Taylor's ketchup -- economy size reply

From Rick Marken (940531.0900)]

Martin Taylor (940530 17:00) --

Welcome back!

It is quite possible that, as Rick says, a global summed
error can be experienced as an emotion, but more to the point, I think,
is the possibility that one cannot consciously attend to all the
different perceptions that "support" the high-level perception that
is identified as being in error.

I was not saying that " a global summed error can be experienced as an
emotion". I was arguing that only perceptual signals can become objects of
awareness; not reference signals (wants) or error signals, unless they
themselves become perceptual signals (go through a perceptual function).
Regardless of why they occur (and I agree with the Powers model of emotion,
of course) emotions are perceptions and, thus, can become objects of
awareness. My point, however, was that, because we can only become aware of
perceptions (apparently) we can only infer -- from the states of
the perceptual variables themselves --the wants that may be responsible for
these variables being in particular states.

Does saying "I can't perceive 'uncertainty' per se" equate to "I can't
perceive my degree of assurance about the state of something," regardless
of what the soemthing might be?

I said that there were perceptions I would describe as "uncertainty". I
think Bill Powers' (940530.1840 MDT) reply to you on this captures my
experience as well:

While I do admit to feeling uncertain in some circumstances, most of the
time I am neither certain nor uncertain; certainty is not a dimension being
controlled, in most cases.

As I said before, I think this discussion of "control of uncertainty" might
become clearer to everyone if an uncertainty controller were diagrammed and
(even better) modelled on a computer.

I said:

One reason I left the net for a time was because I was told (or it was
implied) that the mere possibility of my posting criticism of alternative
models of behavior stifled people's willingness to present and discuss these
models. Yet, while I was gone there was very little (none?) discussion of
alternative models anyway. I find this reluctance to discuss alternative
models very puzzling. The only explanation I can think of (and I can't
believe it's right) is that proponents of alternative models are simply
afraid of careful, reasoned and sometimes even empirical criticism of their

Martin replies:

A little disingenuous, perhaps? The main "alternative model" was the
information theory approach, wasn't it (though I continue to believe
that it is not an alternative at all)?.

I'm not the one who thinks that discussion of alternative models was
stifled. It was other people (not you, of course) who said this about me. I
know alternative models were discussed (information theory, feedforward,
interactionist, output generation, etc), some more intensely than others. But
there apparently was a perception that I was stifling conversation about
these models. What was actually going on, of course, was that I (along with
some others) was honestly pointing out problems with these models and how
they differed from PCT. To some of the advocates of these models, this was
apparently perceived as "stifling". I left the net so that all these
purportedly stifled discussions could blossom. They did not blossom (as I
anticipated) proving (to me) that the only thing many advocates of
"alternative models" would consider "non-stifling" discussion would be
statements like "yes, that model really makes sense" or "yes, that model
is compatiable with PCT" or "yes, that model really explains something that
PCT never even considered" or "yes, that model really is basic to PCT".

Actually, when I was told that I was stifling discussion of alternative
models, I assumed that information theory was NOT one those models. There are
two reasons for this: 1) the discussion of IT was obviously NOT stifled
and 2) IT theorists (like you) believe that IT is consistent with PCT and as
long as you believe that it is, then it is.

I bet many of the people who felt "stifled" by my comments about their
theories probably felt that way because they couldn't understand why I
persisted in finding problems with theories that are so obviously consistent
with PCT. So my new policy is to assume that these theories ARE consistent
with PCT and that apparent contradictions are a reflection of my own lack of
understanding. This is why I would like to see a model of the uncertainty
controller, for example. It looks like "control of uncertainty" is a
fundemental link between IT and PCT -- it's just one that I have not been
able to understand. Pictures might help.