VS: Making Sense of Behavior - Josh Kaufman site

That’s very nicely condensed, Fred! I agree that this is perhaps the most basic point. Almost everything else can be inferred from that.

Some of my personally important points in PCT are these:

···
  1. It makes circular model of action (From Fichte to Dewey and on) viable offering detailed hypotheses about the roles of the subject
    (input and output functions, reference and comparison, gain) and object / environment (feedback path, disturbance).

  2. It offers hypotheses how our cognitive (and also operative) system can form by learning (restructuring) based on the non/success
    of our experience i.e. feedback action.

  3. It explains how the teaching and other social interaction with more or less planned consequences is possible via reciprocal disturbance
    and action as part of a feedback path for each other.

Eetu

Please, regard all my statements as questions,

no matter how they are formulated.

Lähettäjä: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Lähetetty: 21. toukokuutata 2017 13:40
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: RE: Making Sense of Behavior - Josh Kaufman site

[From Fred Nickols (2017.05.21.0636 ET)]

Hmm. After dashing off the items below, it occurred to me that – for me – THE biggesgest single idea of PCT is this:

“We vary our output (behavior) to control our input (perceptions).�

As it happens, I believe that is the case with all open systems.

Fred Nickols

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us
]
Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2017 6:05 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: Making Sense of Behavior - Josh Kaufman site

[From Fred Nickols (2017.05.21.0602)]

Rick asked us to provide what we see as the “big� ideas of PCT. Here’s my contribution:

People are “living control systems.�

Behavior is part of a control loop.

A lot of our controlling is done automatically, without requiring a lot of conscious thought.

What we control (or try to) is the correspondence between what we want and what we perceive to be the case.

That correspondence can be “disturbed� by other actors and factors but, for the most part, unless they overwhelm us, we manage to negate or offset them and keep things the way we want them to
be.

Our emotions, positive or negative, tie to that correspondence.

Trying to control other people, especially their behavior, is likely to result in conflict, often accompanied by intense negative emotions.

Getting other people to do what you want is best accomplished through a process involving communication and negotiation.

Fred Nickols

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com
]
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:25 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Making Sense of Behavior - Josh Kaufman site

[From Rick Marken (2017.05.18.1325)]

Fred Nickols (2017.05.16.1553)–

FN: BTW, just came across a nice little exposition on Bill’s book “Making Sense of Behavior.� It’s by Josh Kaufman (a fellow I don’t know) and you can find it
at this site: [

Making Sense of Behavior - William T. Powers – Josh Kaufman](Making Sense of Behavior - William T. Powers – Josh Kaufman)

FN: I think it’s worth a look by list members.

RM: This was worth a look. Kaufman reviews MSoB in terms of what he sees as the “10 big ideas” of PCT. Here they are:

1: Perception is how our minds experience the outside world.

2: Our brains compare what we perceive vs. internal preferred or desired “reference levels�.

3: Behavior is the control of perception.

4: When a perception is “under control,� we do nothing.

5: When a perception is “out of control,� we act in ways to bring it back under control as quickly as possible.

6: Our actions to bring a perception under control depend on the environment in which they’re taking place.

7: There are control systems at every level of human action, from our cells all the way up to our highest values and ideals.

8: Higher-level control systems average perceptions over time.

9: It’s possible for control systems to conflict with each other by trying to control the same perception with mutually exclusive reference levels.

10: You can never control another person in a “control systems� sense - you can only act on their perceptions or negotiate a change in their reference levels.

RM: I agree with some of these (2,3,6,7,9) and disagree with the others, either because they are not unique to PCT (1) or are partially or totally incorrect (4,5,8,10). But I think that someone unfamiliar with PCT would
have difficulty seeing what the big deal is even with the “big ideas” that are stated correctly. What, for example, is the big deal with the idea that behavior is the control of perception? What is it important for a person to know that?

RM: So I thought it might be a nice exercise for those of you on CSGNet, who presumably do think the “big ideas” of PCT are important, to say what you think these big ideas are and why you think they are important. I’ll
show you mine if you show me yours;-)

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�

                            --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Eetu Pikkarainen 2017-05-23]

Rick, I think that depends on definitions. For me “behavior� means the empirical changes which can be measured from the test subject. It is the same as “output� in PCT language. So it
feels strange to say that “output is control�.

Rather I would say that output is of course a part of control, but there is more than that.

I would like to say (and I do say) that “action is control�. The concept of action contains traditionally (at least from European perspective) also the internal happenings, like intentions
or goals or reasons, in addition to external behavior. But if you mean by “behavior� the same what I mean by “action� then I think I mostly agree.

Behavior as external and empirically conceivable happening is just a part of control and, as I would like to say as a semiotician, a sign of control.

Perhaps the problem could be corrected by adding a reference to the internal side of the subject namely to perception. Then we get a very classical big idea: “behavior is control of
perception�. :slight_smile:

Eetu

Lähettäjä: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Lähetetty: 22. toukokuutata 2017 22:23
Vastaanottaja: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Aihe: Re: Making Sense of Behavior - Josh Kaufman site

···

[From Rick Marken (2017.05.22.1220)]

Rick Marken (2017.05.18.1325)

RM: So I thought it might be a nice exercise for those of you on CSGNet, who presumably do think the “big ideas” of PCT are important, to say what you think these big ideas are and why you think they are important. I’ll show you mine if
you show me yours;-)

RM: I’ve gotten some really nice answers to this exercise. But I think it’s interesting that no one mentioned what I think is the biggest and most important idea of PCT. It is the idea from which flow all the other “big ideas” that have been mentioned so far.
It is the idea that “behaving IS controlling”.

RM: I think this is the most important idea of PCT because it is the foundation on which PCT is built, which is why it is the topic of the very first chapter of “Making Sense of Behavior” and it is also why my Tim Carey’s and my book on
PCT Is called “Controlling People”. It is a “big idea” because the fact that behaving is controlling invalidates much of the theorizing about the behavior of living systems that has been done in the biological, behavioral and social sciences.

RM: I would be interested in knowing who out there agrees (or disagrees) with me that the biggest idea of PCT is that “behaving is controlling” and why you do (or don’t) agree.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�

                            --Antoine de Saint-Exupery