the coercer is "against the coercee's
will." A reasonable PCT interpretation of that phrase is the the coercee
has a goal that conflicts with that of the coercee. Under this view of
coercion, coercion cannot be taking place if the coercer demands that the
coercee do something that the coercee is willing to do voluntarily.

This is an excellent example of why we shouldn't waste any more time on
coercion. The term means all things to all people. The only thing different
people can agree on is that coercion involves somebody doing something to
me that I don't like, and perhaps enjoying it.

If you analyse what the PCT model says must happen when one person controls
the behavior of another, you will find that most of the definitions are
covered. One person is made to do something against his will. Another
person applies overwhelming physical force to the victim. The coercer acts
only when the coercee causes an error in the coercer's control system, so
if the coercee goes along willingly the coercer does not need to take
drastic action. The coercer brings more and more force to bear until the
coercee succumbs. All this follows simply from what processes are involved,
according to PCT, in one person's controlling the behavior of another.
These different definitions do not designate different phenomena. They
merely emphasize one aspect or another of this interaction between two
control systems. If you understand what the basic relationship is, and the
PCT model, you don't need any of those other descriptions. The other
descriptions are the tail, legs, trunk, and body of the elephant.

I now see that Rick Marken has actually started doing the modeling of one
person controlling the behavior of another. This is exactly what we need.
By using the same model and just changing some of the parameters, Rick
demonstrates all the different things that have been called coercion. I
quibble about what happens when the coercee's gain is set to zero -- the
coercer is still controlling the variable q, but I don't think that he is
"coercing" it. It's just one of the coercer's controlled variables. I agree
with others that the informal meanings of coercion all require that two
people (at least) be involved.

But that IS a quibble. The PCT treatment reduces all the different
scenarios in the categories of interaction, conflict and coercion to a
single simple model in which the only changes necessary to show all the
different phenomena are parameter changes, not changes of organization.
Coercion, in whatever form it is presented, is an epiphenomenon resulting
from the control of one person's behavior by another person.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bill Powers (980625.1536 MDT)]

Bruce Nevin (980625.1608)--

quibble about what happens when the coercee's gain is set to zero -- the
coercer is still controlling the variable q, but I don't think that he is
"coercing" it. It's just one of the coercer's controlled variables.

That's why the cop is not coercing when he's munching his donuts, just
because he's controlling e.g. "no robberies" and will coerce if someone
comes in to rob the restaurant. The would-be robber who spots him through
the window and changes his mind may be dissuaded, but he is not coerced.

Blah, blah, blah. Show me the model.

Just because the given teacher will coerce a disrupter if
there is one does not mean that she is coercing while all the kids are
quiet, and their (to her) compliant behavior does not prove that she is
coercing.

Correct. You can't tell if she is a coercer until a disturbance of her
perceptions occurs. If she continues to be passive when a kid distrupts,
she is not a coercer. If she immediately sends the kid to the RTC, she is a
coercer even when no kid is disrupting.

The PCT treatment reduces all the different
scenarios in the categories of interaction, conflict and coercion to a
single simple model in which the only changes necessary to show all the
different phenomena are parameter changes, not changes of organization.
Coercion, in whatever form it is presented, is an epiphenomenon resulting
from the control of one person's behavior by another person.

Some folks are interested in social epiphenomena. I'm afraid that won't stop.

Yes, it will: when folks see how much more effectively they can deal with
people using the PCT model. The folk model hasn't produced any very
impressive ways of understanding or dealing with "coercion," whatever you
mean by that.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Nevin (980625.1608)]

Bill Powers (980525.10564 MDT)

I now see that Rick Marken has actually started doing the modeling of one
person controlling the behavior of another. This is exactly what we need.
By using the same model and just changing some of the parameters, Rick
demonstrates all the different things that have been called coercion.

We don't have a model demonstrating control of the other's output.

I
quibble about what happens when the coercee's gain is set to zero -- the
coercer is still controlling the variable q, but I don't think that he is
"coercing" it. It's just one of the coercer's controlled variables.

That's why the cop is not coercing when he's munching his donuts, just
because he's controlling e.g. "no robberies" and will coerce if someone
comes in to rob the restaurant. The would-be robber who spots him through
the window and changes his mind may be dissuaded, but he is not coerced.
Just so, one RTP student may be avoiding coercion, another may dislike
upsetting a teacher whom she cares for, another may be avoiding drawing
attention to himself, another might be engrossed in something he is doing
at his desk. Just because the given teacher will coerce a disrupter if
there is one does not mean that she is coercing while all the kids are
quiet, and their (to her) compliant behavior does not prove that she is
coercing.

The PCT treatment reduces all the different
scenarios in the categories of interaction, conflict and coercion to a
single simple model in which the only changes necessary to show all the
different phenomena are parameter changes, not changes of organization.

Yes, each participant is an autonomous control system organized pretty much
the same way. Setting aside the sense in which input functions and output
functions may be differently organized, and the sense in which we might say
a system is "organized" to avoid using coercive means. For example, younger
children have to be prevented from coercing their playmates. As they
mature, at least some avoid coercing those who are weaker or at a
disadvantage. This may have to wait for a certain level of control to be
developed, and then for some input functions and output functions to be
defined and some parameters to be set.

Coercion, in whatever form it is presented, is an epiphenomenon resulting
from the control of one person's behavior by another person.

Some folks are interested in social epiphenomena. I'm afraid that won't stop.

  Bruce Nevin