Using The Test on Greg

[from Gary Cziko 930415.1706 GMT]

Greg Williams (930414) says (among other things):

I will accept that Gary correctly predicted that I attempted
to show that he didn't "gotcha" me at all. Congratulations, Gary!

So it appears that not being "gotchaed" is not at the top of your hierarchy
of controlled variable. Good.

Greg, you raise lots of interesting additional questions and I would very
much like to continue on this thread with you, but it will have to be at a
low level of intensity for a while. I have three dissertation drafts on my
desk to read and another on the way. Also, nine relatives will be in and
out of my hair over the next two weeks or so (as Chomsky said ambiguously,
"Visiting relatives can be a nuiscance"--true both ways!).

So let me just address a some of the points you raise now and save the rest
for when I have more time.

do you claim that you made this prediction on the basis of applying
The Test alone, on the basis of other techniques, or a combination?

The prediction was not made on the basis of The Test itself, it was a
cojecture based on your interactions with the previous disturbances that
mostly Bill Powers had thrown your way. Your attempt to wheedle out of the
"Gotcha!" was the part of The Test (at least as used by me) and was
consistent with my hunch that you would not want to be "gotchaed."

Nevertheless, isn't it possible that you made a
correct prediction of my actions based on an incorrect interpretation
of the outcome of your application of The Test?

Certainly. The Test does not provide sure-fire, justified knowledge.
Science never does. But it does provide falsifiable knowledge (very much
UNLIKE Freud's knowledge).

Perhaps we can check
on that. Did you make any other predictions about what I would do,
based on my postulated controlled variable?

Not explicitly. But I certainly expected you to answer me, to use e-mail
to do so, to do it in grammatical English, to not call me obscene names,
etc. Lots of tacit predictions we make all the time to interact with

I forgot to ask
Gary about the basis for his confidence in The Test, so I'll ask now.
Gary, do you have a generative-model basis for the "quite well" claim,
or is the claim based on empiricism (perhaps even formalized to a
degree with statistics)? That is, do you think there is a PCT basis
for predicting when The Test will "work quite well" and when it
won't, or must you base such predictions solely on previous
observations without an underlying model to explain it? (I don't mean
to deny the possibility of a basis depending on both theory and

This is a provocative question and I will try to address in detail later
on. Right now I will only say that yes, I believe that The Test is based
on a generative model (if you accept HPCT as a candidate for a generative
model) and no, I don't see how any empiricism is involved in this AT ALL.
I don't understand how ANY observations can precede theory; the
demonstration that no information appears from the disturbance in the
controlled variable makes me feel more comfortable making this claim


Gary Cziko Telephone: 217-333-8527
Educational Psychology FAX: 217-244-7620
University of Illinois E-mail:
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