[From Rick Marken (980807.1812)]

Bruce Gregory (980807.1941 EDT)--

Then it seems to me that "voluntary" and "coerced" like "decide"
and "choose" is terminology carried over from an out-moded view
of behavior. They have no place in PCT.

I think they have no place in PCT as _explanatory_ concepts; but
they certainly have a place in PCT discussions since (for me
anyway) these words refer to phenomena that everyone understands.

Bill Powers (980807.0538 MDT) tried to describe the phenomenon
of _voluntary_ (as opposed to coerced) selection of a goal.
There is obviously a phenomenon we refer to as _coercion_, though
people seem to disagree, far more than I would have imagined,
about what it is (rape at knife point is not coercion if the
rapee stops resisting?!?!). I have had the experience of having
to _choose_ between alternatives; afterwords I have felt that I
have made a good or a bad _decision_.

I think we should be able to use ordinary language when we talk
about PCT. This even applies when we talk about the model -- though
when we get into actually testing the model we have to be rigorous
about definitions.

For me, it's rather easy to tell, from ordinary language, whether
someone grasps the model or not. When reviewers say that a paper
of mine was "an attempt to demonstrate how behavior is controlled
by perception" it's clear that there is a problem here that is
a lot deeper than a misunderstanding of the term "behavior".
When someone on the net says "the responses of a control system
are selected by its consequences" I think we've clearly got a
conceptual problem here that is deeper than the fact that actions
are not "responses" in PCT

I have not received my copy of "Making Sense of Behavior" yet,
but I seem to recall that in early versions of the book Bill was
able to use ordinary English to explain the perceptual control
model and the phenomena it explains.

As Marc Abrams (980806.1533) explained so well, the problem
with understanding PCT is not in our words, but in our wills.




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

[From Bill Powers (980808.0954 MDT)]

Rick Marken (980807.1812)--

A really fine post, Rick. I agree that we ought to be able to talk in
ordinary language, and that usually we can. All our problems seem to arise,
as you say, when people start trying to deal with ordinary language by
trying to make technical terms out of non-technical words. That's why I
can't get very interested in all the proposed taxonomies of coercion,
extortion, and the rest. Those aren't technical terms and never will be.


Bill P.

[From Rick Marken (930924.1000)]

Chris Wickens said:

I dont think any of us in the serious manual control literature
believe that error (as defined explicitly by the difference
between the state of the output..its position and derivative --
and the input -- its position and derivatives) MUST
automatically be the signal that drives control (with an
opposite sign, to reduce the error).

Bill Powers (930923.1930 MDT) replied:

I'm gradually learning from experience: before we get into a big
discussion about PCT vs. the manual control literature, we're
going to have to get our terminology straightened out.

I saw the problem with Chris's statement above too, of course,
but was too lazy to try to start straightening things out,
terminology-wise. Your post [Powers (930923.1930 MDT)] does a
beautiful job of clarifying terms -- even putting the reference
input on the left where it "belongs".

I was willing to assume, after reading Chris's post, that his
"output" was our "controlled variable" and his "input" was
our reference signal. What else could it have been?