What's a CEV, filibastards, acceptable regulations

[From Rick Marken (940827.2200)]

Re: CEVs.

Martin Taylor (940825 18:30) --

If I understand you correctly, this is quite a different concept from the
one I intended when I introduced the label "Complex Environmental
Variable." ... In my view, the CEV is DEFINED by the Perceptual Input
Function, and has no other existence.

Thanks for a pretty good re-statement of the PCT view of perception, as
described on p. 75-76 and 113-114 of "Behavior: The control of

The VALUE of a CEV is estimated by the perceptual signal output
from the defining PIF

This is either poor word selection or you are betraying some remants of
your old information processing approach to perception;-). The perceptual
signal is not really an "estimate" of anything; I would say that it is
an "analog" of variation in an aspect of the world defined by the
perceptual input function.

Tom Bourbon (940826.0807) --


it's not like these guys [Dole and Gramm] have taken over the country
by force.


Taken over the country? The minority party?

That's my point. They are apparently articulating the goals of a large
segment of the population. I just think that the achievement of some of
those goals has produced tragic consequences for many people. I like
democracy (OK. representative democracy for the sake of Paul George
and Bill Leach) and I'm glad people can vote for what they want, even
when what they want is "wrong" from my perspective. I believe that
Hitler was democratically elected, was he not? Democracy leads to some
funny choices, but I'm glad that people get to make those choices.


In case you can't tell, I don't like any political party, or personage, very

PCT, anyone?

While PCT can't tell people what to want, I think it can show what the
likely consequences of certain kinds of interactions might be. I don't
think that PCT will help make the world a better place (and I,
personally, do want to make the world a better place for all people) all
on its own. I think it's fair to discuss the political implications of
PCT because politics is the way people achieve common goals through
cooperation, compromise and, sometimes, just plain force. I don't
dislike politicians per se; I like some a lot more than others; the one's I
like are generally those who share my idea that it is possible to "spread
the ability to be in control" more effectively through cooperation and
compromise rather than through selfishness and force. I think politics
could (and should) be a noble profession; it's the way we come to
collective agreement about how we want to live. No matter how
skillfully this might eventually be done, a political solution will never
please all the people all the time. So politicians might always be a
relatively disliked lot.

Bill Leach (940827.11:38 EST) --

I would like to suggest that say, Rick, Tom and myself pretty generally
agree with the following philosophical ideas:

1. In general, it is "good" for an individual control system to be able
  to control without conflict due to actions of another individual
   control system.

2. It is probably impossible for mulitple control systems to operate in
  a common environment without conflict occurring.

3. A "society" should be a structure wherein "rules of conduct" and
"limits upon individual behaviour" are based upon what actually is
"best" for all individuals.

I agree with all three points. 100%.

Extending upon these two in attempting to build a "society" then:

1. It would probably be best for "society" if individual control system
   action was not forcibly controlled.

Change "probably" to "certainly" and I agree.

2. From both Logic and history one can conclude that "unrestricted"
   control system operation will result in one or "one group" of
   individual control systems attempting to exert external control upon
   other individual control systems.

Maybe one can conclude this from history, but I can't think of how one
can conclude it from logic.

What follows is unabashed opinion:

And I will reply with opinions, and try to keep them unabashed;-)

Thus, the dispute between Rick (for example) and myself is one of belief
as to where limits upon the actions of a specific individual are in the
best interests of the (general) individual.

But we haven't actually determined what our dispute is. I don't
understand, for example, what you mean by our difference about
limits. I don't like limits myself, but I do think that people have to agree
to limit themselves in their control of certain variables or conflict is
inevitable. For example, in the US most people seem to have agreed to
limit themselves to driving on the right of the median, especially in
traffic. We back up some of our agreements with force but I think that
the extent to which you have to actually use force is a measure of how
poor the agreement is. For example, force is rarely used to enforce
which side of the road people drive on (though there are a few); force is
used a bit more often to enforce speed limit agreements, suggesting that
the agreed on limits might be a tad off. And force is used a LOT to
enforce drug use and distribution limits suggesting that these limits are
way off. I'm willing to accept the use of force to enforce limits that
actually protect people from undesired harm (I count drugs and alcohol as
desired harm, if they are harmful) -- so I'm willing to accept the use of
force to enforce limits on murder (keep that variable at zero, for me)
and theft (also zero). I'll accept much less force when the consequences
of violation of the agreement is not undesired harm to another person; so
I will accept the use of a lot more force to enforce the side of the road
agreement than I will to enforce the drug use agreement; a violation of
the side of the road agreement would kill another person; a violation of
the drug use agreement hurts no one except possibly the drug taker.

I do think that it is "natural" that all people have "some sense of
'right' to ownership" in the product of their labor. I surmise that this
"ownership" is somehow developed through evolution as a basic
instinct for survival.

I think "owning" is a perception that most people seem to learn to control. I
don't think that it is an intrinsic controlled perception becuase there
have been too many "communal" societies; but even in these societies
people probably like to feel some degree of "posession" of certain
things. I think "owning" is a kind of relationship perception that people
learn to control for reasons that are probably different for each person.

The "gun" issue as presented here by Rick (picking specifically on him)
is anything but an objective presentation

You seem to think that I was saying that we should make guns illegal
and take them away from everyone. I am not. I advocate for guns
what I advocate for drugs and prostitution and what is already accepted
for cars, gambling, smoking and drinking: agreed-to regulations. I
don't know what the regulations should be; that's a "political" decision.
But I can certainly tolerate regulations such as zoning, inspections,
differential access based on age, skill, etc. Yes, these regulations are a
hassle but they are better than trying to make these things completely
inacessible (or completely accessible) just because some segment of a
group feels that they should be banned or "free". I actually think I am
taking an intermediate view, trying to find agreed to regulations that
most people can accept -- and that will have unacceptable consequences
to as few people as possible.

So I don't think we necessarily disagree on the gun issue; it looks like
we might not disagree on the drug issue too. Well, maybe we disagree
on what we could live with as reasonable limits on these things; maybe
you can't agree to having AK-47s available only from an armory for
special purposes; maybe asking people to go through at least as much
testing to get a license to use a gun as they do to get a license to drive a
car is just too much for you. Then we do have a conflict . But I want
people who want their AK-47s to have them if they really need them;
but in a way that doesn't make other people fear for their lives; same
with the people who want their cocaine, prostitutes, etc. Can't we agree
to some regulations for these things?