# What does a control system control?

[From Bruce Abbott (2017.02.10.1515 EST)]

The simple answer is that control systems control perceptions. But then there is the question as to whether those perceptions correspond to anything “out there” in the environment, an entity that Bill Powers labeled Qi, for “input quantity.”

If we were talking about a mechanical device such as a car’s cruise control, the clear answer is “yes.” Cruise control has a sensor whose electrical output is proportional to the speed of the car; That is, the sensor is a transducer, “converting” the car’s speed (in, say, kilometers per hour) to a voltage whose level is proportional to that speed. That voltage represents the car’s perceived speed as represented within the speed control system. Perceived speed is p; actual speed is Qi.
The system acts based on the difference between this perceptual signal and the reference signal, and acts in such a way as to reduce this difference. It knows nothing of the car’s actual speed (in kph), only perceived speed (in volts). However, to affect that voltage §, the system must act on physical variables outside the system so as to change the car’s actual speed (Qi). If the system is working properly, changing the car’s speed will produce a change in voltage at the speed sensor’s output, thus moving the system’s perception toward its reference level. Because of the proportional relationship between Qi and p, controlling p will also control Qi.
A defect in the speed sensor could create a situation in which, say, an actual speed of 100 kph produces a voltage indicating that the car is going 90 kph. If the reference is set at a voltage equivalent to 100 kph, then the control system will increase the car’s speed until the perceived speed (in volts) matches the reference speed. However, the car will now be going faster than 100 kph. The car’s actual speed Qi is still being controlled, but at what is equivalent to a higher reference speed.
If the sensor becomes erratic, then the relationship between actual speed (in kph) and perceived speed (in volts) breaks down. However, the speed control system will still do its best to keep the perceived speed close to reference, although now the actual speed may be varying considerably and therefore under very poor control.
In the example just presented, the speed perception corresponds to a single variable in the environment of the control system – the car’s actual speed. What about more complex cases in which the perceptual signal depends on some combination of environmental variables? The taste of lemonade has been given as an example, and it has been said there is nothing in the environment that could be called the taste of lemonade. As has been pointed out, however, surely there must be some combination of variables in the environment that yields what most would agree is the taste of lemonade. Otherwise there would be no reason to expect agreement across individuals as to what lemonade tastes like. So there is some combination of sensations, arising through the sensory receptors involved, that will produce what most folks would agree is the taste of lemonade. Given that the perception § depends on inputs from a variety of sensory receptors (multiple Qis), stimulating those receptors in some particular pattern (or range of patterns) of intensities, one could say that a substance giving rise to the perception of a lemonade taste exists in the environment, even if the perception of that taste exists only in the mind of the individual. There might even be several combinations that would produce this experience.
This is not to say that everyone would experience the same taste of lemonade, because we may differ in the sensitivities of our various sensory receptors. Nevertheless the lemonade (something most agree produces the perception of lemonade when tasted) is out there in the environment. By noting what combinations of physical variables give rise to judgments of lemonade taste, we can identify what those combinations are. The perception (of lemonade taste) defines what the inputs must be and how they are to be combined, but this does not mean that what we call lemonade exists only in our perceptions.
I have ignored the fact that none of us have direct knowledge of reality. The reality we perceive does not correspond in all ways to what science and common sense tell us is really out there; we have evolved a set of receptors and perceptual functions that enable us to get by in whatever this reality really is like, leaving many possible perceptual realities by the wayside. What evidence we have strongly suggests that a reality exists beyond our perceptions, so I am disinclined to agree with the mantra that “it’s all perception!”. In my view, control of perception only works because by controlling perception, we also (usually) bring about states of reality that are in the main conducive to our own survival and well-being.

Bruce

[From Bruce Abbott (2017.02.10.1515 EST)]

The simple answer is that control systems control perceptions. But then there is the question as to whether those perceptions correspond to anything â€œout thereâ€? in the environment, an entity that Bill Powers labeled Qi, for â€œinput quantity.â€?

If we were talking about a mechanical device such as a carâ€™s cruise control, the clear answer is â€œyes.â€? Cruise control has a sensor whose electrical output is proportional to the speed of the car; That is, the sensor is a transducer, â€œconvertingâ€? the carâ€™s speed (in, say, kilometers per hour) to a voltage whose level is proportional to that speed. That voltage represents the carâ€™s perceived speed as represented within the speed control system. Perceived speed is p; actual speed is Qi.
The system acts based on the difference between this perceptual signal and the reference signal, and acts in such a way as to reduce this difference. It knows nothing of the carâ€™s actual speed (in kph), only perceived speed (in volts). However, to affect that voltage §, the system must act on physical variables outside the system so as to change the carâ€™s actual speed (Qi). If the system is working properly, changing the carâ€™s speed will produce a change in voltage at the speed sensorâ€™s output, thus moving the systemâ€™s perception toward its reference level. Because of the proportional relationship between Qi and p, controlling p will also control Qi.
A defect in the speed sensor could create a situation in which, say, an actual speed of 100 kph produces a voltage indicating that the car is going 90 kph. If the reference is set at a voltage equivalent to 100 kph, then the control system will increase the carâ€™s speed until the perceived speed (in volts) matches the reference speed. However, the car will now be going faster than 100 kph. The carâ€™s actual speed Qi is still being controlled, but at what is equivalent to a higher reference speed.
If the sensor becomes erratic, then the relationship between actual speed (in kph) and perceived speed (in volts) breaks down. However, the speed control system will still do its best to keep the perceived speed close to reference, although now the actual speed may be varying considerably and therefore under very poor control.
In the example just presented, the speed perception corresponds to a single variable in the environment of the control system – the carâ€™s aactual speed. What about more complex cases in which the perceptual signal depends on some combination of environmental variables? The taste of lemonade has been given as an example, and it has been said there is nothing in the environment that could be called the taste of lemonade. As has been pointed out, however, surely there must be some combination of variables in the environment that yields what most would agree is the taste of lemonade. Otherwise there would be no reason to expect agreement across individuals as to what lemonade tastes like. So there is some combination of sensations, arising through the sensory receptors involved, that will produce what most folks would agree is the taste of lemonade. Given that the perception § depends on inputs from a variety of sensory receptors (multiple Qis), stimulating those receptors in some particular pattern (or range of patterns) of intensities, one could say that a substance giving rise to the perception of a lemonade taste exists in the environment, even if the perception of that taste exists only in the mind of the individual. There might even be several combinations that would produce this experience.
This is not to say that everyone would experience the same taste of lemonade, because we may differ in the sensitivities of our various sensory receptors. Nevertheless the lemonade (something most agree produces the perception of lemonade when tasted) is out there in the environment. By noting what combinations of physical variables give rise to judgments of lemonade taste, we can identify what those combinations are. The perception (of lemonade taste) defines what the inputs must be and how they are to be combined, but this does not mean that what we call lemonade exists only in our perceptions.
I have ignored the fact that none of us have direct knowledge of reality. The reality we perceive does not correspond in all ways to what science and common sense tell us is really out there; we have evolved a set of receptors and perceptual functions that enable us to get by in whatever this reality really is like, leaving many possible perceptual realities by the wayside. What evidence we have strongly suggests that a reality exists beyond our perceptions, so I am disinclined to agree with the mantra that â€œitâ€™s all perception!â€?. In my view, control of perception only works because by controlling perception, we also (usually) bring about states of reality that are in the main conducive to our own survival and well-being.

Bruce

[From Fred Nickols (2017.02.10.1645 ET)]

I echo Warrenâ€™s comment.

Fred Nickols

···

From: Warren Mansell [mailto:wmansell@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 4:18 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: What does a control system control?

Hi Bruce, I like the way you have explained this clearly without trying to take sides in a confused debate! Your explanation seems very sound to me. My hunch is that both Rick and Martin will agree with it to, which would be interesting…

On 10 Feb 2017, at 20:15, Bruce Abbott bbabbott@frontier.com wrote:

[From Bruce Abbott (2017.02.10.1515 EST)]

The simple answer is that control systems control perceptions. But then there is the question as to whether those perceptions correspond to anything â€œout thereâ€? in the environment, an entity that Bill Powers labeled Qi, for â€œinput quantity.â€?

If we were talking about a mechanical device such as a carâ€™s cruise control, the clear answer is â€œyes.â€? Cruise control has a sensor whose electrical output is proportional to the speed of the car; That is, the sensor is a transducer, â€œconvertingâ€? the carâ€™s speed (in, say, kilometers per hour) to a voltage whose level is proportional to that speed. That voltage represents the carâ€™s perceived speed as represented within the speed control system. Perceived speed is p; actual speed is Qi.
The system acts based on the difference between this perceptual signal and the reference signal, and acts in such a way as to reduce this difference. It knows nothing of the carâ€™s actual speed (in kph), only perceived speed (in volts). However, to affect that voltage (p), the system must act on physical variables outside the system so as to change the carâ€™s actual speed (Qi). If the system is working properly, changing the carâ€™s speed will produce a change in voltage at the speed sensorâ€™s output, thus moving the systemâ€™s perception toward its reference level. Because of the proportional relationship between Qi and p, controlling p will also control Qi.
A defect in the speed sensor could create a situation in which, say, an actual speed of 100 kph produces a voltage indicating that the car is going 90 kph. If the reference is set at a voltage equivalent to 100 kph, then the control system will increase the carâ€™s speed until the perceived speed (in volts) matches the reference speed. However, the car will now be going faster than 100 kph. The carâ€™s actual speed Qi is still being controlled, but at what is equivalent to a higher reference speed.
If the sensor becomes erratic, then the relationship between actual speed (in kph) and perceived speed (in volts) breaks down. However, the speed control system will still do its best to keep the perceived speed close to reference, although now the actual speed may be varying considerably and therefore under very poor control.
In the example just presented, the speed perception corresponds to a single variable in the environment of the control system – the carâ€™s actual speed. What abouut more complex cases in which the perceptual signal depends on some combination of environmental variables? The taste of lemonade has been given as an example, and it has been said there is nothing in the environment that could be called the taste of lemonade. As has been pointed out, however, surely there must be some combination of variables in the environment that yields what most would agree is the taste of lemonade. Otherwise there would be no reason to expect agreement across individuals as to what lemonade tastes like. So there is some combination of sensations, arising through the sensory receptors involved, that will produce what most folks would agree is the taste of lemonade. Given that the perception (p) depends on inputs from a variety of sensory receptors (multiple Qis), stimulating those receptors in some particular pattern (or range of patterns) of intensities, one could say that a substance giving rise to the perception of a lemonade taste exists in the environment, even if the perception of that taste exists only in the mind of the individual. There might even be several combinations that would produce this experience.
This is not to say that everyone would experience the same taste of lemonade, because we may differ in the sensitivities of our various sensory receptors. Nevertheless the lemonade (something most agree produces the perception of lemonade when tasted) is out there in the environment. By noting what combinations of physical variables give rise to judgments of lemonade taste, we can identify what those combinations are. The perception (of lemonade taste) defines what the inputs must be and how they are to be combined, but this does not mean that what we call lemonade exists only in our perceptions.
I have ignored the fact that none of us have direct knowledge of reality. The reality we perceive does not correspond in all ways to what science and common sense tell us is really out there; we have evolved a set of receptors and perceptual functions that enable us to get by in whatever this reality really is like, leaving many possible perceptual realities by the wayside. What evidence we have strongly suggests that a reality exists beyond our perceptions, so I am disinclined to agree with the mantra that â€œitâ€™s all perception!â€?. In my view, control of perception only works because by controlling perception, we also (usually) bring about states of reality that are in the main conducive to our own survival and well-being.

Bruce

[Martin Taylor 2017.02.10.17.19]

···

Bruce, Thanks for your description of
the situation. I think the critical sentence is the last. It is a
succinct way of saying what I have been trying to get across.

``````  Martin
``````

[From Bruce Abbott (2017.02.10.1515 EST)]

``````      The simple answer is that control systems
``````

control perceptions. But then there is the question as to
whether those perceptions correspond to anything “out there”
in the environment, an entity that Bill Powers labeled Qi, for
“input quantity.”

``````      If we were talking about a mechanical
``````

device such as a car’s cruise control, the clear answer is
“yes.” Cruise control has a sensor whose electrical output is
proportional to the speed of the car; That is, the sensor is
a transducer, “converting” the car’s speed (in, say,
kilometers per hour) to a voltage whose level is proportional
to that speed. That voltage represents the car’s perceived
speed as represented within the speed control system.
Perceived speed is p; actual speed is Qi.

``````      The system acts based on the difference between this
``````

perceptual signal and the reference signal, and acts in such a
way as to reduce this difference. It knows nothing of the
car’s actual speed (in kph), only perceived speed (in volts).
However, to affect that voltage (p), the system must act on
physical variables outside the system so as to change the
car’s actual speed (Qi). If the system is working properly,
changing the car’s speed will produce a change in voltage at
the speed sensor’s output, thus moving the system’s perception
toward its reference level. Because of the proportional
relationship between Qi and p, controlling p will also control
Qi.

``````      A defect in the speed sensor could create a situation in
``````

which, say, an actual speed of 100 kph produces a voltage
indicating that the car is going 90 kph. If the reference is
set at a voltage equivalent to 100 kph, then the control
system will increase the car’s speed until the perceived speed
(in volts) matches the reference speed. However, the car will
now be going faster than 100 kph. The car’s actual speed Qi
is still being controlled, but at what is equivalent to a
higher reference speed.

``````      If the sensor becomes erratic, then the relationship between
``````

actual speed (in kph) and perceived speed (in volts) breaks
down. However, the speed control system will still do its
best to keep the perceived speed close to reference,
although now the actual speed may be varying considerably and
therefore under very poor control.

``````      In the example just presented, the speed perception
``````

corresponds to a single variable in the environment of the
control system – the car’s actual speed. What about more
complex cases in which the perceptual signal depends on some
combination of environmental variables? The taste of lemonade
has been given as an example, and it has been said there is
nothing in the environment that could be called the taste of
lemonade. As has been pointed out, however, surely there must
be some combination of variables in the environment that
yields what most would agree is the taste of lemonade.
Otherwise there would be no reason to expect agreement across
individuals as to what lemonade tastes like. So there is some
combination of sensations, arising through the sensory
receptors involved, that will produce what most folks would
agree is the taste of lemonade. Given that the perception (p)
depends on inputs from a variety of sensory receptors
(multiple Qis), stimulating those receptors in some particular
pattern (or range of patterns) of intensities, one could say
that a substance giving rise to the perception of a lemonade
taste exists in the environment, even if the perception of
that taste exists only in the mind of the individual. There
might even be several combinations that would produce this
experience.

``````      This is not to say that everyone would experience the same
``````

taste of lemonade, because we may differ in the sensitivities
of our various sensory receptors. Nevertheless the lemonade
(something most agree produces the perception of lemonade when
tasted) is out there in the environment. By noting what
combinations of physical variables give rise to judgments of
lemonade taste, we can identify what those combinations are.
The perception (of lemonade taste) defines what the inputs
must be and how they are to be combined, but this does not
mean that what we call lemonade exists only in our
perceptions.

``````      I have ignored the fact that none of us have direct knowledge
``````

of reality. The reality we perceive does not
correspond in all ways to what science and common sense tell
us is really out there; we have evolved a set of receptors and
perceptual functions that enable us to get by in whatever this
reality really is like, leaving many possible perceptual
realities by the wayside. What evidence we have strongly
suggests that a reality exists beyond our perceptions, so I am
disinclined to agree with the mantra that “it’s all
perception!”. In my view, control of perception only works
because by controlling perception, we also (usually) bring
about states of reality that are in the main conducive to our
own survival and well-being.

``````      Bruce
``````

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.10.1845)]

···

Bruce Abbott (2017.02.10.1515 EST)

Â

BA: The simple answer is that control systems control perceptions.

RM: And by doing so they are controlling the aspects of the environment that correspond to those perceptions.Â

Â

BA: But then there is the question as to whether those perceptions correspond to anything âout thereâ? in the environment, an entity that Bill Powers labeled Qi, for âinput quantity.â?

RM: That’s not a question in PCT. The observed behavior of the input quantity, Qi – the fact that it is controlled – is explained by positing that a control system exists that perceives the same aspect of the environment that the observer perceives as Qi.Â

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is an aspect of the physical environment that is a perception in the observer of the control system.Â

Â

BA: If we were talking about a mechanical device such as a carâs cruise control, the clear answer is âyes.â?Â Cruise control has a sensor whose electrical output is proportional to the speed of the car; Â That is, the sensor is a transducer, âconvertingâ? the carâs speed (in, say, kilometers per hour) to a voltage whose level is proportional to that speed.Â That voltage represents the carâs perceived speed as represented within the speed control system.Â Perceived speed is p; actual speed is Qi.

RM: The speed sensor is more than a transducer; it is a perceptual function that perceives an aspect of the environment that corresponds to the change in position of some physical variable per unit time. There is an environmental basis of this perception consisting of the physical variables that are changing over time; but the perception itself is a function of these variables… What you call the actual speed is not the same as Qi in PCT. In PCT Qi corresponds to whatever the system itself perceives as speed. What you call the actual speed is the observer’s (in this case probably an engineer’s) perception of the speed, probably derived from instruments (which are also perceptions, of course). It’s the speed (perception) that the observer-engineer wants the cruise controller to control. The speed perception that the cruise controller is actually controlling, as perceived by the observer-engineer, is Qi.

BA: Â However, to affect that voltage (p), the system must act on physical variables outside the system so as to change the carâs actual speed (Qi).Â

RM: No, it must act on the physical variables outside the system so as to change the car’s speed *as perceived by the system itself.Â *According to PCT, Qi is the observer’s perception that corresponds to the perceptual variable that the control system controls. As noted above “actual speed” is the engineer’s perception, based on the models of physics (those models are also perceptions, of course) but it does not necessarily correspond to the perception that the cruise controller is controlling.Â

Â

BA: If the system is working properly, changing the carâs speed will produce a change in voltage at the speed sensorâs output, thus moving the systemâs perception toward its reference level.Â Because of the proportional relationship between Qi and p, controlling p will also control Qi.

RM: Â That’s true if Qi corresponds to the observer’s perception of the variable controlled by the cruise control system. But Qi is not controlled if Qi refers to the observer’s perception of what they consider the “actual” variable that the system is (or should be) controlling, as you note in the next paragraph:Â

BA: A defect in the speed sensor could create a situation in which, say, an actual speed of 100 kph produces a voltage indicating that the car is going 90 kph.

RM: Right, the variable the control system controls is the variable that corresponds to the aspect of the environment it perceives. This cruise control system is controlling an aspect of the environment that is not the same as the one the observer considers to be “actual” – the one that the system should be controlling (from the observer-engineer’s point of view).Â

BA: In the example just presented, the speed perception corresponds to a single variable in the environment of the control system  the carâs actual speed.Â

RM: The speed perception corresponds to an aspect (function) of physical variables in the environment. There is no single variable in the environment that corresponds to the speed perception being controlled. What is in the environment are the physical variables that are the basis for the computation of the measure (perception) of speed.Â

BA: What about more complex cases in which the perceptual signal depends on some combination of environmental variables?Â The taste of lemonade has been given as an example, and it has been said there is nothing in the environment that could be called the taste of lemonade.Â As has been pointed out, however, surely there must be some combination of variables in the environment that yields what most would agree is the taste of lemonade.Â

RM:I refer you to p. 113-114 of B:CP (original edition). The section on Sensations and Reality. Here’s the main point:

“The taste of fresh lemonade, for example, contains an easily recognized vector derived from intensity signals generated by sugar and acid (together with some oil smells). However unitary and real this vector seems, there is no physical entity corresponding to it. The juxtaposition of sugars, acids and oils in one common volume does not create ad special entity there, and there are no significant chemical reactions in the glass of lemonade. That is, the mere intermingling of these components has no special physical effects on anything else, except the person tasting the mixture. The only significant consequence of ingesting these components together is to provide something for the lemonade-taste recognizer to recognize”. (WTP)

RM: The physical variables in the environment are the sugars, acids and oils. A person’s perception, p, of the taste of lemonade is created by a perceptual function – the lemonade-recognizer. The variable Qi is the output of the observer’s lemonade-recognizer function when it corresponds to that of the drinking the lemonade.Â

Â

BA: Otherwise there would be no reason to expect agreement across individuals as to what lemonade tastes like.Â

RM: We expect agreement to the extent that different individuals have the same lemonade-recognizer perceptual function and they want the output of that function – the perceptual variable that corresponds to the taste of lemonade – Â to be at the same reference value (not too sweet and not too sour, for example).Â

Â

BA: So there is some combination of sensations, arising through the sensory receptors involved, that will produce what most folks would agree is the taste of lemonade.Â Given that the perception (p) depends on inputs from a variety of sensory receptors (multiple Qis), stimulating those receptors in some particular pattern (or range of patterns) of intensities, one could say that a substance giving rise to the perception of a lemonade taste exists in the environment, even if the perception of that taste exists only in the mind of the individual.Â There might even be several combinations that would produce this experience.

RM: This is all correct except that Qi refers to the output of the function of the effect of physical variables – the sugars, acids and oils – that produces the taste of lemonade; the physical variables themselves are usually not included in the PCT model diagrams. But they are included in the diagram in Bill’s 1973 Science paper that is reprinted in LCS I (see p. 66) where they are are called v’s. The input quantity (Qi) is a circle surrounding the v’s, showing that Qi is a function of these physical variables.

BA: I have ignored the fact that none of us have direct knowledge of reality.Â

RM: Right, in PCT “reality” (the variables one the environment side of the PCT model) consists of the variables and process that are part of the models of physics and chemistry.Â

Â

BA: Â What evidence we have strongly suggests that a reality exists beyond our perceptions, so I am disinclined to agree with the mantra that âitâs all perception!â?.Â In my view, control of perception only works because by controlling perception, we also (usually) bring about states of reality that are in the main conducive to our own survival and well-being.

RM: The mantra “It’s all perception” just refers to the fact that all we know is our own perceptions. But PCT definitely assumes that reality exists. Look at any diagram of a PCT model. There is always an environment on the other side of the system. That environment is the assumed reality.Â

RM: When I say that Qi does not exist as an entity in the environment I am certainly not denying that reality exists. PCT assumes there is a reality “out there” and so do I. What doesn’t exist in that reality are the functions of the variables in that reality. A function of physical variables is a perception that can only exist in a system that can compute that function; it can’t be a property of the physical variables themselves. Therefore, a function of physical variables, like the taste of lemonade, does not exist as a physical entity itself; it exists only as a perception in a system that can compute that function.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.â?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Martin Taylor 2017.02.11.14.10]

``````It's interesting that Bruce is also on your "naughty list" of people
``````

whose messages you must find ways to refute by any means you can
invent. Or maybe he’s only there temporarily because I said I agreed
with him.

``````I see that this time, you have invented an interesting "new PCT",
``````

which seems to have some kinship with quantum mechanics, entangling
controllers and observers. It’s a concept that might be fun to
pursue as an intellectual exercise. I’ve tried to understand it, but
without success. A tutorial on it, along with a primer on the new
math that seems to be an intrinsic part of it, would be nice.

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.10.1845)]

``````Yes, we know that you have sensors that can directly perceive
``````

instances of control, so you don’t need to say “appear to be
controlling”, as most of us do. I can describe to a red-green-blind
person what is necessary for the perception of red as distinct from
green, namely sensors that are differentially sensitive to the
balance between redness and greenness. Can you describe for this
“control-blind” person exactly what sensors are necessary for the
direct perception of “control”?

``````I have been led to believe that control requires three things, the
``````

existence of a variable to be controlled, a reference value , and a
means of reducing the difference between the variable and its
reference value. Since later in the message to which I am replying
(and in many recent messages) you deny the existence of an
environmental variable corresponding to a perception, and since I
personally am unable to detect the existence of a reference quantity
in the environment or a means in the environment of comparing such a
reference to the variable in order to reduce it, apparently none of
them are necessary for your personal direct perception of control.
So what do you think are the inputs to your “control” perceptual
function?

``````No, it isn't a question for "normal" PCT. It's a question for
``````

philosophers.Â In normal PCT it’s just a conventional part of the
control loop, “the aspects of the environment that correspond to
those perceptions.” In PCT, we just assume that there is something
“out there” that is influenced by the controller’s action and that
in turn influences the controller’s perception. No questions about
that are permitted. You say later that this is true also in “new
PCT”, but other parts of your description of new PCT lead one to
wonder.

``````OK. This statement obviously suggests a question about "new PCT",
``````

since it seems to be a significant change from “old PCT”.

``````Question: Since Qi is only a perception in an external observer,
``````

does this imply, as it seems to do, that control of the perception
cannot occur wile the observer has turned away, or worse, nobody is
observing?

``````In "old PCT" it is the actual speed. That's what determines whether
``````

the car will negotiate a curve or skid into the guard rail, and the
effects if it crashes, for example.

``````For a very old example of the use of "qi" see this diagram from
``````

Marken (1981, p73 in “Mind Readings”). In LCS III (2008), Powers in
a similar diagram doesn’t give it a symbol, but just calls it “input
quantity”, for which the initials bear a surprising resemblance to q
and i. … Oh, surprise, that’s where the symbols “q.i” as opposed
to “q.o” comes from initially.

``````![Marken1981ControlLoop.jpg|603x439](upload://5sZOYEsa9gxfu7oXMLOLLaFKgtY.jpeg)

As the 1981 diagram shows, in which qi is the actual value of the
``````

environmental variable before transformation by the “Input device”
(except that qi in the diagram represents “distance” not “speed”).

``````I think if you were to ask Bruce what he meant, he would say it was
``````

the actual speed, not any other observer’s (or engineer’s)
perception, because he was thinking of old PCT. The actual speed is,
after all, the input to the sensor that provides input to (or is)
the cruise-control’s perceptual system (Ki in the diagram is even
called “sensor”).

``````Question: why do you start that sentence with "no", when the rest of
``````

the sentence means “Yes”? So far as I can see, it is a paraphrase of
what Bruce said.

``````Oh. I think I understand, in "new PCT" the actual speed does not
``````

exist unless someone is observing it. Is that what you meant? Or are
you referring to the fact that the actual speed is not measured in
neural impulses per second? Or what???

``````Question: Don't you mean "According to new PCT"? According to old
``````

PCT, Qi is the environmental variable value that is the source of
the various inputs to the Perceptual Input Function that produces
“p”, the perceptual variable that the control system controls. (See
Marken diagram above).

``````And if there is no observer? What does Qi correspond to in that
``````

case, in new PCT?

``````This is a very strange comment, whether we are talking about old PCT
``````

or new PCT, unless new PCT is even weirder than I thought. Because
the cruise control sensor scale is wrong, controlling the perception
no longer influences the actual speed (in old PCT) or the observer’s
perception of the actual speed (in new PCT)? If it does not, how is
the feedback loop completed? I realize that the questions have no
answers that make logical sense, but it’s the best i can come up
with as implications of your comment. Maybe you can rephrase the
questions so that a logical answer exists in new PCT, if not in old
PCT.

``````... Oh, again I think I understand. It's the same as before, the
``````

feedback loop necessarily goes through an observer, not the physical
environment. So when there’s no observer, nothing is controlled. But
in this case you do refer to an engineer-observer, so control is
going on, but the environmental variable “speed” is not being
influenced. Only the experimenter-observer’s perception of it is
being influenced, using some unstated mechanism. Is that right?

``````I'm glad that at last somebody knows the answer to a puzzle
``````

philosophers have been concerned with for millennia – exactly what
is and what is not in the environment. Are you going to let them
know?

``````And you will soon provide us the axioms of the new math you have
``````

been touting this last little while, in which the X is not a
variable if it is a function of variables Y and Z, won’t you?

``````Yes to the second sentence in both forms of PCT. For the third
``````

sentence, Yes, in new PCT, No in old PCT.

``````I guess this is a previously unstated aspect of new PCT, that one
``````

perceives one’s reference values for the Qi that is at the output of
the perceptual function rather than the results of the perceptual
function working on the inputs that come eventually from the
environment. Have I got that rights? New PCT seems to be very
complicated

``````And new PCT involves also the new maths that you introduced a while
``````

ago, in which if x is a function of variables y and z, x is not a
variable. I guess you have an entire new branch of science, not just
a new version of PCT. But you really should specify the axioms of
your new math before you use it in your analyses for public viewing.

``````So, another question: In the new PCT are the rather
``````

far-from-perception abstractions of the models of physics and
chemistry more real than the perceptions on which they are based?

``````That environment in the old PCT includes the variable whose value is
``````

qi (or Qi or q.i). What does it include in new PCT? I realize you
know, but at least for me you haven’t made it clear other than that
it does not include Qi.

``````I find two rather puzzling claims in that one partial sentence: "A
``````

function of physical variables is a perception" and “a function can
only exist in a system that can compute that function”. Do you have
some way of justifying either of those two independent claims?

``````I think we need a proper tutorial in the new math than underlies the
``````

new PCT, or rather a primer in the new math and a tutorial in the
new PCT, before we can properly understand them.

``````Martin
``````
···
``````                Bruce Abbott (2017.02.10.1515
``````

EST)

Â

``````                BA: The simple answer is that
``````

control systems control perceptions.

``````          RM: And by doing so they are controlling the aspects of
``````

the environment that correspond to those perceptions.

Â

``````                BA: But then there is the
``````

question as to whether those perceptions correspond
to anything â€œout thereâ€? in the environment, an
entity that Bill Powers labeled Qi, for â€œinput
quantity.â€?

RM: That’s not a question in PCT. …

``````          ...The observed behavior of the input quantity, Qi --
``````

the fact that it is controlled – is explained by positing
that a control system exists that perceives the same
aspect of the environment that the observer perceives as
Qi.Â

``````          RM: And Qi is not an "entity" in the environment; it is
``````

an aspect of the physical environment that is a
perception in the observer of the control system.Â

Â

``````                BA: If we were talking about a
``````

mechanical device such as a carâ€™s cruise control,
the clear answer is â€œyes.â€?Â Cruise control has a
sensor whose electrical output is proportional to
the speed of the car; Â That is, the sensor is a
transducer, â€œconvertingâ€? the carâ€™s speed (in, say,
kilometers per hour) to a voltage whose level is
proportional to that speed.Â That voltage represents
the carâ€™s perceived speed as represented within the
speed control system.Â Perceived speed is p; actual
speed is Qi.

``````          RM: The speed sensor is more than a transducer; it is a
``````

perceptual function that perceives an aspect of the
environment that corresponds to the change in position of
some physical variable per unit time. There is an
environmental basis of this perception consisting of the
physical variables that are changing over time; but the
perception itself is a function of these variables… What
you call the actual speed is not the same
as Qi in PCT.

``````          In PCT Qi corresponds to whatever the system itself
``````

perceives as speed.

``````          What you call the actual speed is the observer's (in
``````

this case probably an engineer’s) perception of the speed,
probably derived from instruments (which are also
perceptions, of course). It’s the speed (perception) that
the observer-engineer wants the cruise controller to
control. The speed perception that the cruise controller
is actually controlling, as perceived by the
observer-engineer, is Qi.

``````                BA: Â However, to affect that voltage (p), the system
``````

must act on physical variables outside the system so
as to change the carâ€™s actual speed (Qi).Â

``````          RM: No, it must act on the physical variables outside
``````

the system so as to change the car’s speed * as perceived
by the system itself.
*

``````          According to PCT, Qi is the observer's perception that
``````

corresponds to the perceptual variable that the control
system controls.

Â

``````                BA: If the system is working
``````

properly, changing the carâ€™s speed will produce a
change in voltage at the speed sensorâ€™s output, thus
moving the systemâ€™s perception toward its reference
level.Â Because of the proportional relationship
between Qi and p, controlling p will also control
Qi.

``````          RM: Â That's true if Qi corresponds to the observer's
``````

perception of the variable controlled by the cruise
control system.

``````          But Qi is not controlled if Qi refers to the
``````

observer’s perception of what they consider the “actual”
variable that the system is (or should be) controlling, as
you note in the next paragraph:Â

``````                BA: A defect in the speed sensor could create a
``````

situation in which, say, an actual speed of 100 kph
produces a voltage indicating that the car is going
90 kph.

``````          RM: Right, the variable the control system controls is
``````

the variable that corresponds to the aspect of the
environment it perceives. This cruise control system is
controlling an aspect of the environment that is not the
same as the one the observer considers to be “actual” –
the one that the system should be controlling (from the
observer-engineer’s point of view).

``````                BA: In the example just
``````

presented, the speed perception corresponds to a
single variable in the environment of the control
system – the carâ€™s actual speed.Â <

``````          RM: The speed perception corresponds to an aspect
``````

(function) of physical variables in the environment. There
is no single variable in the environment that
corresponds to the speed perception being controlled. What
is in the environment are the physical variables that are
the basis for the computation of the measure (perception)
of speed.

``````                BA: What about more complex cases
``````

in which the perceptual signal depends on some
combination of environmental variables?Â The taste
of lemonade has been given as an example, and it has
been said there is nothing in the environment that
could be called the taste of lemonade.Â As has been
pointed out, however, surely there must be some
combination of variables in the environment that
yields what most would agree is the taste of

``````          RM:I refer you to p. 113-114 of B:CP (original
``````

edition). The section on Sensations and Reality. Here’s
the main point:

``````          "The taste of fresh
``````

lemonade, for example, contains an easily recognized
vector derived from intensity signals generated by sugar
and acid (together with some oil smells). However unitary
and real this vector seems, * there is no physical
entity corresponding to it* . The juxtaposition of
sugars, acids and oils in one common volume does not
create ad special entity there, and there are no
significant chemical reactions in the glass of lemonade.
That is, the mere intermingling of these components has no
special physical effects on anything else, * except the
person tasting the mixture* . The only significant
consequence of ingesting these components together is to
provide something for the lemonade-taste recognizer to
recognize". (WTP)

``````          RM: The physical variables in the environment are the
``````

sugars, acids and oils. A person’s perception, p, of the
taste of lemonade is created by a perceptual function –
the lemonade-recognizer. The variable Qi is the output of
the observer’s lemonade-recognizer function when it
corresponds to that of the drinking the lemonade.

Â

``````                BA: Otherwise there would be no
``````

reason to expect agreement across individuals as to

``````          RM: We expect agreement to the extent that different
``````

individuals have the same lemonade-recognizer perceptual
function and they want the output of that function – the
perceptual variable that corresponds to the taste of
lemonade – Â to be at the same reference value (not too
sweet and not too sour, for example).

Â

``````                BA: So there is some combination
``````

of sensations, arising through the sensory receptors
involved, that will produce what most folks would
agree is the taste of lemonade.Â Given that the
perception (p) depends on inputs from a variety of
sensory receptors (multiple Qis), stimulating those
receptors in some particular pattern (or range of
patterns) of intensities, one could say that a
substance giving rise to the perception of a
lemonade taste exists in the environment, even if
the perception of that taste exists only in the mind
of the individual.Â There might even be several
combinations that would produce this experience.

``````          RM: This is all correct except that Qi refers to the
``````

output of the function of the effect of physical
variables – the sugars, acids and oils – that produces
the taste of lemonade; the physical variables themselves
are usually not included in the PCT model diagrams. But
they are included in the diagram in Bill’s 1973 Science
paper that is reprinted in LCS I (see p. 66) where they
are are called v’s. The input quantity (Qi) is a circle
surrounding the v’s, showing that Qi is a function of
these physical variables.

``````                BA: I have ignored the fact that
``````

none of us have direct knowledge of reality.Â

``````          RM: Right, in PCT "reality" (the variables one the
``````

environment side of the PCT model) consists of the
variables and process that are part of the models of
physics and chemistry.Â

Â

``````                BA: Â What evidence we have
``````

strongly suggests that a reality exists beyond our
perceptions, so I am disinclined to agree with the
mantra that â€œitâ€™s all perception!â€?.Â In my view,
control of perception only works because by
controlling perception, we also (usually) bring
about states of reality that are in the main
conducive to our own survival and well-being.

``````          RM: The mantra "It's all perception" just refers to the
``````

fact that all we know is our own perceptions. But PCT
definitely assumes that reality exists. Look at any
diagram of a PCT model. There is always an environment on
the other side of the system. That environment is the
assumed reality.

``````          RM: When I say that Qi does not exist as an entity in
``````

the environment I am certainly not denying that reality
exists. PCT assumes there is a reality “out there” and so
do I. What doesn’t exist in that reality are thefunctions of the variables in that reality. A
function of physical variables is a perception that can
only exist in a system that can compute that function;

``````          it can't be a property of the physical variables
``````

themselves. Therefore, a function of physical variables,
like the taste of lemonade, does not exist as a physical
entity itself; it exists only as a perception in a system
that can compute that function.Â

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.0900)]

···

Martin Taylor (2017.02.11.14.10)_-

``````MT: It's interesting that Bruce is also on your "naughty list" of people
``````

whose messages you must find ways to refute by any means you can
invent. Or maybe he’s only there temporarily because I said I agreed
with him.

RM: I don’t have a “naughty list” but I do strongly disagree with much of what you and Bruce say about PCT. But I also disagree with much what many other people on CSGNet say about PCT. Indeed, I’d say that since Bill passed away I have been disagreeing with virtually everyone on CSGNet and they’ve been disagreeing right back at me. So if I had a naughty list nearly everyone on CSGNet would be on it and I’m quite sure I’d be on theirs. (So much for my being one of the recognized experts on PCT. I believe I mentioned at one time that Bill wrote in my copy of *Making Sense of Behavior “*Someday all this will be yours”. I didn’t realize that he meant mine alone;-).Â But my disagreements with you and Bruce have probably been more intense than those with others so if I had a naughty list you two would probably be at the top of it. I think that’s because the three of us come from the same experimental psychology background.

RM: It’s got to be pretty obvious that my goal ever since I got into PCT has been make the revolution in psychological science happen – the one that Bill described in his 1978 Psych Review paper and many other places. This revolution would require convincing some research-oriented psychologists to start doing and publishing in refereed journals the kind of PCT research Bill described. I was hoping that at least one of you would join me in that effort. But alas that hasn’t come to pass. Nevertheless, I can’t seem to abandon hope so when you guys say things that disturb my vision of what I think a revolution in scientific psychology I can’t help but to react rather strongly.Â But it’s business, not personal.Â

RM: Now I"ll try to answer some of your questions in this post.

Â

``````MT: I have been led to believe that control requires three things, the
``````

existence of a variable to be controlled, a reference value , and a
means of reducing the difference between the variable and its
reference value. Since later in the message to which I am replying
(and in many recent messages) you deny the existence of an
environmental variable corresponding to a perception, and since I
personally am unable to detect the existence of a reference quantity
in the environment or a means in the environment of comparing such a
reference to the variable in order to reduce it, apparently none of
them are necessary for your personal direct perception of control.
So what do you think are the inputs to your “control” perceptual
function?

RM: The inputs to perceptual functions are the sensory effects of environmental variables. My perceptual functions turn these sensory effects into perceptual variables such as intensities, sensations, configurations… principles and system concepts.Â

``````MT: OK. This statement obviously suggests a question about "new PCT",
``````

since it seems to be a significant change from “old PCT”.

``````MT: Question: Since Qi is only a perception in an external observer,
``````

does this imply, as it seems to do, that control of the perception
cannot occur wile the observer has turned away, or worse, nobody is
observing?

RM: No because Qi is also a perception in the controller. For example, when you correctly identify what your subject is controlling in the “coin game”, your perception of that aspect of the coins is essentially equivalent to the perception controlled by the subject.Â For example, if the subject is controlling for the dates on the coins being in order from lowest to highest, your perception of the order of the dates on the coins is equivalent to the perceptual variable that the subject is controlling; and you can see that the reference state of that perceptual variable is “lowest to highest”. Your perception of the order of the dates is the variable Qi; the subject’s perception is the theoretical variable Â p.Â

``````MT: In "old PCT" it is the actual speed. That's what determines whether
``````

the car will negotiate a curve or skid into the guard rail, and the
effects if it crashes, for example.

Â RM: What is presumably out in the world is variables, like the position of a mass, that is changing over time. So there is something actually happening out there. But what is happening is known to the observer and the control system only as a perception, where the term perception refers to some measure of the change in position/unit time. The variable controlled by the control system is its measure (perception) of speed, which may or may not correspond to the measure (perception) of speed made by the observer.Â

``````MT: I think if you were to ask Bruce what he meant, he would say it was
``````

the actual speed, not any other observer’s (or engineer’s)
perception, because he was thinking of old PCT. The actual speed is,
after all, the input to the sensor that provides input to (or is)
the cruise-control’s perceptual system (Ki in the diagram is even
called “sensor”).

RM: There is no such thing as an “actual speed” detector. A speed detector has to measure the change in the position (v) of a variable (like the position of a point on the drive shaft) per unit time (dt). That is, it has to continuously measure Â [v(t)-v(t-dt)]/dt. It does this by various ingenious means but, however it does it, it is computing a function of the values of environmental variables (position and time) to produce a measure (perception) of speed. According to physics there is a physical variable out there that is changing over time. But this variable can’t just be detected; it has to be computed, ie. it perceived.

``````MT: Question: why do you start that sentence with "no", when the rest of
``````

the sentence means “Yes”? So far as I can see, it is a paraphrase of
what Bruce said.

RM: Bruce equates actual speed with Q.i. But Q.i is speed as perceived by the control system, which may not correspond to the observer’s idea of actual speed. For example, the observer’s perception of actual speed may be derived from the function Â [v(t)-v(t-dt)]/dt measured with such precision that it even takes relativity effects into account. The controller, on the other hand, may be computing a perception of speed that is somewhat different than Â [v(t)-v(t-dt)]/dt, say Â [v(t)-v(t-dt/2)]/dt. It’s this second measure of speed – this second function of physical variables – that the controller must affect in order to control it’s perception of speed.Â

Â

``````MT: Oh. I think I understand, in "new PCT" the actual speed does not
``````

exist unless someone is observing it.

RM: Yes, though that way of saying it makes it sound like something Bishop Berkeley would say and that one would have to posit God in the quad to keep reality going when no one is watching;-) But PCT does say that there is a reality out there event when we’re not looking; Â it’s called the environment.Â But it’s not the environment made up of tables, chairs, houses, people and speeding cars. Rather, it is an environment made of physical variables that provide the basis for perceiving tables, chairs, houses, people and speeding cars. What you think of the environment is what PCT says is perception. The environment in PCT is made up of the physical variables that are the basis for what you think of as the environment.

``````MT: Question: Don't you mean "According to new PCT"? According to old
``````

PCT, Qi is the environmental variable value that is the source of
the various inputs to the Perceptual Input Function that produces
“p”, the perceptual variable that the control system controls. (See
Marken diagram above).

RM: No, I meant what I said. Qi is the observer’s perception that corresponds to the perceptual variable that the control system controls.Â

``````MT: And if there is no observer? What does Qi correspond to in that
``````

case, in new PCT?

RM: If there is no observer then there is no Qi.

``````MT: That environment in the old PCT includes the variable whose value is
``````

qi (or Qi or q.i).

RM: That’s an easy mistake to make. Teh diagram does make it look like Qi is an environmental variable. But, in fact, it is a function of environmental variables – the v’s shown in the Science paper.Â

Â

``````MT: I find two rather puzzling claims in that one partial sentence: "A
``````

function of physical variables is a perception" and “a function can
only exist in a system that can compute that function”. Do you have
some way of justifying either of those two independent claims?

RM: I can’t see that they need justification. Â

BestÂ

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.â€?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

``````          RM: And Qi is not an "entity" in the environment; it is
``````

an aspect of the physical environment that is a
perception in the observer of the control system.Â

``````          RM: The speed sensor is more than a transducer; it is a
``````

perceptual function that perceives an aspect of the
environment that corresponds to the change in position of
some physical variable per unit time. There is an
environmental basis of this perception consisting of the
physical variables that are changing over time; but the
perception itself is a function of these variables… What
you call the actual speed is not the same
as Qi in PCT.

``````          RM: What you call the actual speed is the observer's (in
``````

this case probably an engineer’s) perception of the speed,
probably derived from instruments (which are also
perceptions, of course). It’s the speed (perception) that
the observer-engineer wants the cruise controller to
control. The speed perception that the cruise controller
is actually controlling, as perceived by the
observer-engineer, is Qi.

``````                BA: Â However, to affect that voltage (p), the system
``````

must act on physical variables outside the system so
as to change the carâ€™s actual speed (Qi).Â

``````          RM: No, it must act on the physical variables outside
``````

the system so as to change the car’s speed * as perceived
by the system itself.Â *

``````          RM: According to PCT, Qi is the observer's perception that
``````

corresponds to the perceptual variable that the control
system controls.

Â

``````                BA: If the system is working
``````

properly, changing the carâ€™s speed will produce a
change in voltage at the speed sensorâ€™s output, thus
moving the systemâ€™s perception toward its reference
level.Â Because of the proportional relationship
between Qi and p, controlling p will also control
Qi.

``````          RM: Â That's true if Qi corresponds to the observer's
``````

perception of the variable controlled by the cruise
control system.

``````          RM: The mantra "It's all perception" just refers to the
``````

fact that all we know is our own perceptions. But PCT
definitely assumes that reality exists. Look at any
diagram of a PCT model. There is always an environment on
the other side of the system. That environment is the
assumed reality.

``````          RM: When I say that Qi does not exist as an entity in
``````

the environment I am certainly not denying that reality
exists. PCT assumes there is a reality “out there” and so
do I. What doesn’t exist in that reality are thefunctions of the variables in that reality. A
function of physical variables is a perception that can
only exist in a system that can compute that function;

[From Fred Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET)]

I am not trying to mix in this conversation but I do have a question about something Rick wrote.

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 12:05 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: What does a control system control?

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.0900)]

RM: The inputs to perceptual functions are the sensory effects of environmental variables. My perceptual functions turn these sensory effects into perceptual variables such as intensities, sensations, configurations… principles and system concepts.

FN:Â I get the preceding statement.Â My question ties to it and the next one.

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is an aspect of the physical environment that is a perception in the observer of the control system.

FN:Â What are the differences between an environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in the environment and an aspect of the physical environment?

Fred Nickols

[John Kirkland 20170214 0840 NZT]

I’ve a few little speed-bump niggles at this point:

What, exactly, is a fact (I keep reading about the “fact” of X).Â It may seem trivial, but I’m stumped as to understanding a PCT interpretation of facts; how these may evolve, become sustained, get revised and replaced or superseded.

Secondly, is it possible for a person to observe their own control system operating? If so, then I’m unsure whom an “observer” is when mentioned in CSGNET commentaries.Â Aside: I’m pretty aware of making mistakes and working out what to do so as to reduce these errors. Others (like teachers and parents and uncles and so on during my younger years) were typically keen to mind my own business and offer what they possibly interpreted as corrective recommendations.Â Under my breath I didn’t hesitate to tell them to F-off and let me do it my way.Â

Which leads me to mentioning “reference levels”.Â When another person, or written instruction, or code of ethics, directs me to do something, when a standard or rule is held up for emulating (like accepting a circuit diagram, repairing an engine, doing unto others, obeying the law etc.), then how can I embrace these as goals/targets/aims without it becoming a massive disturbance rocking my cognitive balance? There’s a world of “do this, do it now” which appears to be part of the social environment I’m interacting with all the time. Â “Solve this equation”, “Write this assignment”, “Make these changes to the manuscript”, “Pay this account by due date”, “Apologise”, “Admit your mistakes”, “Don’t be so bloody-minded”, “Obey these rules”, and so on, all of which carry an implicit threat: “Or else”.Â Hiding behind the notion of choice is not an adequate reply, that’s a weasel-like cop-out.

Finally, I am at a loss to understand why there is so much resistance to PCT evolving; citations are continually being made to certain extant literature as if this was written on tablets. My own view is all living systems change. I think of text as dynamic and being continually re-written too. I am always delighted to read about others’ PCT interpretations. I certainly don’t take kindly to being told, “It’s this way or the highway” as unassailable fiat, just as certain presidents tend to proclaim. Which brings me back to understanding facts again, as if these are immutable.

Why am I even bothering with seeking assistance to help me address these niggles? They are mildly irritating. And, of course, when these are eased then what tends to happen? More niggles, destabilisation and unease. Hey, it’s my flag of life.Â

Staggering onward.

JohnK.Â

···

On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 7:10 AM, Fred Nickols fred@nickols.us wrote:

[From Fred Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET)]

Â

I am not trying to mix in this conversation but I do have a question about something Rick wrote.

Â

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 12:05 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: What does a control system control?

Â

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.0900)]

Â

RM: The inputs to perceptual functions are the sensory effects of environmental variables. My perceptual functions turn these sensory effects into perceptual variables such as intensities, sensations, configurations… principles and system concepts.

Â

FN:Â I get the preceding statement.Â My question ties to it and the next one.

Â

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is an aspect of the physical environment that is a perception in the observer of the control system.Â

Â

FN:Â What are the differences between an environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in the environment and an aspect of the physical environment?

Â

Fred Nickols

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.1715)]

···

Fred Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is an aspect of the physical environment that is a perception in the observer of the control system.Â

Â

FN:Â What are the differences between an environmental variable, an âentityâ? in the environment and an aspect of the physical environment?

RM: Excellent question. Bill used the term in the quote I gave from B:CP about the taste of lemonade.Â Here’s the relevant section again:

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.â?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"The taste of fresh lemonade, for example, contains an easily recognized vector derived from intensity signals generated by sugar and acid (together with some oil smells). However unitary and real this vector seems,Â there is no physical entity corresponding to it. (WTP)

RM: In this example, the environmental variables are the amounts of sugar (s), acid (a) and oils (o) in the liquid. The controlled variable is the perceptual variable (“vector”) that is the taste: Â p = b.1s+b.2a+b.3o. This perceptual variable varies along with the amounts of sugar, acid and oil (s,a and o) in the liquid. A particular combination of amounts (values) of s,a and o results in a perception (a value of p) that is the right (reference state) of the taste of lemonade for the controller. Too much or too little of s, a or o results in a taste that is “not right” – not the taste of lemonade but something too sweet, sour or flat (not lemony).Â But all that is out there in the environment is the combination of amounts of sugar, acid and oil in the liquid. There is no “entity” that corresponds to p (the taste of lemonade) out there in the environment; there is no “taste of lemonade” out there. The taste of lemonade is constructed from the environmental variables, s, a and o, by the perceptual function b.1s+b.2a+b.3o.Â

RM: An observer can determine the perception, p, that a person is controlling by varying s, a and o (disturbances to p). When the observer is perceiving b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o. (with the appropriate values of b.n) he or she is perceiving Qi, the perception controlled by the controller, from the observer’s perspective. That is, the observer is perceiving the same variations in the taste of lemonade that the controller is perceiving. And since the controller is always countering the variations in s, a and o in order to bring the taste to the reference level that the controller considers the “right” taste of lemonade, the observer can perceive the reference state of Qi.Â

RM: This is just an overly complicated way of saying that you (the observer) can change the mixture of sugar, acid and oils in the mixture and watch what your friend, the lemonade maven ( the controller) does to restore the liquid to the reference state. When you taste the restored liquid you are perceiving the reference state of the controlled quantity, Qi, which is the taste of lemonade that is just right for your friend.Â

RM: Hope this helps.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Bruce, Martin …. Down in text

···

From: Martin Taylor [mailto:mmt-csg@mmtaylor.net]
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2017 11:21 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: What does a control system control?

[Martin Taylor 2017.02.10.17.19]

Bruce, Thanks for your description of the situation. I think the critical sentence is the last. It is a succinct way of saying what I have been trying to get across.

Martin

[From Bruce Abbott (2017.02.10.1515 EST)]

The simple answer is that control systems control perceptions. But then there is the question as to whether those perceptions correspond to anything “out there” in the environment, an entity that Bill Powers labeled Qi, for “input quantity.”

If we were talking about a mechanical device such as a car’s cruise control, the clear answer is “yes.” Cruise control has a sensor whose electrical output is proportional to the speed of the car; That is, the sensor is a transducer, “converting” the car’s speed (in, say, kilometers per hour) to a voltage whose level is proportional to that speed. That voltage represents the car’s perceived speed as represented within the speed control system. Perceived speed is p; actual speed is Qi.
The system acts based on the difference between this perceptual signal and the reference signal, and acts in such a way as to reduce this difference. It knows nothing of the car’s actual speed (in kph), only perceived speed (in volts). However, to affect that voltage (p), the system must act on physical variables outside the system so as to change the car’s actual speed (Qi). If the system is working properly, changing the car’s speed will produce a change in voltage at the speed sensor’s output, thus moving the system’s perception toward its reference level. Because of the proportional relationship between Qi and p, controlling p will also control Qi.
A defect in the speed sensor could create a situation in which, say, an actual speed of 100 kph produces a voltage indicating that the car is going 90 kph. If the reference is set at a voltage equivalent to 100 kph, then the control system will increase the car’s speed until the perceived speed (in volts) matches the reference speed. However, the car will now be going faster than 100 kph. The car’s actual speed Qi is still being controlled, but at what is equivalent to a higher reference speed.
If the sensor becomes erratic, then the relationship between actual speed (in kph) and perceived speed (in volts) breaks down. However, the speed control system will still do its best to keep the perceived speed close to reference, although now the actual speed may be varying considerably and therefore under very poor control.
In the example just presented, the speed perception corresponds to a single variable in the environment of the control system – the car’s actual speed. What about more complex cases in which the perceptual signal depends on some combination of environmental variables? The taste of lemonade has been given as an example, and it has been said there is nothing in the environment that could be called the taste of lemonade. As has been pointed out, however, surely there must be some combination of variables in the environment that yields what most would agree is the taste of lemonade. Otherwise there would be no reason to expect agreement across individuals as to what lemonade tastes like. So there is some combination of sensations, arising through the sensory receptors involved, that will produce what most folks would agree is the taste of lemonade. Given that the perception (p) depends on inputs from a variety of sensory receptors (multiple Qis), stimulating those receptors in some particular pattern (or range of patterns) of intensities, one could say that a substance giving rise to the perception of a lemonade taste exists in the environment, even if the perception of that taste exists only in the mind of the individual. There might even be several combinations that would produce this experience.
This is not to say that everyone would experience the same taste of lemonade, because we may differ in the sensitivities of our various sensory receptors. Nevertheless the lemonade (something most agree produces the perception of lemonade when tasted) is out there in the environment. By noting what combinations of physical variables give rise to judgments of lemonade taste, we can identify what those combinations are. The perception (of lemonade taste) defines what the inputs must be and how they are to be combined, but this does not mean that what we call lemonade exists only in our perceptions.
I have ignored the fact that none of us have direct knowledge of reality. The reality we perceive does not correspond in all ways to what science and common sense tell us is really out there; we have evolved a set of receptors and perceptual functions that enable us to get by in whatever this reality really is like, leaving many possible perceptual realities by the wayside. What evidence we have strongly suggests that a reality exists beyond our perceptions, so I am disinclined to agree with the mantra that “it’s all perception!”. In my view, control of perception only works because by controlling perception, we also (usually) bring about states of reality that are in the main conducive to our own survival and well-being.

HB : Nice piece Bruce and i think that you and Martin and me and Bill are on the line. What you wrote is by my oppinion in accordance with PCT not RCT.

I completely agree with you that »our own survival and well-being« is the most important thing. And this is what PCT is promoting, if we understand it in accordance with definitions in B:CP. What definition tells us is by my oppinion what you wrote. This is what I’ve been presenting Rick all the time…. But he simply doesn’t listen. And I’m really sorry for Warren.

Bill P (B:CP) :

HB : It’s obviously that we have to achieve and maintain our »predefined state« in the controlling system otherwise we can’t survive or feel good. But Rick simply doesn’t want to understand that. He thinks all the time that it is essential to always keep some »external variables« under control and so in his theory RCT :

1. ``````  Behavior is control
``````
1. ``````  There is always some »controlled variable« in outer environment
``````
1. ``````  There is »Controlled perceptual variable«
``````
1. ``````  There is some »protection from disturbances«
``````
1. ``````  Everything is happening at the same time
``````
1. ``````  There is some extrasensory perceptions
``````

How this is possible ? What kind of theory is this ??? It’s just opposite what diagram (LCS III) is presenting.

I hope that at least we agree this is out of science in the realm of parapsychology and occultims. Can we allow Rick dragging PCT into ficition ?

I think Bruce and Martin that we are on the line, but how can anybody be on the line with Rick with his fiction RCT ???

Maybe we should ignore Rick and get the job to be done. I think that diagram on 191 (BCP, 2005) should be finnished so that it could be workable and it could prevent manipulations as Rick’s.

I think that diagram on p. 191 (B:CP, 2005) shows how PCT organism should work. That’s how I think »predfined state« in organism is achieved and maintained. That’s what control in the controlling system is about. And that’s what is producing behavior.

As me and Bill worked on it and came into conflict (not in expert oppinion conflict, but human relation conflict). I think that I can help completing the diagram in cooperation with all members that could provide scientific evidences what means that statements should be supported with evidences.

I think it has to be done proffesionaly as projects which are done usually in science. So whoever would be included should be equal member to all other members and judged only by his scientific contribution. That’s where Bill didn’t agree with me. He thought that it’s his theory and that I should be subordinated. But point of usual people relationship is exchange of knowledge. I know that he showed me the way and that his knowledge was enormous, but still I had my ideas and my own knowledge. I just wanted that he should value my contribution. Afterall he put »arrow« into diagram and only I know what is ment with it. But the equallity in relationship seems to be obstacle to many people.

Till now nobody gave any acceptable proposal in the sense I’m proposing. I can’t cooperate in »subordinate« position to only be giving. Can you or anybody else ? I don’t want to work as some »third order member« or some »servant«. I felt I was put in that position. As I still feel when Powers ladies are promoting and protecting Rick. If somebody (probably Powers ladies) could organize members of project team to cooperate as equaly treated members I could be in. And you can beleive me that we should not need 10 or 20 years to develope a full model.

If CSGnet will go on dealing with Rick and his worthless conversations about »outer aspect of environment being controlled« and his self-regulation books, demos and RCT, than PCT will retard and probably disapear. It will never progress or as Dag pointed out :

DF : »But let’s leave that question open until some sort data comes our way to help us decide«.

HB : Why wait so long on data ? If we’ll wait for data we can wait 50 years untiil »some sort data comes our way. It seems that progress of PCT depends on occassional events that could provide some usefull data. Most of data are already here, hidden in percpetions of people and books upon those perceptions. Not all. But an enormous amount of data. We will also have to explore.

Boris

Bruce

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.14.0845)]

···

[John Kirkland 20170214 0840 NZT]

JK: What, exactly, is a fact (I keep reading about the “fact” of X).Â

RM: I take a fact to be an observation (a perception). Since we can perceive the world in terms of different levels of complexity (intensities, sensations…principles, system concepts), facts can be of different levels of complexity. When I talk about the “fact of control”, for example, I am talking about observations like those that can be made in my “Nature of Control” demo (http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/BasicTrack.html), the results of which are shown in the Figure below. The facts of control are the observed relationships between the disturbance (D), output (M) and controlled variable (C) and the fact that C remains in a reference state (the target position indicated by the horizontal line), protected from the effects of D. By the way, the plot of C is a plot of the state of the controlled quantity (Qi).Â

JK: Secondly, is it possible for a person to observe their own control system operating?

RM: I think you can be aware of the fact that you are controlling, but I don’t think it’s possible to observe the operation of this control process; at least not while it’s happening. But you can get a glimpse of what’s going on by looking at your own control data, like that in the Figure above.

Â

JK: If so, then I’m unsure whom an “observer” is when mentioned in CSGNET commentaries.Â

RM: I’ve used the term “observer” to refer to a person, such as an experimenter, observing the controlling being done by another living system.Â

Â

JK: Which leads me to mentioning “reference levels”.Â When another person, or written instruction, or code of ethics, directs me to do something, when a standard or rule is held up for emulating (like accepting a circuit diagram, repairing an engine, doing unto others, obeying the law etc.), then how can I embrace these as goals/targets/aims without it becoming a massive disturbance rocking my cognitive balance?

RM: In many cases you can’t. This is the problem with arbitrary control of behavior; it produces interpersonal conflict between the controller and controllee and internal conflict in the controllee as well.Â

Â

JK: Finally, I am at a loss to understand why there is so much resistance to PCT evolving; citations are continually being made to certain extant literature as if this was written on tablets.

RM: I am very much in favor of PCT evolving. I just want it to evolve (change) based on scientific test rather than theological argument.Â

JK: Why am I even bothering with seeking assistance to help me address these niggles?

RM: Because you are a control system and those “niggles” are errors in control systems that are controlling some rather high level perceptions

Â

JK: They are mildly irritating. And, of course, when these are eased then what tends to happen? More niggles, destabilisation and unease. Hey, it’s my flag of life.Â

RM: If that happens then you may be reorganizing.Â

Â

JK: Staggering onward.

RM: That’s all we all can do.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Â

JohnK.Â

On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 7:10 AM, Fred Nickols fred@nickols.us wrote:

[From Fred Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET)]

Â

I am not trying to mix in this conversation but I do have a question about something Rick wrote.

Â

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 12:05 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: What does a control system control?

Â

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.0900)]

Â

RM: The inputs to perceptual functions are the sensory effects of environmental variables. My perceptual functions turn these sensory effects into perceptual variables such as intensities, sensations, configurations… principles and system concepts.

Â

FN:Â I get the preceding statement.Â My question ties to it and the next one.

Â

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is an aspect of the physical environment that is a perception in the observer of the control system.Â

Â

FN:Â What are the differences between an environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in the environment and an aspect of the physical environment?

Â

Fred Nickols

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.â€?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Hmm.Â Rick.Â You havenâ€™t responded to my question.Â Am I on your bad person list?

Fred Nickols

···

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 1:10 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: What does a control system control?

[From Fred Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET)]

I am not trying to mix in this conversation but I do have a question about something Rick wrote.

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 12:05 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: What does a control system control?

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.0900)]

RM: The inputs to perceptual functions are the sensory effects of environmental variables. My perceptual functions turn these sensory effects into perceptual variables such as intensities, sensations, configurations… principles and system concepts.

FN: I get the preceding statement. My question ties to it and the next one.

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is an aspect of the physical environment that is a perception in the observer of the control system.

FN: What are the differences between an environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in the environment and an aspect of the physical environment?

Fred Nickols

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.14.1720)]

···

On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 2:01 PM, Fred Nickols fred@nickols.us wrote:

Hmm.Â Rick.Â You havenâ€™t responded to my question.Â Am I on your bad person list?

Not at all. I think I replied but here it is again.Â

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.1715)]

Fred Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is anÂ aspect of the physical environmentÂ that is a perception in the observer of the control system.Â

Â

FN:Â What are the differences between an environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in the environment and anÂ aspect of the physical environment?

RM: Excellent question. Bill used the term in the quote I gave from B:CP about the taste of lemonade.Â Here’s the relevant section again:

"The taste of fresh lemonade, for example, contains an easily recognized vector derived from intensity signals generated by sugar and acid (together with some oil smells). However unitary and real this vector seems,Â there is no physical entity corresponding to it. (WTP)

RM: In this example, the environmental variables are the amounts of sugar (s), acid (a) and oils (o) in the liquid. The controlled variable is the perceptual variable (“vector”) that is the taste: Â p = b.1s+b.2a+b.3o. This perceptual variable varies along with the amounts of sugar, acid and oil (s,a and o) in the liquid. A particular combination of amounts (values) of s,a and o results in a perception (a value of p) that is the right (reference state) of the taste of lemonade for the controller. Too much or too little of s, a or o results in a taste that is “not right” – not the taste of lemonade but something too sweet, sour or flat (not lemony).Â ButÂ all that is out there in the environment is the combination of amounts of sugar, acid and oil in the liquid*. There is no “entity” that corresponds to p (the taste of lemonade) out there in the environment; there is no “taste of lemonade” out there. The taste of lemonade isÂ constructedÂ from the environmental variables, s, a and o, by the perceptual function b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o.Â

RM: An observer can determine the perception, p, that a person is controlling by varying s, a and o (disturbances to p). When the observer is perceiving b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o. (with the appropriate values of b.n) he or she is perceiving Qi, the perception controlled by the controller, from the observer’s perspective. That is, the observer is perceiving the same variations in the taste of lemonade that the controller is perceiving. And since the controller is always countering the variations in s, a and o in order to bring the taste to the reference level that the controller considers the “right” taste of lemonade, the observer can perceive the reference state of Qi.Â

RM: This is just an overly complicated way of saying that you (the observer) can change the mixture of sugar, acid and oils in the mixture and watch what your friend, the lemonade maven ( the controller) does to restore the liquid to the reference state. When you taste the restored liquid you are perceiving the reference state of the controlled quantity, Qi, which is the taste of lemonade that is just right for your friend.Â

RM: Hope this helps.Â

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.â€?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[From Fred Nickols (2017.02.15.0600 ET)]

Thanks, Rick.Â I get the distinctions now.

P.S.Â For some reason your initial reply wound up in the junk mail folder.Â I found it.

Fred

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 8:15 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: What does a control system control?

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.1715)]

Fred Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is an aspect of the physical environment that is a perception in the observer of the control system.

FN: What are the differences between an environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in the environment and an aspect of the physical environment?

RM: Excellent question. Bill used the term in the quote I gave from B:CP about the taste of lemonade. Here’s the relevant section again:

"The taste of fresh lemonade, for example, contains an easily recognized vector derived from intensity signals generated by sugar and acid (together with some oil smells). However unitary and real this vector seems, there is no physical entity corresponding to it. (WTP)

RM: In this example, the environmental variables are the amounts of sugar (s), acid (a) and oils (o) in the liquid. The controlled variable is the perceptual variable (“vector”) that is the taste: p = b.1s+b.2a+b.3o. This perceptual variable varies along with the amounts of sugar, acid and oil (s,a and o) in the liquid. A particular combination of amounts (values) of s,a and o results in a perception (a value of p) that is the right (reference state) of the taste of lemonade for the controller. Too much or too little of s, a or o results in a taste that is “not right” – not the taste of lemonade but something too sweet, sour or flat (not lemony). But all that is out there in the environment is the combination of amounts of sugar, acid and oil in the liquid. There is no “entity” that corresponds to p (the taste of lemonade) out there in the environment; there is no “taste of lemonade” out there. The taste of lemonade is constructed from the environmental variables, s, a and o, by the perceptual function b.1s+b.2a+b.3o.

RM: An observer can determine the perception, p, that a person is controlling by varying s, a and o (disturbances to p). When the observer is perceiving b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o. (with the appropriate values of b.n) he or she is perceiving Qi, the perception controlled by the controller, from the observer’s perspective. That is, the observer is perceiving the same variations in the taste of lemonade that the controller is perceiving. And since the controller is always countering the variations in s, a and o in order to bring the taste to the reference level that the controller considers the “right” taste of lemonade, the observer can perceive the reference state of Qi.

RM: This is just an overly complicated way of saying that you (the observer) can change the mixture of sugar, acid and oils in the mixture and watch what your friend, the lemonade maven ( the controller) does to restore the liquid to the reference state. When you taste the restored liquid you are perceiving the reference state of the controlled quantity, Qi, which is the taste of lemonade that is just right for your friend.

RM: Hope this helps.

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.â€?
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Martin Taylor 2017.02.15.12.01]

``````I find it interesting when I can agree with most of what Rick says
``````

in making an argument, and then come to the diametrically opposite
conclusion at the end. It makes me think that we must have some
unstated assumption – an imagined perception – that enters into
the perceptual functions described in the argument, for which we
have different values. In this particular case, I have a guess about
one such assumption.

``````So far, I agree completely (not with Bill, but with the flow of
``````

Rick’s argument.
This is where I come to the opposite conclusion. Let’s think about
why we may differ. We both seem to be taking the Analyst’s
viewpoint, since from the Controller’s viewpoint “what you see [the
perception] is what you get”, and no external Observer can know what
the perception is. Rick doesn’t explain the logical path between the
argument track on which we agree to the point on which we disagree,
so I have to guess. My own path goes something like this:
Following from: “Too much or too little of s, a or o results in a
taste that is “not right” – not the taste of lemonade but something
too sweet, sour or flat (not lemony).”, my next step would be to say
that since the perception of “lemoniness” has one degree of freedom,
so does its environmental correlate (apart from possible ambiguities
that can occur when different environmental states lead to the same
perception, which is not what we are dealing with here). I believe
Rick disagrees with this. I hope not, because it is rather
fundamental to a lot of engineering analysis.
Next comes my previously unstated assumption: . Bishop Berkeley may
have refuted the idea that a stone was “all perception” by hurting
his toe when he kicked it (the story comes in many forms, probably
none of them true). But the converse is not necessarily true – at
least that is my assumption. I’m guessing that for Rick, no property
of the environment exists “out there” unless it is tangible. It is
from these two different assumptions about what may be and what is
definitely not “out there” that our opposed conclusions derive. So
let’s consider their implications.
My assumption applies strictly within the single control loop,
whereas (if my guess is correct), Rick’s requires that the property
in question be detectable by another control loop using a different
kind of sensor, such as Bishop Berkeley’s apocryphal toe’s touch and
pain sensors.
Apart from the assertion that the taste of lemonade is a conscious
“qualium”, and that the perceptual function generating
“lemonadiness” is a function of environmental variables rather than
of lower-level perceptual variables, and that the perceptual
function is necessarily a weighted sum, I guess I would agree with
what Rick is trying to get across. I agree with his first 10 words,
anyway.
Apart from all the necessary caveats about the TCV,Â agree also with
this. The observer should be perceiving the same
single-degree-of-freedom environmental variable Qi that the original
person is perceiving. Yes. We agree.
Helps what? It certainly is all compatible with my position that the
CEV for the “lemonadiness” perception is out there in the
environment as a property of a liquid with certain ingredients mixed
in certain ways. It’s also all compatible with Rick’s apparently
privileged knowledge that “there’s no out there”. Not
having such a privileged access to the list of what is and what
isn’t in the real environment. I have no right either to agree or to
disagree.
All I can say is that from my standpoint, if a control unit controls
a single degree of freedom variable called a “perception”, and that
perception can be brought near its reference value by the actions of
the control unit acting through the outer environment, then there
exists in the outer environment something that is influenced by
those actions, and that something has exactly one degree of freedom.
Martin

···

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.14.1720)]

``````                      Fred
``````

Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET

``````                          RM: And Qi is not an
``````

“entity” in the environment; it is anÂ * aspect
of the physical environment* Â that is
a perception in the observer of the
control system.Â

Â

``````                              FN:Â
``````

What are the differences between an
environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in
the environment and anÂ * aspect of
the physical environment?*

``````              RM: Excellent question. Bill used the term in the
``````

Here’s the relevant section again:

``````                  "The taste of
``````

fresh lemonade, for example, contains an easily
recognized vector derived from intensity signals
generated by sugar and acid (together with some
oil smells). However unitary and real this vector
seems,Â * there is no physical entity
corresponding to it*. (WTP)

``````                RM: In this example, the environmental variables
``````

are the amounts of sugar (s), acid (a) and oils (o)
in the liquid. The controlled variable is the
perceptual variable (“vector”) that is the taste: Â p
= b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o. This perceptual variable varies
along with the amounts of sugar, acid and oil (s,a
and o) in the liquid. A particular combination of
amounts (values) of s,a and o results in a
perception (a value of p) that is the right
(reference state) of the taste of lemonade for the
controller. Too much or too little of s, a or o
results in a taste that is “not right” – not the
taste of lemonade but something too sweet, sour or
flat (not lemony).

Â But* Â all that is out there in the environment
is the combination of amounts of sugar, acid and
oil in the liquid* . There is no “entity” that
corresponds to p (the taste of lemonade) out there
in the environment; there is no “taste of lemonade”
out there.

• `````` Properties do not
``````

need to be tangible in order to be real*

The taste of lemonade isÂ constructed Â from
the environmental variables, s, a and o, by the
perceptual function b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o.

``````                    RM: An observer can
``````

determine the perception, p, that a person is
controlling by varying s, a and o (disturbances
to p). When the observer is perceiving
b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o. (with the appropriate values
of b.n) he or she is perceiving Qi, the
perception controlled by the controller, from
the observer’s perspective. That is, the
observer is perceiving the same variations in
the taste of lemonade that the controller is
perceiving. And since the controller is always
countering the variations in s, a and o in order
to bring the taste to the reference level that
the controller considers the “right” taste of
lemonade, the observer can perceive the
reference state of Qi.

``````                    RM: This is just an
``````

overly complicated way of saying that you (the
observer) can change the mixture of sugar, acid
and oils in the mixture and watch what your
friend, the lemonade maven ( the controller)
does to restore the liquid to the reference
state. When you taste the restored liquid you
are perceiving the reference state of the
controlled quantity, Qi, which is the taste of

``````                    RM: Hope this
``````

helps.Â

there

Sorry Fred to interrupt…

Well Rick isÂ closer to understnading PCT, but he is still quite some steps away. But I’m talking just for this example about lemonade taste, which is not fitting exactly to what really happens. But as I say Rick is closer. I think he has to read again about Â»v’sÂ« and sensor signal and about lemonade example in B:CP… I proved him once or twice that he is a lousy reader and I’m saying it again. He is reading Bill’s text with his RCT in the background. So it’s wrong again. I think that you should all relax and try not to think on RCT while you are reading Bills’ literature.

But I can see he has less problems with defining Â»controlled variableÂ« because it is in the controlling system (taste). Not outside visually as in Â»tracking experimentÂ«. But there are still some confussions in Ricks’ text. I think you should read it again and Â»repairÂ« in accordance to PCT.

The main assumption is that all the examples should have aproximatelly the same PCT explanation :

1. ``````  Experiment with saying Â»helloÂ« to people on the street
``````
2. ``````  Lemonade taste
``````
3. ``````  Baseball catch
``````
4. ``````  Martins'Â  dialog
``````
5. ``````  Else …
``````

For now Rick has different explanation for these examples. The right explanation for all these examples is by my oppinion the diagram in LCS III whichÂ is by my opinion reference model for explaning all the experimental result that are done to prove PCT. They must be somehow in accordance to what diagram is showing.

Boris

···

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 4:29 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: What does a control system control?

[From Fred Nickols (2017.02.15.0600 ET)]

Thanks, Rick. I get the distinctions now.

P.S. For some reason your initial reply wound up in the junk mail folder. I found it.

Fred

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 8:15 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: What does a control system control?

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.13.1715)]

Fred Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET

RM: And Qi is not an “entity” in the environment; it is an aspect of the physical environment that is a perception in the observer of the control system.

FN: What are the differences between an environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in the environment and an aspect of the physical environment?

RM: Excellent question. Bill used the term in the quote I gave from B:CP about the taste of lemonade. Here’s the relevant section again:

"The taste of fresh lemonade, for example, contains an easily recognized vector derived from intensity signals generated by sugar and acid (together with some oil smells). However unitary and real this vector seems, there is no physical entity corresponding to it. (WTP)

RM: In this example, the environmental variables are the amounts of sugar (s), acid (a) and oils (o) in the liquid. The controlled variable is the perceptual variable (“vector”) that is the taste: p = b.1s+b.2a+b.3o. This perceptual variable varies along with the amounts of sugar, acid and oil (s,a and o) in the liquid. A particular combination of amounts (values) of s,a and o results in a perception (a value of p) that is the right (reference state) of the taste of lemonade for the controller. Too much or too little of s, a or o results in a taste that is “not right” – not the taste of lemonade but something too sweet, sour or flat (not lemony). But all that is out there in the environment is the combination of amounts of sugar, acid and oil in the liquid. There is no “entity” that corresponds to p (the taste of lemonade) out there in the environment; there is no “taste of lemonade” out there. The taste of lemonade is constructed from the environmental variables, s, a and o, by the perceptual function b.1s+b.2a+b.3o.

RM: An observer can determine the perception, p, that a person is controlling by varying s, a and o (disturbances to p). When the observer is perceiving b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o. (with the appropriate values of b.n) he or she is perceiving Qi, the perception controlled by the controller, from the observer’s perspective. That is, the observer is perceiving the same variations in the taste of lemonade that the controller is perceiving. And since the controller is always countering the variations in s, a and o in order to bring the taste to the reference level that the controller considers the “right” taste of lemonade, the observer can perceive the reference state of Qi.

RM: This is just an overly complicated way of saying that you (the observer) can change the mixture of sugar, acid and oils in the mixture and watch what your friend, the lemonade maven ( the controller) does to restore the liquid to the reference state. When you taste the restored liquid you are perceiving the reference state of the controlled quantity, Qi, which is the taste of lemonade that is just right for your friend.

RM: Hope this helps.

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.â€?
–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Martin Taylor 2017.02.16.11.27]

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.14.1720)]

``````I may have a different way of addressing Fred's question, which
``````

might help resolve the peculiar disagreement between Ric and me,
where we agree the argument but not the conclusion.

``````Let's distinguish between an object and a property of that object.
``````

An “object” is what we perceive to exist in the outer world, be it a
chair, a mountain, a glass of lemonade, or a car. We see the world
as being full of objects, each of which may have parts that are also
objects. A car has doors, wheels, and a motor, all of which
themselves have parts that are objects. I would call these objects
“entities”. The glass of lemonade is an “entity”, the glass itself
is an entity, the liquid in the glass is an entity.

``````If that is what Bill means by "entity" then I am in complete
``````

agreement with him (despite the contradiction with what I said
yesterday, when I did not think of “entity” meaning “object”). In
this sense, “entities” have properties, an huge and unbounded number
of properties. Some possible properties that an entity might have
include mass, location, velocity, volume, electrical conductivity,
height, colour, shape, taste, distance from another entity,
electrical charge, age, and so on and so on. Some of these
properties may be directly perceived by a human, others are
perceived only through the mediation of instruments or as
relationships between entities. “Mass”, for example, is something
one can perceive when one tries to accelerate the objects, whereas
“weight” is a relationship between the object and the Earth. Weight
is perceived as a downward force, whereas Mass has no direction
components as we perceive it.

``````In HPCT, perceptions have one degree of freedom. Objects (entities)
``````

have many properties, so the perception of “specific object” must be
a high-level function of the perception of these many properties.
Those properties include specific values of relationships and
configurations of properties, so the word “property” itself is
ambiguous. In the same way that “objects” are built from “objects”,
so also “properties” can be built from “properties”. They are all
perceptions. We can agree (perhaps) that the taste of lemonade is
not an entity in the environment, but can we agree that it is a
property of an entity in the environment?

``````Yes, "amounts" are properties of the entities "sugar", "acid" and
``````

“oils”, to which we probably should add “water”. “Taste” is a
property of a liquid “entity” composed of those four “entities”. The
“taste” property is a function of the “amount” properties of the
four entities. The entities cannot be in the environment without
their properties, so although “there is no physical entity
corresponding to” the taste property, nevertheless, the physical
entity cannot exist in the environment without the taste property.

``````Whether the taste property is being perceived at any particular
``````

moment by any particular person is another question. The
philosophical problem is the same as “If a tree falls in the forest
with nobody there to hear it, does it make a noise?” The question
may be interesting to philosophers, but I think it is not a question
of interest to Perceptual Control Theory, which is about what we do
or can perceive.

``````I don't expect this will end the controversy, but I hope it puts a
``````

different light on it.

``````Martin
``````
···

On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 2:01 PM, Fred
Nickols fred@nickols.us
wrote:

``````                  Hmm.Â
``````

Rick.Â You havenâ€™t responded to my question.Â Am I

Not at all. I think I replied but here it is again.Â

``````          [From Rick Marken
``````

(2017.02.13.1715)]

``````                      Fred
``````

Nickols (2017.02.13.1307 ET

``````                          RM: And Qi is not an
``````

“entity” in the environment; it is anÂ * aspect
of the physical environment* Â that is
a perception in the observer of the
control system.Â

Â

``````                              FN:Â
``````

What are the differences between an
environmental variable, an â€œentityâ€? in
the environment and anÂ * aspect of
the physical environment?*

``````              RM: Excellent question. Bill used the term in the
``````

Here’s the relevant section again:

``````                  "The taste of
``````

fresh lemonade, for example, contains an easily
recognized vector derived from intensity signals
generated by sugar and acid (together with some
oil smells). However unitary and real this vector
seems,Â * there is no physical entity
corresponding to it*. (WTP)

``````                RM: In this example, the environmental variables
``````

are the amounts of sugar (s), acid (a) and oils (o)
in the liquid. The controlled variable is the
perceptual variable (“vector”) that is the taste: Â p
= b.1s+b.2a+b.3*o.

[From Rick Marken (2017.02.16.1600)]

Martin Taylor 2017.02.15.12.01]

RM: ButÂ all that is out there in the environment is the combination of amounts of sugar, acid and oil in the liquid. There is no "entity" that corresponds to p (the taste of lemonade) out there in the environment; there is no "taste of lemonade" out there.

MT: This is where I come to the opposite conclusion.

MT: Following from: "Too much or too little of s, a or o results in a taste that is "not right" -- not the taste of lemonade but something too sweet, sour or flat (not lemony).", my next step would be to say that since the perception of "lemoniness" has one degree of freedom, so does its environmental correlate (apart from possible ambiguities that can occur when different environmental states lead to the same perception, which is not what we are dealing with here). I believe Rick disagrees with this. I hope not, because it is rather fundamental to a lot of engineering analysis.

RM: I actually can't say I agree or disagree because I don't understand it. Maybe you could explain it to me in terms of a tangible example, such as that in my "What is size" demo (<Control of Size). When you are controlling the area of the rectangle you are, according to the model, controlling a perceptual variable, p, that is a function of the width (w) and height (h) of the rectangle: p=w*h. I can see that p has one degree of freedom -- it varies in only one dimension. But what is the environmental correlate of p that has only one dimension? It would be best if you could show me using a model of control of area. I would like to see where that one degree of freedom environmental variable come in.>

MT:...Â I'm guessing that for Rick, no property of the environment exists "out there" unless it is tangible.

RM: No, I take the properties of the environment to be those described in the models of physics and chemistry. The properties of this environment are theoretical, not tangible. The environment according to PCT is made up of Â (among other things) atoms that vary in mass and valence, not (among other things) people that vary in color and size.
Â

MT: My assumption applies strictly within the single control loop, whereas (if my guess is correct), Rick's requires that the property in question be detectable by another control loop using a different kind of sensor, such as Bishop Berkeley's apocryphal toe's touch and pain sensors.

MT: Your guess is wrong on both counts: my view of the environmental correlate of the controlled perception -- the controlled quantity, Qi, -- does not require that it be detectable by another control loop and it was Dr. Johnson who is reputed to have claimed that he was disproving Bishop Berkeley's philosophy by kicking a rock, saying "I refute it thus".
Â

RM: An observer can determine the perception, p, that a person is controlling by varying s, a and o (disturbances to p). When the observer is perceiving b.1*s+b.2*a+b.3*o. (with the appropriate values of b.n) he or she is perceiving Qi, the perception controlled by the controller, from the observer's perspective...

MT: Apart from all the necessary caveats about the TCV,Â agree also with this.

RM: What are the necessary caveats about the TCV? It's hard for me to believe that someone who has never done research using the TCV would know what these necessary caveats are. I would really like to know what these caveats are and how you came up with them.Â

MT: The observer should be perceiving the same single-degree-of-freedom environmental variable Qi that the original person is perceiving.

Â RM: Qi is a variable that is a function of variables: Qi = f(v.1, v2,...vn). So Qi (like p) is a scalar (1 df) variable. But it is a function of many environmental variables. So Qi is not the observer's perception of a single degree of freedom environmental variable; it is a single degree of freedom perception that is a function of many environmental variables.Â

RM: Hope this helps.Â

MT: Helps what?

RM: I was talking to Fred. I was hoping that it helped him understand that Qi is not a variable in the environment but a perceptual function of variables in the environment, the same perceptual function of those environmental variables as the one that produces the perceptual variable, p, controlled by the controller.

MT: All I can say is that from my standpoint, if a control unit controls a single degree of freedom variable called a "perception", and that perception can be brought near its reference value by the actions of the control unit acting through the outer environment, then there exists in the outer environment something that is influenced by those actions, and that something has exactly one degree of freedom.

RM: Great. Show me how that's true using the example of the size control situation and then I'll understand. And while you're at it don't forget to tell me what those TCV caveats are and how you discovered them. As a researcher I think it's essential that I know what they are.

Best
Rick

···

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ
"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.â€?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â --Antoine de Saint-Exupery