The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation albeit a year after it started. It is in part because I may be meeting Maturana
in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a book.

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore. There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is extremely helpful in making sense
of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora of situations in which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts this into the context that I think Chad is referring to, that it
is only possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Thus, the environment as context “re-enters� into the perceptual field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal appearance, i.e. what you want to
bring about), with behaviour that “re-enters� and modifies the context.

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal
causal one. At no point does the environmental context “cause� the behaviour of the agent. At the same time, the environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual
field. This is also a continuous process.

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation in the first place.

···

………………………â€â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦………………………….

Angus Jenkinson

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” agomezmarin@gmail.com wrote:

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing
to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to
include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Best,

Chad

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.� - Mary Catherine Bateson

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

" Behaviour, as a relation
between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior
to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously,
or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of
behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics
in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically
interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

[From Dag Forssell (2017.08.10 09:20 PDT]

Regarding Maturana, Cybernetics, and PCT: I trust you are aware of
the discussions contained in the newsletters published by Greg
Williams.


http://www.pctresources.com/Journals/Files/Continuing_the_Conversation/ContinuingTheConversation.pdf

Best, Dag

···

At 01:50 AM 8/10/2017, you wrote:

From: Angus Jenkinson
(2017-08-06)

I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation
albeit a year after it started. It is in part because I may be
meeting Maturana in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a
book.

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore.
There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is extremely helpful in
making sense of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for
a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora of situations in
which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts
this into the context that I think Chad is referring to, that it is only
possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Thus, the environment as context “re-enters�? into the perceptual
field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal appearance, i.e.
what you want to bring about), with behaviour that “re-enters�? and
modifies the context.

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of
the environment. The critical turn is that the relationship is not
the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context
“cause�? the behaviour of the agent. At the same time, the
environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their
intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended
perceptual field. This is also a continuous process.

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose
Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation in the first place.

����������………………����������.

Angus Jenkinson

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” > agomezmarin@gmail.com > wrote:

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P
could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana
or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of
PCT…? :wink:

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green > Chad.Green@lcps.org > wrote:
[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a
heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend
the PCT model to include the vantage point of the environment. I
determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Best,
Chad

Chad T. Green, PMP
Research Office
Loudoun County Public Schools
21000 Education Court
Ashburn, VA 20148
Voice: 571-252-1486
Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.�? -
Mary Catherine Bateson

From: Alex Gomez-Marin
[
mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To:
csgnet@lists.illinois.edu

Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

“Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a
whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take
place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on
it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for
behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in
the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of
relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the
observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously, or in
succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations
as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes
of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology)
and the phenomena of its domain of behavior. What the observer sees is
that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as
a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each
case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural
dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the
medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is
neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular
structural change in a living system may specifically interfere with its
ability to generate a particular behavior.”


http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

[Bruce Nevin (2017.0812.14:57 PDT)]

How interesting to see that thread  a year after I failed to read it the first time. My first perception on realizing that lapse of time is a perception of my gratitude that we are no longer stuck in the reciprocating bickering that characterizes that thread.Â

But focusing now on the Maturana quote, and on Angus Jenkin’s speculations deriving from it.

Maturana begins with an equivocation and proceeds from there with undefined abstractions. He apparently means outwardly observable actions when he says “behavior” (e.g. “each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit”), yet he defines behavior as a relation. In that relation, he emphasizes the potential for activity and change in the environment, and he says the observed “behaviors” are determined jointly by the organism and by the environment. Certainly, we agree on that last point.

PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment. PCT recognizes the relevant environmental variables as disturbances to the state of a variable which (rather: a perception of which) the organism is controlling, and PCT demonstrates how the corresponding ‘behaviors’ counter what would otherwise be the effect of those disturbances on the controlled variable. This is what Maturana calls the “coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium.” The equivocation and vagueness of his language possibly makes it difficult to see that he never mentions control or feedback.Â

Further, he doesn’t distinguish whether or not the “structural dynamics in the medium” included other autonomous control systems, nor the possibility thereby of conflict, cooperation, and other phenomena of collective control.Â

In short, the phenomenon of control, which is what PCT is about and what we talk about here, seems to be beyond his horizon.

“Recursive re-entry into the system” is one way of talking about the essential character of a negative-feedback control loop. Perhaps a theta symbol is useful to someone talking about it in an abstract way from an external point of view, imagining the observed but undisclosed organism on this side of the relation and the observed environment on the other.Â

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. Â

Yes, this is necessarily so, on the understanding that ‘actions’ or behavioral outputs are the means of which the agent controls certain perceptions of the environment.

The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “causeâ€? the behaviour of the agent. Â

Yes, the relationship is one of continuous circular causation.Â

At the same time, the environment is [as?] perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field. Â

You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”. That phrase,  “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field” of perceptions of the environment.

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Generally, an intention (a reference value for a controlled perception) is relatively constant. In an hierarchical system of cascading control loops, a high-level control system varies the references or “intentions” of lower’ level systems as its means of controlling its input in the face of environmental disturbances. Is this what you are trying to say?

···

On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:50 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

From: Angus Jenkinson (2017-08-06)

I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation albeit a year after it started. It is in part because I may be meeting Maturana
in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a book.

Â

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore. There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is extremely helpful in making sense
of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora of situations in which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts this into the context that I think Chad is referring to, that it
is only possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Â

Thus, the environment as context “re-enters� into the perceptual field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal appearance, i.e. what you want to
bring about), with behaviour that “re-enters� and modifies the context.

Â

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal
causal one. At no point does the environmental context “cause� the behaviour of the agent. At the same time, the environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual
field. This is also a continuous process.

Â

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation in the first place.

Â

………€¦â€¦……………………………………………………… ¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.

Angus Jenkinson

Â

Â

Â

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” agomezmarin@gmail.com wrote:

Â

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing
to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

Â

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Â

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to
include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Â

Best,

Chad

Â

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

Â

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.� - Mary Catherine Bateson

Â

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

Â

" Behaviour, as a relation
between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior
to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously,
or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of
behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics
in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically
interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

Â

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

Â

[Angus Jenkinson, 2017-08-11; 11.37 UK]

Thanks Bruce

Maturana’s focus is on the continuous interrelationship of organisms with their ecological environment and the co-evolutionary learning process that develops
cognitive organisation for phenomenological living-in-the-world as he puts it. So his thesis is less to do with control than co-operation or mutuality, but this is not to say that he takes a different line. Like Bill, he has roots in cybernetics.

BN > PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds
inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment

Might one as well say that control is an epiphenomenon of intentional goals (equifinality), since it is control of
outcome ; relationships are bidirectional. But if your point is that behaviours are meaningless (cannot be explained) except as the means of retaining control, I agree. I am curious about “inversely�. I don’t think this can mean a strict inversion, of
a mathematical kind, since there are a host of possible ways of adapting, indeed this is surely a partial explanation of ecological diversity.

However, my key response is to your thoughtful question.

At the same time, the environment as perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the
agency of the modified intended perceptual field.

You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment
change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”. That phrase, “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field”
of perceptions of the environment.

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

the environment = as perceived = context = cue continued or modified behaviour, and more (the scenario or situation of the present; there is a recursive
observation of oneself in the situation, at least for humans)

“…modifying their iintentionâ€? (sorry for unclarity): as a general example, “situationâ€? = cannot turn left, road blocked, (modification) take next left…

…but I am interested in the sociaal process in which two or more agents/actors are interacting, each via control, into the “same situationâ€? – which is
not the saame, but their own perception – but in the ccourse of this modifying the situation for the other. So whereas the blocked road is static, the social situation is dynamic and each party is performing (corrective) action with respect to (negative) feedback.
I call this the autonomous bind, whereby, particularly in a close group, members are individually autonomous* and purposeful but collectively bound together in a multi-sided situation and interaction set. This bind continues through the flux of mutually reflexive
polyvalent* action.

You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”.

Yes, in a way I do, by analogy (but only analogy) to the way that conventional physics attributes causality to forces etc. I am not a fan of “circular
causality�, since it does not clearly differentiate the actions of a purposeful agent controlling behaviour to attain goals from causal mechanisms that happen to work in a circle, as is the case with some chemical and natural processes. It means that people
fail to recognise the epistemological significance of Bill. Hence alternative language is needed for alternative explanations. I am interested to develop an ontology of explanatory agencies (rather than causes) for social events. I admit that at the moment
I am fumbling for the right language and approach, but agency rather than cause is my current preferred term. Any ideas?

Returning to your point about behaviour as an epiphenomenon of control, control is the “agency� in this explanation. But the perceptual field is itself
something achieved purposefully; agents are not neutral pure observers of their environment, they filter and select and form the perceptions that are to be controlled by other behaviours. They see the
no entry sign but not the dog on the other side of the street. There is a feedback loop between the filtered perception and the filtering of perception as part of control.

Moreover, in a complex social environment with many agents, each member of the group makes (micro)-adjustments that modify “the situation� (what is perceived
in the filtered perceptual field by each person/actor), potentially for some or all the others, changing context…
/o:p>

Best

···

…………………………………………………………….€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.

Angus Jenkinson

On 12/08/2017, 22:58, “Bruce Nevin” bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

[Bruce Nevin (2017.0812.14:57 PDT)]

How interesting to see that thread a year after I failed to read it the first time. My first perception on realizing that lapse of time is a perception of my gratitude that we are no longer stuck in the reciprocating bickering that characterizes
that thread.

But focusing now on the Maturana quote, and on Angus Jenkin’s speculations deriving from it.

Maturana begins with an equivocation and proceeds from there with undefined abstractions. He apparently means outwardly observable actions when he says “behavior” (e.g. “each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit”),
yet he defines behavior as a relation. In that relation, he emphasizes the potential for activity and change in the environment, and he says the observed “behaviors” are determined jointly by the organism and by the environment. Certainly, we agree on that
last point.

PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment. PCT recognizes the relevant environmental
variables as disturbances to the state of a variable which (rather: a perception of which) the organism is controlling, and PCT demonstrates how the corresponding ‘behaviors’ counter what would otherwise be the effect of those disturbances on the controlled
variable. This is what Maturana calls the “coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium.” The equivocation and vagueness of his language possibly makes it difficult to see that
he never mentions control or feedback.

Further, he doesn’t distinguish whether or not the “structural dynamics in the medium” included other autonomous control systems, nor the possibility thereby of conflict, cooperation, and other phenomena of collective control.

In short, the phenomenon of control, which is what PCT is about and what we talk about here, seems to be beyond his horizon.

“Recursive re-entry into the system” is one way of talking about the essential character of a negative-feedback control loop. Perhaps a theta symbol is useful to someone talking about it in an abstract way from an external point of view,
imagining the observed but undisclosed organism on this side of the relation and the observed environment on the other.

AJ> It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment.

Yes, this is necessarily so, on the understanding that ‘actions’ or behavioral outputs are the means of which the agent controls certain perceptions of the environment.

AJ> The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “cause� the behaviour of the agent.

Yes, the relationship is one of continuous circular causation.

At the same time, the environment is [as?] perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field.

You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended
perceptual field”. That phrase, “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field” of perceptions of the environment.

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Generally, an intention (a reference value for a controlled perception) is relatively constant. In an hierarchical system of cascading control loops, a high-level control system varies the references or “intentions” of lower’ level systems
as its means of controlling its input in the face of environmental disturbances. Is this what you are trying to say?

AJ> This is also a continuous process.

On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:50 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

From: Angus Jenkinson (2017-08-06)

I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation albeit a year after it started. It is in part
because I may be meeting Maturana in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a book.

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore. There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is
extremely helpful in making sense of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora of situations in which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts this into the context that I think
Chad is referring to, that it is only possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Thus, the environment as context “re-enters� into the perceptual field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal
appearance, i.e. what you want to bring about), with behaviour that “re-enters� and modifies the context.

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. The critical turn is that the
relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “cause� the behaviour of the agent. At the same time, the environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of
the modified intended perceptual field. This is also a continuous process.

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation
in the first place.

………â€â€¦â€¦………………………………………………………………….

Angus Jenkinson

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” agomezmarin@gmail.com wrote:

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean,
namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to
include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Best,

Chad

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.� - Mary Catherine Bateson

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

" Behaviour, as a relation
between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior
to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously,
or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of
behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics
in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically
interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

[Angus Jenkinson, 2017-08-11; 12.47 UK]

Dag, thank you, yes.

···

………………€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦…………………………………….…………………….

Angus Jenkinson

On 10/08/2017, 17:21, “Dag Forssell” csgarchive@pctresources.com wrote:

[From Dag Forssell (2017.08.10 09:20 PDT]

Regarding Maturana, Cybernetics, and PCT: I trust you are aware of the discussions contained in the newsletters published by Greg Williams.

http://www.pctresources.com/Journals/Files/Continuing_the_Conversation/ContinuingTheConversation.pdf

Best, Dag

At 01:50 AM 8/10/2017, you wrote:

From: Angus Jenkinson (2017-08-06)
I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation albeit a year after it started. It is in part because I may be meeting Maturana in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a book.

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore. There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is extremely helpful in making sense of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora
of situations in which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts this into the context that I think Chad is referring to, that it is only possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Thus, the environment as context “re-enters‬ into the perceptual field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal appearance, i.e. what you want to bring about), with behaviour that “re-enters” and mod modifies the context.

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “causeââ‚€ the behaviour of the agent. At the same
time, the environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field. This is also a continuous process.

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation in the first place.

………………………………â€Ã¢€Â¦Ã¢€Â¦Ã¢€Â¦Ã¢€Â¦Ã¢¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢€Â¦Ã¢€Â¦………………………….**Angus Jenkinson

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” agomezmarin@gmail.com wrote:

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:**

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic.&nbs. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting thathat we need to extend the PCT model to include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that
about PCT years ago and moved on.

Best,

Chad

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice:
571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we arare willing to learn.” - Mary Catheriine Bateson

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [ mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]

Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM

To:
csgnet@lists.illinois.edu

Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

“Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on
it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living
system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously, or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural
dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises
in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium
alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior.”

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

[Bruce Nevin (2017.08.16.18:30)]

(Angus Jenkinson, 2017-08-11; 11.37 UK) –

Maturana’s focus is on the continuous interrelationship of organisms with their ecological environment and the co-evolutionary learning process that develops cognitive organisation for phenomenological living-in-the-world as he puts it. So his thesis is less to do with control than co-operation or mutuality

You should take into account the PCT model of cooperation, mutuality, collective control, and conflict. Maturana does not.

···

On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 4:46 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

[Angus Jenkinson, 2017-08-11; 11.37 UK]

Â

Thanks Bruce

Maturana’s focus is on the continuous interrelationship of organisms with their ecological environment and the co-evolutionary learning process that develops
cognitive organisation for phenomenological living-in-the-world as he puts it. So his thesis is less to do with control than co-operation or mutuality, but this is not to say that he takes a different line. Like Bill, he has roots in cybernetics.

Â

BN > PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds
inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment

Â

Might one as well say that control is an epiphenomenon of intentional goals (equifinality), since it is control of
outcome ; relationships are bidirectional. But if your point is that behaviours are meaningless (cannot be explained) except as the means of retaining control, I agree. I am curious about “inversely�. I don’t think this can mean a strict inversion, of
a mathematical kind, since there are a host of possible ways of adapting, indeed this is surely a partial explanation of ecological diversity.

Â

However, my key response is to your thoughtful question.

Â

AJ> At the same time, the environment as perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the
agency of the modified intended perceptual field. Â

Â

BN> You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment
change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”. That phrase,  “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field”
of perceptions of the environment.

Â

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Â

the environment = as perceived = context = cue continued or modified behaviour, and more (the scenario or situation of the present; there is a recursive
observation of oneself in the situation, at least for humans)

“…modifying their intentionâ€? (soorry for unclarity): as a general example, “situationâ€? = cannot turn left, road blocked, (modification) take next left…

…but I am interested in the social process in whhich two or more agents/actors are interacting, each via control, into the “same situationâ€? – which is
not the same, but their own perception – but in the course of thiss modifying the situation for the other. So whereas the blocked road is static, the social situation is dynamic and each party is performing (corrective) action with respect to (negative) feedback.
I call this the autonomous bind, whereby, particularly in a close group, members are individually autonomous* and purposeful but collectively bound together in a multi-sided situation and interaction set. This bind continues through the flux of mutually reflexive
polyvalent* action.Â

Â

Â

BN> You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”.

Yes, in a way I do, by analogy (but only analogy) to the way that conventional physics attributes causality to forces etc. I am not a fan of “circular
causality�, since it does not clearly differentiate the actions of a purposeful agent controlling behaviour to attain goals from causal mechanisms that happen to work in a circle, as is the case with some chemical and natural processes. It means that people
fail to recognise the epistemological significance of Bill. Hence alternative language is needed for alternative explanations. I am interested to develop an ontology of explanatory agencies (rather than causes) for social events. I admit that at the moment
I am fumbling for the right language and approach, but agency rather than cause is my current preferred term. Any ideas?

Â

Returning to your point about behaviour as an epiphenomenon of control, control is the “agency� in this explanation. But the perceptual field is itself
something achieved purposefully; agents are not neutral pure observers of their environment, they filter and select and form the perceptions that are to be controlled by other behaviours. They see the
no entry sign but not the dog on the other side of the street. There is a feedback loop between the filtered perception and the filtering of perception as part of control.

Â

Moreover, in a complex social environment with many agents, each member of the group makes (micro)-adjustments that modify “the situation� (what is perceived
in the filtered perceptual field by each person/actor), potentially for some or all the others, changing context…

Â

Best

………€¦â€¦……………………………………………………… ¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.

Angus Jenkinson

Â

Â

Â

On 12/08/2017, 22:58, “Bruce Nevin” bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

Â

[Bruce Nevin (2017.0812.14:57 PDT)]

Â

How interesting to see that thread  a year after I failed to read it the first time. My first perception on realizing that lapse of time is a perception of my gratitude that we are no longer stuck in the reciprocating bickering that characterizes
that thread.Â

Â

But focusing now on the Maturana quote, and on Angus Jenkin’s speculations deriving from it.

Â

Maturana begins with an equivocation and proceeds from there with undefined abstractions. He apparently means outwardly observable actions when he says “behavior” (e.g. “each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit”),
yet he defines behavior as a relation. In that relation, he emphasizes the potential for activity and change in the environment, and he says the observed “behaviors” are determined jointly by the organism and by the environment. Certainly, we agree on that
last point.

Â

PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment. PCT recognizes the relevant environmental
variables as disturbances to the state of a variable which (rather: a perception of which) the organism is controlling, and PCT demonstrates how the corresponding ‘behaviors’ counter what would otherwise be the effect of those disturbances on the controlled
variable. This is what Maturana calls the “coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium.” The equivocation and vagueness of his language possibly makes it difficult to see that
he never mentions control or feedback.Â

Â

Further, he doesn’t distinguish whether or not the “structural dynamics in the medium” included other autonomous control systems, nor the possibility thereby of conflict, cooperation, and other phenomena of collective control.Â

Â

In short, the phenomenon of control, which is what PCT is about and what we talk about here, seems to be beyond his horizon.

Â

“Recursive re-entry into the system” is one way of talking about the essential character of a negative-feedback control loop. Perhaps a theta symbol is useful to someone talking about it in an abstract way from an external point of view,
imagining the observed but undisclosed organism on this side of the relation and the observed environment on the other.Â

Â

AJ> It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. Â

Â

Yes, this is necessarily so, on the understanding that ‘actions’ or behavioral outputs are the means of which the agent controls certain perceptions of the environment.

Â

AJ> The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “causeâ€? the behaviour of the agent. Â

Â

Yes, the relationship is one of continuous circular causation.Â

Â

At the same time, the environment is [as?] perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field. Â

Â

You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended
perceptual field”. That phrase,  “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field” of perceptions of the environment.

Â

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Â

Generally, an intention (a reference value for a controlled perception) is relatively constant. In an hierarchical system of cascading control loops, a high-level control system varies the references or “intentions” of lower’ level systems
as its means of controlling its input in the face of environmental disturbances. Is this what you are trying to say?

Â

AJ> This is also a continuous process.

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:50 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

From: Angus Jenkinson (2017-08-06)

I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation albeit a year after it started. It is in part
because I may be meeting Maturana in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a book.

Â

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore. There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is
extremely helpful in making sense of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora of situations in which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts this into the context that I think
Chad is referring to, that it is only possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Â

Thus, the environment as context “re-enters� into the perceptual field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal
appearance, i.e. what you want to bring about), with behaviour that “re-enters� and modifies the context.

Â

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. The critical turn is that the
relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “cause� the behaviour of the agent. At the same time, the environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of
the modified intended perceptual field. This is also a continuous process.

Â

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation
in the first place.

Â

………€¦â€¦……………………………………………………… ¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.

Angus Jenkinson

Â

Â

Â

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” agomezmarin@gmail.com wrote:

Â

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean,
namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

Â

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Â

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to
include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Â

Best,

Chad

Â

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

Â

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.� - Mary Catherine Bateson

Â

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

Â

" Behaviour, as a relation
between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior
to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously,
or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of
behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics
in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically
interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

Â

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

Â

Â

[Bruce Nevin (2017.08.16.20:10 PDT)]

(Angus Jenkinson, 2017-08-11; 11.37 UK) –

BN > PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment

Â

Might one as well say that control is an epiphenomenon of intentional goals (equifinality), since it is control of outcome; relationships are bidirectional. But if your point is that behaviours are meaningless (cannot be explained) except as the means of retaining control, I agree.Â

BN >Â If you are describing subjective experience in imprecise terms, then yes, intentions are the salient perception. If you are rigorously modeling how it is done in precise, quantifiable terms–that is, if you are engaged in PCT research, since there is no contender with those characteristics other than PCT–then control is the fundamental phenomenon out of which all intentions ultimately arise. I refer here for example to Bill’s paper on the origins of life, to various results on evolutionary ontogenesis and the origins of innate control systems, to the role of intrinsic error as the reason a hierarchical system of cascading control does not lead to infinite regress of higher levels setting reference values for lower levels, and to the reorganization system as well as innate and learned systems for exploration and learning. There are some nice generative models of control developing by reorganization ex (essentially) nihilo.

I am curious about “inversely�. I don’t think this can mean a strict inversion, of a mathematical kind, since there are a host of possible ways of adapting, indeed this is surely a partial explanation of ecological diversity.

BN >Â Perhaps I am using a technical term of mathematics inappropriately. When I said inverse, I meant that in the PCT model, as in PCT generative simulations and demonstrations, control outputs, when quantified, are indeed mathematically opposite to environmental disturbances, when commensurately quantified. PCT is a quantitative science.Â

BN >Â ‘Adaptation’ ambiguously can mean learning as a control process or ‘learning’ that results from reorganization, or both. Adaptation results in new reference values and/or existing or new perceptual input functions being subject to control in new ways. ‘Adaptation’ results in the system achieving a structural condition such that disturbances are resisted (countered by mathematically opposite control actions) which could not previously be resisted, and such that perceptions that were not (adequately) controlled are brought satisfactorily under control.

···

On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 4:46 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

[Angus Jenkinson, 2017-08-11; 11.37 UK]

Â

Thanks Bruce

Maturana’s focus is on the continuous interrelationship of organisms with their ecological environment and the co-evolutionary learning process that develops
cognitive organisation for phenomenological living-in-the-world as he puts it. So his thesis is less to do with control than co-operation or mutuality, but this is not to say that he takes a different line. Like Bill, he has roots in cybernetics.

Â

BN > PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds
inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment

Â

Might one as well say that control is an epiphenomenon of intentional goals (equifinality), since it is control of
outcome ; relationships are bidirectional. But if your point is that behaviours are meaningless (cannot be explained) except as the means of retaining control, I agree. I am curious about “inversely�. I don’t think this can mean a strict inversion, of
a mathematical kind, since there are a host of possible ways of adapting, indeed this is surely a partial explanation of ecological diversity.

Â

However, my key response is to your thoughtful question.

Â

AJ> At the same time, the environment as perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the
agency of the modified intended perceptual field. Â

Â

BN> You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment
change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”. That phrase,  “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field”
of perceptions of the environment.

Â

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Â

the environment = as perceived = context = cue continued or modified behaviour, and more (the scenario or situation of the present; there is a recursive
observation of oneself in the situation, at least for humans)

“…modifying their intentionâ€? (sorry for unclarrity): as a general example, “situationâ€? = cannot turn left, road blocked, (modification) take next left…

…but I am interested in the social process in which two or morre agents/actors are interacting, each via control, into the “same situationâ€? – which is
not the same, but their own perception – but in the course of thiss modifying the situation for the other. So whereas the blocked road is static, the social situation is dynamic and each party is performing (corrective) action with respect to (negative) feedback.
I call this the autonomous bind, whereby, particularly in a close group, members are individually autonomous* and purposeful but collectively bound together in a multi-sided situation and interaction set. This bind continues through the flux of mutually reflexive
polyvalent* action.Â

Â

Â

BN> You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”.

Yes, in a way I do, by analogy (but only analogy) to the way that conventional physics attributes causality to forces etc. I am not a fan of “circular
causality�, since it does not clearly differentiate the actions of a purposeful agent controlling behaviour to attain goals from causal mechanisms that happen to work in a circle, as is the case with some chemical and natural processes. It means that people
fail to recognise the epistemological significance of Bill. Hence alternative language is needed for alternative explanations. I am interested to develop an ontology of explanatory agencies (rather than causes) for social events. I admit that at the moment
I am fumbling for the right language and approach, but agency rather than cause is my current preferred term. Any ideas?

Â

Returning to your point about behaviour as an epiphenomenon of control, control is the “agency� in this explanation. But the perceptual field is itself
something achieved purposefully; agents are not neutral pure observers of their environment, they filter and select and form the perceptions that are to be controlled by other behaviours. They see the
no entry sign but not the dog on the other side of the street. There is a feedback loop between the filtered perception and the filtering of perception as part of control.

Â

Moreover, in a complex social environment with many agents, each member of the group makes (micro)-adjustments that modify “the situation� (what is perceived
in the filtered perceptual field by each person/actor), potentially for some or all the others, changing context…

Â

Best

………â€â€¦â€¦……………………………………………………….………….

Angus Jenkinson

Â

Â

Â

On 12/08/2017, 22:58, “Bruce Nevin” bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

Â

[Bruce Nevin (2017.0812.14:57 PDT)]

Â

How interesting to see that thread  a year after I failed to read it the first time. My first perception on realizing that lapse of time is a perception of my gratitude that we are no longer stuck in the reciprocating bickering that characterizes
that thread.Â

Â

But focusing now on the Maturana quote, and on Angus Jenkin’s speculations deriving from it.

Â

Maturana begins with an equivocation and proceeds from there with undefined abstractions. He apparently means outwardly observable actions when he says “behavior” (e.g. “each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit”),
yet he defines behavior as a relation. In that relation, he emphasizes the potential for activity and change in the environment, and he says the observed “behaviors” are determined jointly by the organism and by the environment. Certainly, we agree on that
last point.

Â

PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment. PCT recognizes the relevant environmental
variables as disturbances to the state of a variable which (rather: a perception of which) the organism is controlling, and PCT demonstrates how the corresponding ‘behaviors’ counter what would otherwise be the effect of those disturbances on the controlled
variable. This is what Maturana calls the “coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium.” The equivocation and vagueness of his language possibly makes it difficult to see that
he never mentions control or feedback.Â

Â

Further, he doesn’t distinguish whether or not the “structural dynamics in the medium” included other autonomous control systems, nor the possibility thereby of conflict, cooperation, and other phenomena of collective control.Â

Â

In short, the phenomenon of control, which is what PCT is about and what we talk about here, seems to be beyond his horizon.

Â

“Recursive re-entry into the system” is one way of talking about the essential character of a negative-feedback control loop. Perhaps a theta symbol is useful to someone talking about it in an abstract way from an external point of view,
imagining the observed but undisclosed organism on this side of the relation and the observed environment on the other.Â

Â

AJ> It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. Â

Â

Yes, this is necessarily so, on the understanding that ‘actions’ or behavioral outputs are the means of which the agent controls certain perceptions of the environment.

Â

AJ> The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “causeâ€? the behaviour of the agent. Â

Â

Yes, the relationship is one of continuous circular causation.Â

Â

At the same time, the environment is [as?] perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field. Â

Â

You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended
perceptual field”. That phrase,  “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field” of perceptions of the environment.

Â

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Â

Generally, an intention (a reference value for a controlled perception) is relatively constant. In an hierarchical system of cascading control loops, a high-level control system varies the references or “intentions” of lower’ level systems
as its means of controlling its input in the face of environmental disturbances. Is this what you are trying to say?

Â

AJ> This is also a continuous process.

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:50 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

From: Angus Jenkinson (2017-08-06)

I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation albeit a year after it started. It is in part
because I may be meeting Maturana in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a book.

Â

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore. There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is
extremely helpful in making sense of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora of situations in which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts this into the context that I think
Chad is referring to, that it is only possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Â

Thus, the environment as context “re-enters� into the perceptual field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal
appearance, i.e. what you want to bring about), with behaviour that “re-enters� and modifies the context.

Â

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. The critical turn is that the
relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “cause� the behaviour of the agent. At the same time, the environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of
the modified intended perceptual field. This is also a continuous process.

Â

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation
in the first place.

Â

………â€â€¦â€¦……………………………………………………….………….

Angus Jenkinson

Â

Â

Â

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” agomezmarin@gmail.com wrote:

Â

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean,
namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

Â

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Â

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to
include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Â

Best,

Chad

Â

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

Â

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.� - Mary Catherine Bateson

Â

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

Â

" Behaviour, as a relation
between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior
to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously,
or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of
behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics
in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically
interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

Â

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

Â

Â

[Bruce Nevin (2017.08.16.221:21)]

You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”.

Yes, in a way I do, by analogy (but only analogy) to the way that conventional physics attributes causality to forces etc. I am not a fan of “circular causalityâ€?, since it does not clearly differentiate the actions of a purposeful agent controlling behaviour to attain goals from causal mechanisms that happen to work in a circle, as is the case with some chemical and natural processes. It means that people fail to recognise the epistemological significance of Bill. Hence alternative language is needed for alternative explanations. I am interested to develop an ontology of explanatory agencies (rather than causes) for social events. I admit that at the moment I am fumbling for the right language and approach, but agency rather than cause is my current preferred term. Any ideas?

Â

···

On Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 4:46 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

[Angus Jenkinson, 2017-08-11; 11.37 UK]

Â

Thanks Bruce

Maturana’s focus is on the continuous interrelationship of organisms with their ecological environment and the co-evolutionary learning process that develops
cognitive organisation for phenomenological living-in-the-world as he puts it. So his thesis is less to do with control than co-operation or mutuality, but this is not to say that he takes a different line. Like Bill, he has roots in cybernetics.

Â

BN > PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds
inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment

Â

Might one as well say that control is an epiphenomenon of intentional goals (equifinality), since it is control of
outcome ; relationships are bidirectional. But if your point is that behaviours are meaningless (cannot be explained) except as the means of retaining control, I agree. I am curious about “inverselyâ€?. I don’t think this can mean a strict inversion, of
a mathematical kind, since there are a host of possible ways of adapting, indeed this is surely a partial explanation of ecological diversity.

Â

However, my key response is to your thoughtful question.

Â

AJ> At the same time, the environment as perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the
agency of the modified intended perceptual field. Â

Â

BN> You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment
change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”. That phrase,  “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field”
of perceptions of the environment.

Â

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Â

the environment = as perceived = context = cue continued or modified behaviour, and more (the scenario or situation of the present; there is a recursive
observation of oneself in the situation, at least for humans)

“…modifying their intentionâ€? (soorry for unclarity): as a general example, “situationâ€? = cannot turn left, road blocked, (modification) take next left…

…but I am interested in the social process in whhich two or more agents/actors are interacting, each via control, into the “same situationâ€? – which is
not the same, but their own perception – but in the course of thiss modifying the situation for the other. So whereas the blocked road is static, the social situation is dynamic and each party is performing (corrective) action with respect to (negative) feedback.
I call this the autonomous bind, whereby, particularly in a close group, members are individually autonomous* and purposeful but collectively bound together in a multi-sided situation and interaction set. This bind continues through the flux of mutually reflexive
polyvalent* action.Â

Â

Â

BN> You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”.

Yes, in a way I do, by analogy (but only analogy) to the way that conventional physics attributes causality to forces etc. I am not a fan of “circular
causality�, since it does not clearly differentiate the actions of a purposeful agent controlling behaviour to attain goals from causal mechanisms that happen to work in a circle, as is the case with some chemical and natural processes. It means that people
fail to recognise the epistemological significance of Bill. Hence alternative language is needed for alternative explanations. I am interested to develop an ontology of explanatory agencies (rather than causes) for social events. I admit that at the moment
I am fumbling for the right language and approach, but agency rather than cause is my current preferred term. Any ideas?

Â

Returning to your point about behaviour as an epiphenomenon of control, control is the “agencyâ€? in this explanation. But the perceptual field is itself
something achieved purposefully; agents are not neutral pure observers of their environment, they filter and select and form the perceptions that are to be controlled by other behaviours. They see the
no entry sign but not the dog on the other side of the street. There is a feedback loop between the filtered perception and the filtering of perception as part of control.

Â

Moreover, in a complex social environment with many agents, each member of the group makes (micro)-adjustments that modify “the situationâ€? (what is perceived
in the filtered perceptual field by each person/actor), potentially for some or all the others, changing context…

Â

Best

………€¦â€¦……………………………………………………… ¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.

Angus Jenkinson

Â

Â

Â

On 12/08/2017, 22:58, “Bruce Nevin” bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

Â

[Bruce Nevin (2017.0812.14:57 PDT)]

Â

How interesting to see that thread  a year after I failed to read it the first time. My first perception on realizing that lapse of time is a perception of my gratitude that we are no longer stuck in the reciprocating bickering that characterizes
that thread.Â

Â

But focusing now on the Maturana quote, and on Angus Jenkin’s speculations deriving from it.

Â

Maturana begins with an equivocation and proceeds from there with undefined abstractions. He apparently means outwardly observable actions when he says “behavior” (e.g. “each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit”),
yet he defines behavior as a relation. In that relation, he emphasizes the potential for activity and change in the environment, and he says the observed “behaviors” are determined jointly by the organism and by the environment. Certainly, we agree on that
last point.

Â

PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment. PCT recognizes the relevant environmental
variables as disturbances to the state of a variable which (rather: a perception of which) the organism is controlling, and PCT demonstrates how the corresponding ‘behaviors’ counter what would otherwise be the effect of those disturbances on the controlled
variable. This is what Maturana calls the “coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium.” The equivocation and vagueness of his language possibly makes it difficult to see that
he never mentions control or feedback.Â

Â

Further, he doesn’t distinguish whether or not the “structural dynamics in the medium” included other autonomous control systems, nor the possibility thereby of conflict, cooperation, and other phenomena of collective control.Â

Â

In short, the phenomenon of control, which is what PCT is about and what we talk about here, seems to be beyond his horizon.

Â

“Recursive re-entry into the system” is one way of talking about the essential character of a negative-feedback control loop. Perhaps a theta symbol is useful to someone talking about it in an abstract way from an external point of view,
imagining the observed but undisclosed organism on this side of the relation and the observed environment on the other.Â

Â

AJ> It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. Â

Â

Yes, this is necessarily so, on the understanding that ‘actions’ or behavioral outputs are the means of which the agent controls certain perceptions of the environment.

Â

AJ> The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “causeâ€? the behaviour of the agent. Â

Â

Yes, the relationship is one of continuous circular causation.Â

Â

At the same time, the environment is [as?] perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field. Â

Â

You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended
perceptual field”. That phrase,  “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field” of perceptions of the environment.

Â

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Â

Generally, an intention (a reference value for a controlled perception) is relatively constant. In an hierarchical system of cascading control loops, a high-level control system varies the references or “intentions” of lower’ level systems
as its means of controlling its input in the face of environmental disturbances. Is this what you are trying to say?

Â

AJ> This is also a continuous process.

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:50 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

From: Angus Jenkinson (2017-08-06)

I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation albeit a year after it started. It is in part
because I may be meeting Maturana in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a book.

Â

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore. There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is
extremely helpful in making sense of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora of situations in which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts this into the context that I think
Chad is referring to, that it is only possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Â

Thus, the environment as context “re-entersâ€? into the perceptual field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal
appearance, i.e. what you want to bring about), with behaviour that “re-entersâ€? and modifies the context.

Â

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. The critical turn is that the
relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “causeâ€? the behaviour of the agent. At the same time, the environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of
the modified intended perceptual field. This is also a continuous process.

Â

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation
in the first place.

Â

………€¦â€¦……………………………………………………… ¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.

Angus Jenkinson

Â

Â

Â

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” agomezmarin@gmail.com wrote:

Â

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean,
namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

Â

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Â

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to
include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Â

Best,

Chad

Â

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

Â

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.â€? - Mary Catherine Bateson

Â

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

Â

" Behaviour, as a relation
between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior
to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously,
or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of
behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics
in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically
interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

Â

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

Â

Â

Hi Angus,

···

From: Angus Jenkinson [mailto:angus@angusjenkinson.com]
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 1:46 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

[Angus Jenkinson, 2017-08-11; 11.37 UK]

Thanks Bruce

Maturana’s focus is on the continuous interrelationship of organisms with their ecological environment and the co-evolutionary learning process that develops cognitive organisation for phenomenological living-in-the-world as he puts it. So his thesis is less to do with control than co-operation or mutuality, but this is not to say that he takes a different line. Like Bill, he has roots in cybernetics.

HB : I think Angus it would be good if you read Bills’ opinion about relation between “autopoiesis� and “PCT�. I’m sure your understanding of both will be much better. Or maybe you already read it ?

BN > PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment.

HB : In which environment ?

Boris

Might one as well say that control is an epiphenomenon of intentional goals (equifinality), since it is control of outcome; relationships are bidirectional. But if your point is that behaviours are meaningless (cannot be explained) except as the means of retaining control, I agree. I am curious about “inversely�. I don’t think this can mean a strict inversion, of a mathematical kind, since there are a host of possible ways of adapting, indeed this is surely a partial explanation of ecological diversity.

However, my key response is to your thoughtful question.

At the same time, the environment as perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field.

You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”. That phrase, “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field” of perceptions of the environment.

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

the environment = as perceived = context = cue continued or modified behaviour, and more (the scenario or situation of the present; there is a recursive observation of oneself in the situation, at least for humans)

“…modifying their intenttionâ€? (sorry for unclarity): as a general example, “situationâ€? = cannot turn left, road blocked, (modification) take next left…

…but I am interested in the social process in which two or moore agents/actors are interacting, each via control, into the “same situationâ€? – which is not the same, but their own perceptioon – but in the course of this modifying the situation for the otherr. So whereas the blocked road is static, the social situation is dynamic and each party is performing (corrective) action with respect to (negative) feedback. I call this the autonomous bind, whereby, particularly in a close group, members are individually autonomous* and purposeful but collectively bound together in a multi-sided situation and interaction set. This bind continues through the flux of mutually reflexive polyvalent* action.

You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”.

Yes, in a way I do, by analogy (but only analogy) to the way that conventional physics attributes causality to forces etc. I am not a fan of “circular causality�, since it does not clearly differentiate the actions of a purposeful agent controlling behaviour to attain goals from causal mechanisms that happen to work in a circle, as is the case with some chemical and natural processes. It means that people fail to recognise the epistemological significance of Bill. Hence alternative language is needed for alternative explanations. I am interested to develop an ontology of explanatory agencies (rather than causes) for social events. I admit that at the moment I am fumbling for the right language and approach, but agency rather than cause is my current preferred term. Any ideas?

Returning to your point about behaviour as an epiphenomenon of control, control is the “agency� in this explanation. But the perceptual field is itself something achieved purposefully; agents are not neutral pure observers of their environment, they filter and select and form the perceptions that are to be controlled by other behaviours. They see the no entry sign but not the dog on the other side of the street. There is a feedback loop between the filtered perception and the filtering of perception as part of control.

Moreover, in a complex social environment with many agents, each member of the group makes (micro)-adjustments that modify “the situationâ€? (what is perceived in the filtered perceptual field by each person/actor), potentially for some or all the others, changing context…

Best

………………… ¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦…………………………………………….

Angus Jenkinson

On 12/08/2017, 22:58, “Bruce Nevin” bnhpct@gmail.com wrote:

[Bruce Nevin (2017.0812.14:57 PDT)]

How interesting to see that thread a year after I failed to read it the first time. My first perception on realizing that lapse of time is a perception of my gratitude that we are no longer stuck in the reciprocating bickering that characterizes that thread.

But focusing now on the Maturana quote, and on Angus Jenkin’s speculations deriving from it.

Maturana begins with an equivocation and proceeds from there with undefined abstractions. He apparently means outwardly observable actions when he says “behavior” (e.g. “each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit”), yet he defines behavior as a relation. In that relation, he emphasizes the potential for activity and change in the environment, and he says the observed “behaviors” are determined jointly by the organism and by the environment. Certainly, we agree on that last point.

PCT recognizes that “behaviors” or observable actions are epiphenomena of control. The variation of the actions corresponds inversely to the variation of certain ‘phenomena’ in the environment. PCT recognizes the relevant environmental variables as disturbances to the state of a variable which (rather: a perception of which) the organism is controlling, and PCT demonstrates how the corresponding ‘behaviors’ counter what would otherwise be the effect of those disturbances on the controlled variable. This is what Maturana calls the “coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium.” The equivocation and vagueness of his language possibly makes it difficult to see that he never mentions control or feedback.

Further, he doesn’t distinguish whether or not the “structural dynamics in the medium” included other autonomous control systems, nor the possibility thereby of conflict, cooperation, and other phenomena of collective control.

In short, the phenomenon of control, which is what PCT is about and what we talk about here, seems to be beyond his horizon.

“Recursive re-entry into the system” is one way of talking about the essential character of a negative-feedback control loop. Perhaps a theta symbol is useful to someone talking about it in an abstract way from an external point of view, imagining the observed but undisclosed organism on this side of the relation and the observed environment on the other.

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment.

Yes, this is necessarily so, on the understanding that ‘actions’ or behavioral outputs are the means of which the agent controls certain perceptions of the environment.

The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “cause� the behaviour of the agent.

Yes, the relationship is one of continuous circular causation.

At the same time, the environment is [as?] perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field.

You’ve lost me here. You seem to be saying that when the environment changes, the agent’s perceptions of the environment change, and as a consequence, the agent changes “their intention and behavior”. You attribute agency to “the intended perceptual field”. That phrase, “the intended perceptual field”, seems to refer to intended values of interrelated perceptions in a “field” of perceptions of the environment.

Can you express this more clearly in terms of negative-feedback control?

Generally, an intention (a reference value for a controlled perception) is relatively constant. In an hierarchical system of cascading control loops, a high-level control system varies the references or “intentions” of lower’ level systems as its means of controlling its input in the face of environmental disturbances. Is this what you are trying to say?

This is also a continuous process.

On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:50 AM, Angus Jenkinson angus@angusjenkinson.com wrote:

From: Angus Jenkinson (2017-08-06)

I thought I would weigh in once again to this interesting conversation albeit a year after it started. It is in part because I may be meeting Maturana in a couple of weeks . And I am writing about this in a book.

It seems to be one of the most fundamental questions to explore. There is a PhD paper by Seth Miller that I think is extremely helpful in making sense of this. In the paper he introduces the Theta sign for a re-entry looping movement to describe the plethora of situations in which there is a recursive re-entry into the situation. He puts this into the context that I think Chad is referring to, that it is only possible to observe the entire movement from a metalevel.

Thus, the environment as context “re-enters� into the perceptual field modifying detailed motivation (perceptual goal appearance, i.e. what you want to bring about), with behaviour that “re-enters� and modifies the context.

It is impossible to imagine, sensibly, the agent acting independently of the environment. The critical turn is that the relationship is not the normal causal one. At no point does the environmental context “cause� the behaviour of the agent. At the same time, the environment is perceived context leads to the agent modifying their intention and behaviour via the agency of the modified intended perceptual field. This is also a continuous process.

Thus, I do not think it is necessary to take the choice that you propose Alex. But, thank you for bringing this quotation in the first place.

…………………â……………………………… ¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦………….

Angus Jenkinson

On 23/09/2016, 21:23, “Alex Gomez-Marin” agomezmarin@gmail.com wrote:

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Best,

Chad

Chad T. Green, PMP
Research Office
Loudoun County Public Schools
21000 Education Court
Ashburn, VA 20148
Voice: 571-252-1486
Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.� - Mary Catherine Bateson

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

“Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously, or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior.”

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

" Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously, or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of
behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

[http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html](https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.univie.ac.at_constructivism_archive_fulltexts_639.htm
l&d=CwMFaQ&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=-dJBNItYEMOLt6aj_KjGi2LMO_Q8QB-ZzxIZIF8DGyQ&m=s6HIbClLzTFehSuNCnrBvaHm5mNs6tFzVBXerJ_S394&s=DytjPSUwrs1_PCb9QfGdD0TlePZ41OCq-2vPzSX6alU&e=)

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to include the vantage
point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Best,

Chad

Chad T. Green, PMP
Research Office
Loudoun County Public Schools
21000 Education Court
Ashburn, VA 20148
Voice: 571-252-1486
Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.” - Mary Catherine Bateson

···

" Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity,
does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one
of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously, or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations
as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that
a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium.
Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

···

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Â

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that we need to extend the PCT model to include the vantage
point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Â

Best,

Chad

Â

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

Â

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.� - Mary Catherine Bateson

Â

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

Â

" Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity,
does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one
of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously, or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations
as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that
a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium.
Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior."

Â

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1708 EST)]

Aka three domains of complexity according to Midgley (truth, rightness, subjective understanding). The fourth domain considers their dynamic interactions.

Source:
[

https://journal.emergentpublications.com/article/four-domains-of-complexity-2/](https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__journal.emergentpublications.com_article_four-2Ddomains-2Dof-2Dcomplexity-2D2_&d=CwMGaQ&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=-dJBNItYEMOLt6aj_KjGi2LMO_Q8QB-ZzxIZIF8DGyQ&m=0UeX2smaZUD2N-jzRUz1ltzL-fvu3nNHHw_gyd2wZy8&s=XOJlNxIkb64BXh8wlgX-XBgAv54FGjmYmzRvlle3vyY&e=)

Best,

Chad

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.â€? - Mary Catherine Bateson

···

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic
enough to conceive an extension of PCT…? :wink:

On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM, Chad T. Green Chad.Green@lcps.org wrote:

[From Chad Green (2016.09.23.1557 EST)]

Alex, you noticed that, too. I don’t think Maturana’s a heretic. Perhaps he’s merely suggesting that
we need to extend the PCT model to include the vantage point of the environment. I determined that about PCT years ago and moved on.

Best,

Chad

Chad T. Green, PMP

Research Office

Loudoun County Public Schools

21000 Education Court

Ashburn, VA 20148

Voice: 571-252-1486

Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.â€? - Mary Catherine Bateson

From: Alex Gomez-Marin [mailto:agomezmarin@gmail.com
]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

"
Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating
as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine
it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously, or in succession, to
the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of behavior. What the observer
sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and
a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically interfere with its ability
to generate a particular behavior."

http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/archive/fulltexts/639.html

[From MK (2016.09.24.1400 CET)]

Alex Gomez-Marin (2016.09.23.2059) citing Maturana--

"Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system.

Does the phenomenon of control depend on "physiology"?

M

Good point. Well, for some cyberneticists, animals and machines are the same thing. I think the PCT orthodox view would agree. I disagree. Yet, they share control as a process.

···

On Sat, Sep 24, 2016 at 2:02 PM, MK perceptualposts@gmail.com wrote:

[From MK (2016.09.24.1400 CET)]

Alex Gomez-Marin (2016.09.23.2059) citing Maturana–

"Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system.

Does the phenomenon of control depend on “physiology”?

M

[From Rupert Young (2016.09.24 1700)]

···

On 23/09/2016 21:23, Alex Gomez-Marin
wrote:

      Indeed.

I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where
P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius
of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive
an extension of PCT…? :wink:

  Like any theory PCT is open to revision or extension. So, if you

think something is missing by all means make a suggestion.

  In this instance could you explain: What it is you are proposing?

What do you think is missing from PCT? How does the proposal fill
the hole? What will the revised theory explain that it didn’t
previously?

Regards,

Rupert

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.25.1750)]

Rupert Young (2016.09.24 1700)

···
      AGM: Indeed.

I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where
P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius
of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive
an extension of PCT…? :wink:

  RY: Like any theory PCT is open to revision or extension. So, if you

think something is missing by all means make a suggestion.

  RY: In this instance could you explain: What it is you are proposing?

What do you think is missing from PCT? How does the proposal fill
the hole? What will the revised theory explain that it didn’t
previously?

RM: Thank you Rupert. This is what has been missing from discussions of PCT on CSGNet: an explanation of what any proposed revision or extension of PCT would explain that PCT does not currently explain. In order to do this you have to had observed some phenomenon and then show, using modeling, that PCT in its current form doesn’t explain it.

RM: It’s important to understand, however, that in PCT “modeling” is not just curve fitting; it’s getting a working instantiation of the model to behave in the same way as does an organism placed in the same circumstances. Working PCT models are usually instantiated as computer programs but now, even better, as robotic systems.

RM: The PCT approach to modeling is described in Chapter 2 of B:CP (both editions). It’s an approach to modeling – and testing models against the results of experimental test – that drew me to PCT. What attracted me wasn’t just that PCT seemed like a nice theory of behavior; it was that every prediction of the theory could be tested quantitatively against observation; and every prediction held up perfectly.

RM: I think the best description of the modeling approach to testing PCT can be found in the four BYTE articles that Bill wrote back in 1979, just as the microcomputer revolution was starting. These are available at Dag Forssell’s “Living Control Systems Publishing” site: http://www.livingcontrolsystems.com/intro_papers/index.html.

RM: The modeling approach to evaluating PCT has been conspicuously missing from discussions on CSGNet. The power law discussion is the most recent example. The power law is an observed phenomenon whose explanation supposedly presents a challenge to the PCT model in its present form. But this claim was made without determining whether a working PCT model, behaving in the same circumstances as those in which the power law is observed, could produce the power law. It was simply asserted that it couldn’t. So when I produced a PCT model of one example of behavior that results in the power law and found that the model accounts for the power law, I was astonished to find that it was dismissed as a “put up job” or something like that.

RM: So it seems that CSGNet is no longer (if it ever was) a forum for dealing with PCT scientifically; it’s more of a forum for trying to verbalize what the theory “really” means, how people think the theory might explain this or that observation (without actually testing to see if it does or doesn’t) , and whether they think the theory needs some modification, either because it doesn’t seem consistent with the verbal theorizing of famous cyberneticians, doesn’t include recognized “truths” from conventional psychology, is too simple (not enough complex math, figuratively and literally) or just doesn’t jibe with what people know to be true.

RM: I think the work you do, Rupert, could help those of us interested in the science of PCT get back on a scientific track. I believe you have robots that can now produce behaviors that result in curved movement paths; the Baxter arm robot and the rover robot described in the paper you just got published. Baxter could produce voluntary curved arm movements; the rover could move around the floor in curved paths. If you could record and store those movements we could see whether movements produced by a PCT architecture result in the same kind of power relationship between curvature and velocity as that observed in the power law literature. I predict it will.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We
have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for
others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for
themselves.” – William T. Powers

[From Chad Green (2016.09.26.1123 EST)]

Alex presents a false dichotomy. We can extend both domains.

Best,

Chad

···

Chad T. Green, PMP
Research Office
Loudoun County Public Schools
21000 Education Court
Ashburn, VA 20148
Voice: 571-252-1486
Fax: 571-252-1575

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.” - Mary Catherine Bateson

From: Rupert Young [mailto:rupert@perceptualrobots.com]
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2016 12:00 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Great Maturana: a PCT Heretic?

[From Rupert Young (2016.09.24 1700)]

On 23/09/2016 21:23, Alex Gomez-Marin wrote:

Indeed. I am interested in the implications of the PCT asymmetry where P could stand for Procrustean, namely, do we shrink the genius of Maturana or are we willing to be heretic enough to conceive
an extension of PCT…? :wink:

Like any theory PCT is open to revision or extension. So, if you think something is missing by all means make a suggestion.

In this instance could you explain: What it is you are proposing? What do you think is missing from PCT? How does the proposal fill the hole? What will the revised theory explain that it didn’t previously?

Regards,

Rupert

[From Rick Marken
(2016.09.25.1750)]
[From Dag Forssell (2016.09.26.09:55 PST)]

RM: The modeling
approach to evaluating PCT has been conspicuously missing from
discussions on CSGNet.

DF: I think what PCT needs more than evaluating against the massive
quantity of theorizing in psych and social science, all focused on
behavior, is simply marketing – exposing people who can use and
understanding of conflict and MOL type thinking in their daily lives.
Marketing to the academic community is commendable but not very
productive so far. As Bruce Abbott explained so eloquently at Bill’s
memorial service, you have to profess the faith and teach the prescribed
curriculum to get and keep a job in academia, U of Manchester excluded.

RM: The power law
discussion is the most recent example. The power law is an observed
phenomenon whose explanation supposedly presents a challenge to the PCT
model in its present form.

DF: “challenge” in the sense of offering an alternative, or
“challenge” in the sense of merely asking what PCT has to say
about it. I understood the latter, as in “please
explain”.

RM: But this claim
was made without determining whether a working PCT model, behaving in the
same circumstances as those in which the power law is observed, could
produce the power law. It was simply asserted that it couldn’t.

DF: The idea of such an assertion is news to me. That was a conclusion
you jumped to, methinketh. But of course that is not possible. You have
objected to my writeups, such as “Once around the loop”
claiming that there is no memory or attitude involved in your
interpretation of the letters and words you read because Bill did not put
that in his model.

RM: So when I
produced a PCT model of one example of behavior that results in the power
law and found that the model accounts for the power law, I was astonished
to find that it was dismissed as a “put up job” or something
like that.

DF: I have read enough of Martin’s posts to form the impression that he
never objected to your model, merely to your incorrect math and careless
reading of posts by himself and others. In any case, math is just a
language, and a poor substitute for a discussion of the physics the math
is supposed to represent.

BTW, Maturana and other pillars of cybernetics are featured/discussed in

[
http://www.pctresources.com/Journals/Files/Continuing_the_Conversation/ContinuingTheConversation.pdf

](https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.pctresources.com_Journals_Files_Continuing-5Fthe-5FConversation_ContinuingTheConversation.pdf&d=CwMBAg&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=-dJBNItYEMOLt6aj_KjGi2LMO_Q8QB-ZzxIZIF8DGyQ&m=lCILMizOsXmEiG-uK1FpxAg5YJGNUYcID-Nj5ZJr2b0&s=jdiXQlD6Ua9h2vqpFK5dLKkaMjRQPFd7QwIzTLtbMoQ&e=)You can search this pdf for Maturana, von Glasersfeld, and
cybernetics.

Best, Dag

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.26.1255)]

···

RM: The modeling
approach to evaluating PCT has been conspicuously missing from
discussions on CSGNet.
Dag Forssell (2016.09.26.09:55 PST)

DF: I think what PCT needs more than evaluating against the massive
quantity of theorizing in psych and social science, all focused on
behavior,

RM: You don’t evaluate theories against theories (though you wouldn’t know that from discussions on CSGNet). So I wasn’t suggesting that we start evaluating PCT against other theories in psychology and other social sciences. Nor was I suggesting that we start evaluating PCT against the data collected in psychology and other social sciences. What I was suggesting is that we start doing what Bill was imploring us to do; start the study of living systems all over again by testing PCT, instantiated as working models, against data collected to test the predictions of the theory. And PCT is focused on “behavior” just like psychology and the other social sciences. The difference is that those other theories view behavior as output while PCT recognizes the fact that behavior is control. That’s why we have to start over again.

DF: is simply marketing – exposing people who can use and
understanding of conflict and MOL type thinking in their daily lives.

RM: Marketing is fine. It’s just not interesting to me. I got into PCT because I was interested in understanding the behavior of living systems scientifically – by comparing working models of behavior to the actual behavior (data) that is observed.

DF: Marketing to the academic community is commendable but not very
productive so far. As Bruce Abbott explained so eloquently at Bill’s
memorial service, you have to profess the faith and teach the prescribed
curriculum to get and keep a job in academia, U of Manchester excluded.

RM: Of course. And you have to not only teach the prescribed curriculum but also do research according to the prescribed methodology – the methodology described in Bruce’s Research Methods text, now in it’s 46th edition (or so) – which assumes that living systems are input-output devices.

RM: The power law
discussion is the most recent example. The power law is an observed
phenomenon whose explanation supposedly presents a challenge to the PCT
model in its present form.

DF: “challenge” in the sense of offering an alternative, or
“challenge” in the sense of merely asking what PCT has to say
about it. I understood the latter, as in “please
explain”.

RM: I think that’s the only way it could be taken. The power law is an observation – data to be explained. It doesn’t explain anything.

RM: But this claim
was made without determining whether a working PCT model, behaving in the
same circumstances as those in which the power law is observed, could
produce the power law. It was simply asserted that it couldn’t.
DF: The idea of such an assertion is news to me. That was a conclusion
you jumped to, methinketh.

RM: Perhaps. It seemed to me that this was the case since all the proposals for how to deal with the power law seemed to involved some change in the PCT model. Anyway, there seemed to be general agreement that my PCT model was all wrong somehow.

DF: But of course that is not possible. You have
objected to my writeups, such as “Once around the loop”
claiming that there is no memory or attitude involved in your
interpretation of the letters and words you read because Bill did not put
that in his model.

RM: I think that must be based on your interpretation of the letters and words of mine that you read. Of course there is memory and attitude involved in interpreting what people say. I think what you might be thinking of is my reluctance to accept the idea that imagination plays a role in producing our perceptions – not our interpretations (a cognitive process).

RM: So when I
produced a PCT model of one example of behavior that results in the power
law and found that the model accounts for the power law, I was astonished
to find that it was dismissed as a “put up job” or something
like that.
DF: I have read enough of Martin’s posts to form the impression that he
never objected to your model, merely to your incorrect math and careless
reading of posts by himself and others. In any case, math is just a
language, and a poor substitute for a discussion of the physics the math
is supposed to represent.

RM: This thing about my getting the math wrong is kind of like a Trump lie; it just won’t go away. As far as the model is concerned, it sure seemed like everyone rejected it. I didn’t see a lot of people saying “yes, that’s it”.

DF: BTW, Maturana and other pillars of cybernetics are featured/discussed in


http://www.pctresources.com/Journals/Files/Continuing_the_Conversation/ContinuingTheConversation.pdf

RM: The Maturana quote that started this thread (copied below) is a perfect example of what Mary Powers called “understandingness”, a term she came up with after attending one of the Cybernetics conferences I also attended. It must have been back in the early 1980s, well before Colbert coined the term “truthiness”. Anyone who can make sense of the Maturana quote has no need of PCT (and that was certainly the conclusion of most everyone at all the Cybernetics conferences Bill and I attended).

“Behaviour, as a relation between a living system operating as a whole and the medium operating as an independent entity, does not take place in the anatomy/physiological domain of the organism, but depends on it. In other words, anatomo/physiological phenomena are necessary for behavior to happen, but do not determine it because they are involved in the operation of only one of the participants of the dynamics of relations that constitutes it, namely, the living system. It is only the observer, who conserves a double look by attending simultaneously, or in succession, to the structural dynamics of a system and to its relations as a whole, who can speak of a generative relation between the processes of the structural dynamics of a living system (anatomy and physiology) and the phenomena of its domain of behavior. What the observer sees is that each of the different behaviors that a living system may exhibit as a phenomenon of its domain of relations and interactions, arises in each case only when there is a coincidence between a particular structural dynamics in the living system and a particular structural dynamics in the medium. Accordingly, the behavior that a living system exhibits is neither determined by it nor by the medium alone, even when a particular structural change in a living system may specifically interfere with its ability to generate a particular behavior.”

Best

Rick

[

](https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.pctresources.com_Journals_Files_Continuing-5Fthe-5FConversation_ContinuingTheConversation.pdf&d=CwMBAg&c=8hUWFZcy2Z-Za5rBPlktOQ&r=-dJBNItYEMOLt6aj_KjGi2LMO_Q8QB-ZzxIZIF8DGyQ&m=lCILMizOsXmEiG-uK1FpxAg5YJGNUYcID-Nj5ZJr2b0&s=jdiXQlD6Ua9h2vqpFK5dLKkaMjRQPFd7QwIzTLtbMoQ&e=)You can search this pdf for Maturana, von Glasersfeld, and
cybernetics.

Best, Dag


Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We
have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for
others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for
themselves.” – William T. Powers