The Time It Is A' Changin'

[From Rick Marken (971026.1200 PST)]

The following post answers the question "What does a PCT fanatic
do with the extra hour that comes from changing from daylight
to standard time?"

Mervyn --

I _am_ frustated now. I suspect your shit smells like PCT as well.

Bill Powers (971026.0837 MST) --

Sure does. It seems that you want me to learn about your
approach but you don't want to learn about mine.

I'll ignore the scatology, but I would like to throw in my two
scents;-)

For my part, I have no interest at all in learning someone else's
theory of behavior unless it's a theory that is based on
1) recognition of the fact that behavior is purposeful and
2) understanding of the nature of purposful behavior. These are
the two principles on which any theory of behavior must be built.
So far, the only theory of behavior I know of that is built on
these principles is PCT. This is why PCT is not just another
theory of behavior; it is the _only_ theory of purposeful behavior.

I think it is essential that people understand these two principles
before they start telling us about their alternatives to PCT. The
_fact_ that behavior is purposeful is demonstrated by organisms'
ability to produce consistent results in the face of disturbance.
Organisms act to control certain variable aspects of their internal and
external environments; _controlled variables_. The nature of
purposeful behavior is revealed by an analysis of the behavior of
systems that behave purposefully -- control systems. The analysis
shows that purposeful behavior is the control of perception;
controlled variables are environmental correlates of the perceptions
organisms control.

If people could learn these two principles _before_ deciding that
PCT is an alternative to their favorite theory of behavior, perhaps
we could be spared the lessons about how PCT is an alternative to
(and not necessarily the best alternative to) reinforcement theory
(I guess Bruce Abbott finally gave upon teaching us _that_ one)
or model based control theory (Hans still hangs in, his mind
untrammeled by considerations of evidence) or cognitive theory or
neural net theory or dynamic attractor theory or information theory
or natural selection theory or whatever. In fact, PCT is a theory
of a phenomenon that all these other theories have ignored or
denied -- the phenomenon of purpose (the control of perception).

So it's time for those who ignore or deny purpose to get
out of the new road if you can't lend a hand, cause the times
they are a' changin'.

Best

Rick Dylan

···

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

Hi Rick,

I was just reading over this post again and I realised I needed a bit more
help with the idea of purposive behaviour ...

these principles is PCT. This is why PCT is not just another
theory of behavior; it is the _only_ theory of purposeful behavior.

Can you explain this a little more? I can understand how a behaviourist
would have a hard time explaining that their theory accounted for
purposeful behaviour but couldn't a cognitive theorist say that behaviour
in their model had the purpose of carrying out plans that the individual
had constructed? What is it about purposive behaviour that these other
theories miss?

Cheers,

Tim

Hi Tim --

Hey, isn't Tom over there to help with this stuff;-)

If he is, let me know if he thinks I got it right;-)

Me:

PCT is not just another theory of behavior; it is the _only_ theory
of purposeful behavior.

Ye:

Can you explain this a little more? I can understand how a
behaviourist would have a hard time explaining that their theory
accounted for purposeful behaviour but couldn't a cognitive
theorist say that behaviour in their model had the purpose of
carrying out plans that the individual had constructed? What is
it about purposive behaviour that these other theories miss?

The problem is that PCT is a model of a phenomenon (purposeful
behavior) whose existance was denied (by behaviorists) or whose
nature was not understood (by everyone else, including
cognitivists). What it is about purposive behavior that othher
theories (besides PCT) miss is that purpose is control; and
control can only be accomplished by a negative feedback perceptual
control system.

Tom wrote a paper with Bill Powers called "Models and their worlds"
in which they describe experiments which show that S-R and
cognitive models simply do not control; they don't produce purposeful
behavior. What Tom and Bill actually showed was that PCT is the
only model of the phenomenon of purposeful behavior (control).
S-R and cognitive models were built to explain what behavior
was thought to be: caused output (S-R) or planned output (cognitive).

The failure of S-R, cognitive and all other models of behavior
is not really the result of the fact that these models are wrong;
the failure results from the fact that S-R, cognitive and other
theorists had no understanding of tehe _nature of behavior_; they
had no idea that behavior was purposeful and they didn;t understand
the nature of purpose (control). So they invented models to explain
what they thought behavior was -- a cause-effect rather than a
purposeful process. This puts PCT in the strange position of looking
like an alternative to S-R and cognitive theories when, in fact, it
is really a theory that explains a _phenomenon_ that these theories
don't recognize -- purpose. This is why no one pays attention to
PCT. They assume PCT is an alternative to their theory and are
confused when we don't act that way. In fact, PCT says thatthese
"alternative" theories are about a kind of behavior doesn't happen.

Run this by Tom and see if he agrees. I think he will. Actually,
I think one of our main problems in PCT has been to try to present
PCT _as though_ it were an alternative to S-R and cognitive. I
think Tom and Bill did a GREAT job of that in their ""...Worlds"
paper. The problem, of course, is that the S-R and cognitive
theories fail so completely as models of purpose (becasue they are
_not_ models of purpose) that their advocates always say that we
are making up "straw man" versions.

PCT is a VERY tough game to win. I sure hope you keep playing on
our team;-))

Best

Rick

···

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

[From Rick Marken (971028.1445)]

Oops. I thought the reply I just sent to Tim Carey was going
back to him in Australia. I've been having a nice off-line
discussion with Tim and I didn't notice that his last post
was to CSGNet rather than to me directly. So my "reply to
sender" went to CSGNet. Fortunately I didn't say anything
too bad behind anyone's back;-)

Best

Rick

···

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

[Tom Bourbon and Tim the apprentice 291097.2230]

Replying to

From: Richard Marken <rmarken@EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: The Time It Is A' Changin'
Date: Wednesday, 29 October 1997 8:34

Hey, isn't Tom over there to help with this stuff;-)

If he is, let me know if he thinks I got it right;-)

Rick! Rick! Rick!

I leave the country for one week, and look what you do! Can't you _ever_
get it right?

:slight_smile:

Your reply to Tim was great. PCT is about something traditional behavioral
scientists
never ever saw -- the universal phenomenon of control -- the defining
feature of life. PCT
is not an alternative explanation of the same phenomena "explained" by
traditional theories.

Some radical behaviorists like to say that Skinner said behaviorism is "the
very science
of purposive behavior." Funny thing is, I could never find those words in
anything
Skinner wrote. Some cognitive theorists like to say that ... I'm not sure
what they
really say. Very few of them ever talk about behavior at all. Behavior is
so . . . uncognitive.

I'll let Tim take over control of his keyboard again. The local dial-up
number that is supposed
to work for my machine here in Brisbane doesn't work at all.

Keep after them, Ricky Poo!

Hi Rick,

Now it's me back again ... it was fun watching Tom go for it. He swears
he's not
getting back on CSG but I'm sure I could detect a little gleam in his eye
:wink:

This was a great post (see, more reinforcement!!) and very timely, Tom and
I
were discussing this very thing the night before. For me, the paragraph
below is
perhaps the essence of the difference between PCT and S-R and cognitive
theories.

purposeful process. This puts PCT in the strange position of looking
like an alternative to S-R and cognitive theories when, in fact, it
is really a theory that explains a _phenomenon_ that these theories
don't recognize -- purpose. This is why no one pays attention to
PCT. They assume PCT is an alternative to their theory and are
confused when we don't act that way. In fact, PCT says thatthese
"alternative" theories are about a kind of behavior doesn't happen.

I think one of our main problems in PCT has been to try to present
PCT _as though_ it were an alternative to S-R and cognitive.

Comparing these theories is really a nonsense in a way because they
are talking about different things. To me it's like comparing teaspoons and
satellites.
Or how about asking Christians to explain Nirvana or Santa Claus or an
alchemist
to explain enzyme action or asking Newton to explain quantum physics or
asking
Skinner to explain the Id. We have been thinking of lots more examples (and
you can
probably guess what some of them might be :wink: ) but we haven't had enough
red
wine yet to publish them.

Thanks again for a great post,

Tim

[From Rick Marken (971029.1310)]

Tom Bourbon and Tim the apprentice (291097.2230) --

I leave the country for one week, and look what you do! Can't you
_ever_ get it right?

:slight_smile:

It's not my fault. The model based controller that generates my
posts only works in the Northern hemisphere. It's all your fault
because you're down there with the antipodes;-)

Keep after them, Ricky Poo!

Fear not. Deputy Marken is on the job;-)

Have a great time down there. With all three of you down there I
think Australia now ranks as the worlds leading producer of PCT;-)

Comparing these [PCT and all other psychological] theories is
really a nonsense in a way because they are talking about different
things. To me it's like comparing teaspoons and satellites.

I completely agree, though I think a teaspoon is more like a
satellite than PCT is like any other psychological theory.

G'day to y'all

Rick

···

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