What's in a name? ... a late suggestion

After an introduction on a bit about the word, ‘control’ I make a suggestion or two about fields in which PCT might find some traction.

As one frame of reference, I usually start with etymology and the diachronic and synchronic language uses. I won’t copy into this email the full entries in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), but I encourage ‘contestants’ to look up the words there: control (n), control (v) and counter-ˌroll, (n).

My favorite image which I believe fits the operation of PCT’s control comes from the early part of the entry for the noun:

Etymology: < obsolete French contrerolle ‘the copie of a roll (of accounts, etc.), a paralell of the same qualitie and content with th’ originall’ (Cotgrave), corresponding to medieval Latin contrarotulus

Which leads me to images of any number of instances where someone is comparing the inventory list or order list with the actual goods in front of him, the comparator function externalized.

Now to the field in which PCT might find a home…

I imagine many of you have seen and read Miller, James Grier Living systems New York : McGraw-Hill, c1978.

Any it, as in some of Bill’s early work are references to the early days of psychological exploration and the pioneers in psychophysics …. so what about biophysics? … OR organic ic physics, biophysics, living systems theory, biosystems theory, [check baggage for systems thinking], biophysics with branches of : biomechanics, bioanatomy, biophysicobotany, … ADD THEORETICAL to some of the aforementioned terms: theoretical biophysics: Biophysics* is an interdisciplinary science using methods of, and theories from, physics to study biological systems.[1] Biophysics spans all levels of biological organization, from the molecular scale to whole organisms and ecosystems. Biophysical research shares significant overlap with biochemistry,nanotechnology, bioengineering, agrophysics, and systems biology. It has been suggested as a bridge between biology and physics. …and then within the discipline of biophysics there will also be experimental biophysics, a field for Henry Yin to explore (with appropriate funding provided), and applied biophysics which would invite the PCT practitioners to join in…

	*The term "biophysics" was originally introduced by Karl Pearson in 1892.

Enough for now.

Lloyd


Lloyd Klinedinst, PhD
10 Dover Lane.com, Villa Ridge, MO 63089-2001
Phone 636.451.3232 • cell 314.609.5571 • email: lloydk@klinedinst.com • website: http://www.klinedinst.com

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On Jun 9, 2014, at 12:10 AM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2014.06.08.2210)]

I think one big obstacle to acceptance of PCT in scientific psychology comes from the fact that PCT is not really an alternative to existing theories in psychology. Existing theories are attempts to explain behavior but the behavior they are trying to explain is not the behavior that PCT is trying to explain. Scientific psychologists don’t spend a lot of time defining the behavior they are trying to explain but whatever it is, it is not the behavior that PCT is trying to explain. PCT is trying to explain control; scientific psychologists are not trying to explain control; they are trying to explain something else.

So I was thinking that, in order to avoid confusion, we should come up with something other than “psychology” to describe the field of study to which PCT is applied. I was thinking that it should be something like control-ology but using the Greek or Latin word for “control”. The Latin word for control is imperium, which is not a good word to use for the scientific study of control; who wants to say that they study imperiology. The Greek word is much better. telos. But then we get teleology, which I like a lot but has too much baggage. Cybernetics is also a nice word to describe the study of control but, again, that word has some bad baggage as well.

So I would like to see if someone can come up with a name for the field of study that is the purview of PCT: the study of control, particularly that done by living systems. Indeed, why don’t we make this a contest; the winner gets not only eternal fame for naming a new field of study but, even better, a complimentary signed copy of my latest book when it comes out!

Good luck! The decision of the judge is final;-)

Best

Rick


Richard S. Marken PhD
www.mindreadings.com

[From Rick Marken (2014.07.06.1020)]

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On Sat, Jul 5, 2014 at 8:13 AM, lloydk@klinedinst.com lloydk@klinedinst.com wrote:

Â

LK: As one frame of reference, I usually start with etymology and the diachronic and synchronic language uses. I won’t copy into this email the full entries in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), but I encourage ‘contestants’ to look up the words there: control (n), control (v) and counter-ˌroll, (n).

RM: I have read the OED entry on control (long ago when I was searching for a possible title for an article) and was thrilled to find (as you report) that the origins of the word “control” are in accountancy, since my wife is an accountant. This meant that we were, for all intents and purposes, in the same profession; I studied control and she was a controller (the head accountant in many business departments is still called a Comptroller – in California, the state accountant is called the Controller, no “p”).Â

RM: The contrerolle, from which the word “control” derives, was, as you note, like a “reference specification” – the ground truth – for the transactions that should be shown in the accounts. It was an auditing tool (and, indeed, my wife’s specialty in accounting was auditing) and was used to reconcile reported (perceived) transactions with specified (reference) transactions as described in the contrerolle. Â Auditing or “reconciling the books” like this is, thus, clearly a process of control as we understand it in PCT.Â

RM:It’s interesting that the basis of this reconciliation (control) process, the contrerolle, gives it’s name to the process. What this means to me is that the original connotation of “control” was that it was a process of reconciliation: bringing “what is” (the reported transactions) into a match with “what should be” (the transactions as specified in the contrerolle). Thus, the original connotation of “control” was of an activity that was good; keeping things the way they were supposed to be. Â Apparently, “control” did not originally have the distasteful connotation that it now sometimes has of referring to the control of behavior (as in repressive dictatorships and behaviorist labs). The original connotation of “control” was more like the way we use it when we say that an athlete has “good control”. “Controlling”, the kind done by auditors and athletes, was a good thing. That’s the “control” that we are talking about in perceptual control theory (and in control theory in general) and I see no reason to abandon that lovely word just because some tyrants and behaviorists realized that they were able to control behavior.

LK: My favorite image which I believe fits the operation of PCT’s control comes from the early part of the entry for the noun:

**Etymology:** < obsolete French contrerolle ‘the copie of a roll (of accounts, etc.), a paralell of the same qualitie and content with th’ originall’ (Cotgrave), corresponding to medieval Latin contrarotulus

Which leads me to images of any number of instances where someone is comparing the inventory list or order list with the actual goods in front of him, Â the comparator function externalized.

Now to the field in which PCT might find a home…

I imagine many of you have seen and read Miller, James Grier Living systems New York : McGraw-Hill, c1978.

Any it, as in some of Bill’s early work are references to the early days of psychological exploration and the pioneers in psychophysics …. so what about biophysics? … OR organganic physics, biophysics, living systems theory, biosystems theory,Â

RM: I like those terms inasmuch as they point to the scientific orientation of PCT. But, again, the reason I suggested that we come up with a new name for the field of study to which PCT is applied was to emphasize the fact that PCT is a theory of control (purposeful behavior). PCT is the study of behavior – but behavior understood to be a process of control – and it is the study of mind – but mind understood as the system that implements this control process-- and it is the study of life – but life as understood to involve control of the variables essential for survival. Â So one could say that PCT is a theory in behavioral, psychological or biological science. But current behavioral, psychological and biological (neurophysiological) sciences are not explicitly based on an understanding that they are studying aspects of the phenomenon of control. So I like a term like “teleonomy” Â as a description of the field of study to which PCT applies because it makes clear that the phenomenon the PCT explains is telos – purposeful behavior or (more technically) control.

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. Marken PhD
www.mindreadings.com