Terminological Exercise

[From Rick Marken (930926.1400)]

Ken Hacker (930926) asks for input on some terminology. Here we go.
And a one and a two and a ...

a) Some human behavior is intentional; some is not. Intentionality
   involves design and planning, plans of action which are deliberated.

If "behavior" means "any result of human action" then, yes, some
human behavior is intentional and some is not. An intention (in PCT)
is the setting of a reference signal; this setting specifies a
particular (perceptual) result of action. So some results (those
that correspond to intended perceptions) are intentional -- others
are not. A concrete example: a person might intend to produce the
perception of cold water being swallowed -- but not the annoying
"glurking" sounds that accompany the production of that perception;
perception of cold water is an intended result of "drinking" actions;
perception of glurking sounds (also a result of drinking actions)
is not.

Intention involves "design" -- the reference signal is the "design"
for the intended perception -- but not necessarily "planning" (though
it could, as in fixing a lawnmower using imagination of possible
results of actions). "Plans of action" (in the sense in which PCT
uses the term "action" -- as an influence on a behavioral result)
are definitely NOT involved in intention; there is no way to con-
sisently produce an intended result by planning the actions that
will produce it (due to the presense of unpredictable and
undetectable disturbances that also influence the result).

b) All human behavior is purposive. Purposes are hierarchical and must
   exist at all levels of human systems. They are neurophysiological
   and as Hawkins argues, most powerful, when are not aware of them.

Purposive behavior is an intentionally produced result of action.
Not all human behavior is purposive; in fact, many of the results
of human action are NOT purposive.

Purposes do seem to be hierarchically related; purposes (intended
results) are achieved in order to achieve other purposes.
Purposes are neurophysiological (they are the firing rates of
perceptual (afferent) and reference (efferent) neurons). I am not
sure in what sense one purpose can be more "powerful" than
another. But I don't believe that awareness does anything to a
purpose other than, perhaps, start or increase the rate of the
process of reorganizing the control system that is carrying out
that purpose (at least according to PCT). I think there is some
evidence that awareness leads to reorganization; just concentrate
(focus conscious awareness) on the means by which you achieve some
common purpose (such as turning a key in a lock) and see what
happens (there should be some loss of control).

c) Goals are purposes made intentional. The person attempts to intervene
   with automatic control processes.

A goal is a purpose is an intention, from the point of view of PCT. All
three words refer to the same thing (I think) -- the setting of a
reference signal. My goal is to pick up the pen; so I have a reference
signal that species a particular relationship between the pen and
the table. My purpose is to pick the pen up; again, it seems that I
am referring to a reference specification for a perception (of a
relationship between pen and table). My intention is to pick up the
pen; again referring to the reference state of a perceptual variable.
When the pen is picked up, I will have carried out an intention or
a purpose and achieved the goal. The words "purpose", "intention" and
"goal" are ambiguous, however, because they can refer to the reference
state of the controlled perceptual variable as well. My purpose,
intention or goal in picking up the pen could refer to the perception
that actually results when I successfully pick up the pen.

PCT terminology helps remove some of the lack of precision that comes
from using words like purpose, intention and goal to describe control.
But I suppose it will be impossible to get people to give up the lay
terminology. So we'll just have to live with the ambiguities, which, I
suppose, are not all that bad. The nouns purpose, intention and goal
refer to both the reference signals and the state of the perceptions
that corresponds to those reference signals. The verbs purpose and intend
refer to the process (control) by which perceptual variables are brought
to and maintained at a NEAR match with reference signals.