What's in a name?

[From Rick Marken (950315.1345)]

Bill Powers (950315.0739 MST) to Bruce Abbott - -

I simply can't accept that you believe literally in reinforcement or in
controlling stimuli or in any of that stuff.

Bruce Abbott (950315.1545 EST) --

Well, you're right, I don't, except for the part about "in any of that
stuff," because that covers a lot of territory.

Could you tell us what EAB stuff you do believe literally?

I see no good reason for abandoning perfectly good descriptors of behavioral
phenomena (e.g., "stimulus control") and then having to convey what I'm
talking about in lengthly, awkward sentences.

Words are perceptions that point to other perceptions. When you use a term
like "stimulus control" to describe a phenomenon, you are pointing to a
particular aspect of that phenomenon -- the aspect that is of greatest
interest to the person who coined the term. The term "stimulus control"
points to an aspect of a control phenomenon that is of greatest interest to
the S-R theorist who coined the term -- the fact that different stimuli are
followed by different responses.

I can see why you might want to use existing terms (like "stimulus control")
to refer to phenomena that can be accounted for by PCT. The risk, however, is
that the use of such "theory laden" terms will point your (and your
audience's) attention away from the actual control phenomenon that is
happening right before your eyes.

I think something like this might be happening in the SDTEST research that is
currently going on. A lot of effort has been put into determining how long it
takes to change the reference position of the cursor -- and this may
eventually pay off (I don't see how at the moment) in terms of formulating a
model of the higher level variable controlled by changing that reference. But
it seems to me that there has been little attention paid to the very strong
hints about the higher level variable that is controlled. The possibility has
been mentioned several times that this higher level variable is most likely a
logical relationship ((red and right) or (green and left)) and the subject is
acting as though his goal is to keep that variable "true".

In the SDTEST experiement there is no differential responding (in the
"stimulus control" sense) at the mouse level because there are disturbances
to the cursor; there IS differntial responding at the cursor level but this
could be eliminated by moving the cursor (occasionally) to the appropriate
position as soon as the color of the cursor changes.

So it can (and should) be demonstrated that there is no "stimulus control"
occurring in SDTEST. Of course, the stimulus is not really "controlling"
anything (as we have all agreed) and there will be no differential responding
if this is made unnecessary by environmental disturbances.

What is happening in SDTEST is that a particular perception -- probabaly
something like ((red and right) or (green and left)) -- keeps happening; and
it can be shown that this perception keeps happening because the subject does
what is necessary to keep it happening. However, the fact that ((red and
right) or (green and left)) or a similar logical variable is being controlled
is not likely to be noticed (or even tested) when this experiment is
described as one on "stimulus control".

If you can get your EAB fellows to understand that the phenomenon they call
"stimulus control" is actually "control of the perception of the stimulus"
then you can call that phenomenon anything you like.

Best

Rick

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.20.1310)]

I saw in the paper this morning that the spokesman for the NRA,
an organization dedicated to promoting the most ignornant and
barbaric view of human nature and human interactions imaginable,
is the same as that of the spokesman for the CSG, an organization
dedicated to promoting the most enlightened and civilized view
of human human nature and human interactions yet conceived: both
are named Bill Powers.

The similarities between the NRA and the CSG pretty much stop at
names, however (well, both do have very handsome presidents).
Unlike the CSG, the NRA is apparently having no trouble attracting
people to its annual meeting (I think 50,000 are expected); the CSG
will be lucky if 30 people show up. Also, NRA membership is growing;
CSG membership is shinking (I think we're losing people who are
also members of the NRA;-).

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I would like to make it clear
that I, a strong supporter of the CSG and harsh critic of the
NRA, stongly support the 2nd amendment to the US constitution.
I think the right of every member of a well-regulated militia
(ie. the National Guard) to bear arms should not be infringed.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken/

Rick Marken (2000.05.20.1310

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I would like to
make it clear

that I, a strong supporter of the CSG and harsh critic of the

NRA, stongly support the 2nd amendment to the US constitution.

I think the right of every member of a well-regulated militia

(ie. the National Guard) to bear arms should not be infringed.
Please explain your interpretation of the language. The Second Amendment
states:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of
a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not
be infringed.
What right is conveyed by this language? To whom is this right granted?
For what purpose does this right exist?
Best,

Bill (also a non-NRA supporter of the 2nd amendment)

···

William J. Curry

Capticom, Inc.

capticom@landmarknet.net

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.21.0930)]

Me:

I...stongly support the 2nd amendment to the US constitution.

Bill Curry (2000.05.21) --

Please explain your interpretation of the language.

First, I was, of course, kidding about "supporting" the 2nd
amendment. I am not a supporter (or opponent) of any sentence
or set of sentences (such as the Ten Commandments, Hippocratic
Oath, Pledge of Allegiance, etc). I'm into understanding the
reality that presumably exists on the "other side" of our
perceptions (not the words that are ambiguously used to describe
those perceptions). So I strongly support science (observation
combined with modeling); I also, of course, support my own
_non-verbal_ references for my own perceptions.

The Second Amendment states:

  A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of
  a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
  shall not be infringed.

What right is conveyed by this language? To whom is this right
granted? For what purpose does this right exist?

My interpretation is based on what, based on my understanding
of human nature and current technological realities, would lead
to the kind of society in which I would like to live. So I
would say that the sentence above (the Second Amendment) gives
people who are in governmentally authorized law enforcement
organizations (Militias) the right to bear _certain_ Arms (guns,
for example; not rocket launchers or multiple warhead nuclear
missles). I think it also gives hunters and target shooters the
right to own the kind of Arms appropriate to these sports.

I don't think any of these people's rights (policemen, hunters,
target shooters) are "infringed" by requiring that they be
licensed to use their weapons or by requiring that the weapons
themselves be registered with government authorities. Their
rights would only be infringed if the government summarily
seized registered weapons from licensed individuals without
cause.

As far as the "purpose" of the Second Amendment (of course,
the purpose was in the brains of the authors of that sentence,
not in the sentence) I think the main purpose was to get the
Southern States to sign the Constitution; it worked. I've
heard that the Sourthern States wanted it to ensure Federal
acceptance of the rights of slave owners to have guns so that
they could band together into Militias and protect themselves
from uprisings by slaves whose references were not aligned with
theirs.

I think the current purpose of the Second Amendment is to serve
as a Shibbolith that allows anti-government types to identify
each other.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken/

[From Richard Kennaway (2000.05.22.1456 BST)]

There's a law of Usenet (and other electronic forums) that every
discussion, if sufficiently prolonged, becames a discussion of gun control.
I will strive for some slight PCT relevance.

Rick Marken (2000.05.21.0930):

My interpretation is based on what, based on my understanding
of human nature and current technological realities, would lead
to the kind of society in which I would like to live. So I
would say that the sentence above (the Second Amendment) gives
people who are in governmentally authorized law enforcement
organizations (Militias) the right to bear _certain_ Arms (guns,
for example; not rocket launchers or multiple warhead nuclear
missles). I think it also gives hunters and target shooters the
right to own the kind of Arms appropriate to these sports.

So, you decide what you want the arms laws to be, then attach that meaning
to the words of the 2nd amendment, then claim that this meaning (which, as
a PCT expert, you know is something in your head, not in the words) is the
same as the meaning that was in the writers' heads.

This is, of course, no different to what most contributors to gun control
discussions do, except that those unenlightened about words and meanings
may think that the meaning they see is really in the words themselves.
There is a remarkable correspondence between what a person thinks the 2nd
amendment means, and what they want the arms laws to be. Saying, "this is
what the Constitution really says" is just one of many tools to persuade
people to make the laws they want. When enough of the right people are
persuaded, the laws get passed, and the Supreme Court, if it can be
persuaded to hear the matter, declares it Constitutional. This is the
modern process of Constitutional amendment, much easier than the formal
process of 2/3 majority in every state, or whatever it is. Look at ERA.

So they discuss questions such as: Does "bear" in "bear arms" limit the
right to what one man can carry and use, or does it have a more general
sense of "possess and deploy"? Ask someone arguing the former if they
think hand-grenades are "arms" and watch them conjure up a reason out of
thin air why they aren't. Watch yourself do this, if you do. What is a
"well-regulated militia"? The people willing and able to bear arms, or a
government agency? Books have been written on the matter.

Stalin said of treaties, "paper will put up with whatever you write on it".
Paper will also put up with whatever you think about it, and you don't even
have to change the words or tear it up.

I don't think any of these people's rights (policemen, hunters,
target shooters) are "infringed" by requiring that they be
licensed to use their weapons or by requiring that the weapons
themselves be registered with government authorities. Their
rights would only be infringed if the government summarily
seized registered weapons from licensed individuals without
cause.

As has happened in the UK. The licensing makes the confiscation possible.
That is why many of the anti-gun campaigners want registration: a first
step towards their goal of confiscation. Don't worry, no-one's
Constitutional rights will be infringed if it happens in the U.S. The
Supreme Court itself will say so.

-- Richard Kennaway, jrk@sys.uea.ac.uk, http://www.sys.uea.ac.uk/~jrk/
   School of Information Systems, Univ. of East Anglia, Norwich, U.K.

Applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause,
applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause,
applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause,
applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause,
applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause,
applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause, applause,

nth

At 15:29 Richard wrote about Re: What's in a name? on 22 May 2000,

···

[From Richard Kennaway (2000.05.22.1456 BST)]

There's a law of Usenet (and other electronic forums) that every
discussion, if sufficiently prolonged, becames a discussion of gun control.
I will strive for some slight PCT relevance.

Rick Marken (2000.05.21.0930):
>My interpretation is based on what, based on my understanding
>of human nature and current technological realities, would lead
>to the kind of society in which I would like to live. So I
>would say that the sentence above (the Second Amendment) gives
>people who are in governmentally authorized law enforcement
>organizations (Militias) the right to bear _certain_ Arms (guns,
>for example; not rocket launchers or multiple warhead nuclear
>missles). I think it also gives hunters and target shooters the
>right to own the kind of Arms appropriate to these sports.

So, you decide what you want the arms laws to be, then attach that meaning
to the words of the 2nd amendment, then claim that this meaning (which, as
a PCT expert, you know is something in your head, not in the words) is the
same as the meaning that was in the writers' heads.

This is, of course, no different to what most contributors to gun control
discussions do, except that those unenlightened about words and meanings
may think that the meaning they see is really in the words themselves.
There is a remarkable correspondence between what a person thinks the 2nd
amendment means, and what they want the arms laws to be. Saying, "this is
what the Constitution really says" is just one of many tools to persuade
people to make the laws they want. When enough of the right people are
persuaded, the laws get passed, and the Supreme Court, if it can be
persuaded to hear the matter, declares it Constitutional. This is the
modern process of Constitutional amendment, much easier than the formal
process of 2/3 majority in every state, or whatever it is. Look at ERA.

So they discuss questions such as: Does "bear" in "bear arms" limit the
right to what one man can carry and use, or does it have a more general
sense of "possess and deploy"? Ask someone arguing the former if they
think hand-grenades are "arms" and watch them conjure up a reason out of
thin air why they aren't. Watch yourself do this, if you do. What is a
"well-regulated militia"? The people willing and able to bear arms, or a
government agency? Books have been written on the matter.

Stalin said of treaties, "paper will put up with whatever you write on it".
Paper will also put up with whatever you think about it, and you don't even
have to change the words or tear it up.

>I don't think any of these people's rights (policemen, hunters,
>target shooters) are "infringed" by requiring that they be
>licensed to use their weapons or by requiring that the weapons
>themselves be registered with government authorities. Their
>rights would only be infringed if the government summarily
>seized registered weapons from licensed individuals without
>cause.

As has happened in the UK. The licensing makes the confiscation possible.
That is why many of the anti-gun campaigners want registration: a first
step towards their goal of confiscation. Don't worry, no-one's
Constitutional rights will be infringed if it happens in the U.S. The
Supreme Court itself will say so.

-- Richard Kennaway, jrk@sys.uea.ac.uk, http://www.sys.uea.ac.uk/~jrk/
   School of Information Systems, Univ. of East Anglia, Norwich, U.K.

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.22.0930)]

Richard Kennaway (2000.05.22.1456 BST)--

So, you decide what you want the arms laws to be

No, I let the courts do that. I was just stating how I would
_like_ the 2nd amendment to be interpreted. And, to my knowledge,
the courts have interpreted it my way. I don't think any courts
have found licensing and registration laws to violate the 2nd
amendment.

then claim that this meaning...is the same as the meaning that
was in the writers' heads.

I didn't claim that my meaning was the one in the writers' heads.
I don't know what the writers had in their heads. My guess was
that they mainly wanted to make the southern states happy so they
would agree to forming a federal government.

I know that the words of the amendment are ambiguous. All words
are ambiguous. The problem here is that the existence of these
words has made it possible for people to argue that that there
can be no regulation of gun possession in the US. This has led to
the US having a gun death rate that is 100 times that in civilized
countries, like our neighbor Canada, which have a constitutions
that doesn't include silly sentences like the 2nd amendment.

The licensing makes the confiscation possible.

Right. People who don't pass licensing exams don't get to
practice medicine, drive a car or possess a gun. That's why we
have licensing. It's to protect people from activities which,
if practiced by unqualified people, could harm them.

That is why many of the anti-gun campaigners want registration:
a first step towards their goal of confiscation.

What's wrong with confiscating guns from people who don't know how
to use them? Or who are likely to use them inappropriately (like
when they are losing an argument with their spouse) Or confiscating
registered guns that have been used in crimes?

I know that gun control is virtually impossible in the US; the
worship of guns and extreme wealth (the American symbols of
freedom) is the American religion. So don't worry. If the UK
confiscates your guns you can always come on over here and
cuddle up with the gun of your choice.

What is it about guns that gets some people so excited, though?
(I see, for example, that your anti-gun control sentiments
took Norman Hovda's breath away). Is it some kind of weird
sexual thing? If so, then I'm all for it;-)

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates mailto: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Normrnan Hovda (2000.05.22.1020 MST)]

At 9:30 Richard wrote about Re: What's in a name? on 22 May 2000,

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.22.0930)]

What is it about guns that gets some people so excited, though?
(I see, for example, that your anti-gun control sentiments
took Norman Hovda's breath away). Is it some kind of weird
sexual thing? If so, then I'm all for it;-)

LOL...

1. My apoloies to cluttering up CSG with my applause as I intended that
reply to be private to Richard K. but my outputs didn't comply.

2. My "breath" wasn't taken away by "anti-gun control sentiments" (I
have no problem with anything that may create rising prices. <g>)

3. I believe I was responding to reduced error I seemed to be
experiencing re: RK's following comments:

"When enough of the right people are persuaded, the laws get passed,
and the Supreme Court, if it can be persuaded to hear the matter,
declares it Constitutional. This is the modern process of Constitutional
amendment, much easier than the formal process of 2/3 majority in
every state, or whatever it is. Look at ERA."

and

"Stalin said of treaties, "paper will put up with whatever you write on
it". Paper will also put up with whatever you think about it, and you
don't even have to change the words or tear it up."

and

"Don't worry, no-one's Constitutional rights will be infringed if it happens
in the U.S. The Supreme Court itself will say so."

Breathlessly,
nth

[From Richard Kennaway (2000.05.23.0908 BST)]

There are pro-gun arguments against all of what Rick said, but they don't
belong here, so I won't even hint at what they are.

Instead, I'd like to ask this: can you give an analysis in terms of PCT of
the notion of the government "giving people a right" to do something?

-- Richard Kennaway, jrk@sys.uea.ac.uk, http://www.sys.uea.ac.uk/~jrk/
   School of Information Systems, Univ. of East Anglia, Norwich, U.K.

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.23.1400)]

Norman Hovda (2000.05.22.1020 MST) --

2. My "breath" wasn't taken away by "anti-gun control
sentiments" (I have no problem with anything that may
create rising prices.)

Then you must also have no problem with the Fed's interest
rate hike since it will create rising prices through inflation.
And free access to guns creates rising prices too, like the
price of life and medical insurance. So the gun thing should
work out for you either way.

Richard Kennaway (2000.05.23.0908 BST) --

There are pro-gun arguments against all of what Rick said

I'm really not anti-gun. I just believe that, for the sake of
the group, it would be best to regulate individual possession
of guns through registration and licensing. It seems like just
a minor inconvenience to the individual for the sake of a large
convenience to the group.

I favor registration and licensing for the same reason that
I now favor required seat belts; because this minor inconvenience
to the individual produces great advantage to the group. With
registration and licensing the US gun murder rate will go down
to a level that is comparable to that in other Western industrial
societies, there will be less frequent mass murder rampages, etc.

But I recognize that free access to guns (sans the inconvenience
of registration and licensing) is very important to some people.
It may be that requiring registration and licensing will make
things worse rather than better (as have the drug laws). So if
the common wisdom is to keep access to guns free and easy,
that's fine with me. In that case, we'll continue to see these
unfortunate group level data. But if everyone is OK (and most
people do seem OK) with a US gun murder rate that's an order
of magnitude greater than that in other western industrial
countries and Columbine type carnage every few months then
I guess I'll have to put up with it too.

Instead, I'd like to ask this: can you give an analysis in
terms of PCT of the notion of the government "giving people
a right" to do something?

I basically agree with Martin Taylor's (2000.05.23 8:58 EST)
analysis of "rights". I'll just add that it seems to me that
the message of people who argue most vehemently for their
"right to do X" [where X = speak, worship, carry a gun, ...]
is "I can do if I want and you have a problem with that then
tough". As Martin suggests, this is a very immature approach
to social interaction. We humans live (and benefit from living)
in groups and our controlling (our behavior) can interfere
with or conflict with the controlling done by others. We have
to be willing to compromise -- to cooperate -- somewhat to
control as best as we can individually _and_ collectively.
So I would say that the focus of social thinking based on
PCT should be aimed at figuring out how to optimize control
at both the collective and individual level simultaneously --
not on what our rights "really" are, where they come from
and how to preserve them.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates mailto: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bill Powers (2000.05.23.1539 MDT)]

Norman Hovda (2000.05.22.1020 MST)--

3. I believe I was responding to reduced error I seemed to be
experiencing re: RK's following comments:

I agree. I'm saving Richard's comments for posting on a wall somewhere.
Brilliant thoughts!

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bill Powers (2000.05.23.1544 MDT)]

Richard Kennaway (2000.05.23.0908 BST)--

... I'd like to ask this: can you give an analysis in terms of PCT of
the notion of the government "giving people a right" to do something?

I think the analysis depends on the entity you mean when you say "the
government." Basically, we have whatever rights other people are willing to
grant us. You can claim any right you please (for example, the right to
shoot people who annoy you), but you don't _have_ that right, or any other,
except through agreements with others.

So to obtain rights, you have to be able to reach agreements with
significant numbers of other people, enough to define some non-trivial area
of interaction within which you can count on having those rights. I would
guess that such agreements have to be reciprocal; that is, it would be
unusual for you to be granted a right within your circle of interaction
that you are not assumed to grant all the others in the same circle.

As always, the glitch in this social arrangement appears when an individual
wants to be part of the interacting group yet does not want to conform to
the agreements under which the group operates. Such an individual demands
rights but does not extend them to others. The others, quite likely, will
want to refuse the demand, and they will then need some mechanism for
refusing it.

That mechanism is one facet of government. "The government" is simply
ourselves, acting to establish and maintain -- to control -- the social
arrangements on which we can agree. While each of us may have a different
concept of the system of social arrangements, our efforts will align to the
extent that the concepts have a positive correlation. I'm studying a
similar kind of aggregate control system right now, called the spinal
reflexes. The spinal reflexes consist of countless control loops, strongly
connected at their outputs but involving a range of time-delays,
sensitivities, thresholds, and reference levels. Together, they make up a
coherent system, in which no individual system dominates or is completely
error-free, but which nevertheless accomplishes "virtual purposes" that
work somewhat like the individual purposes.

Your question is framed in a not-unusual way that treats the government as
if it has existence apart from the existence of the governed. To say that
"the government grants rights" should mean nothing more than that we grant
each other rights as our way of living together. To the extent that it
means something else, such as the government being an independent entity
with goals that may differ from the goals of the governed, there is a flaw
in the system. My view is that the flaws can be corrected without doing
away with our collective ability to establish social arrangements that are
to our mutual benefit.

Allowing for differences in styles, I think I am agreeing with Martin
Taylor's analysis.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Nevin 2000.05.23.1948 EDT]

Bill Powers (2000.05.23.1544 MDT)--

···

At 04:22 PM 05/23/2000 -0600, Bill Powers wrote:

I would
guess that such agreements have to be reciprocal; that is, it would be
unusual for you to be granted a right within your circle of interaction
that you are not assumed to grant all the others in the same circle.

Such assymmetry we usually call privilege, but divine right of kings comes
to mind.

        Bruce Nevin

[From Norman Hovda (2000.05.23.1530)]

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.23.1400)]

Then you must also have no problem with the Fed's interest
rate hike since it will create rising prices through inflation.

No lo contendere (sic). All I can fathom is a rise in interest rates raises
the cost of currency and if one needs money (eco-blood) and can't afford
it, that's a problem. My point was only to suggest that the well intended
_attempt_ to control, i.e. restrict access to whatever kind of contraband
for which there is demand raises price or creates shortage, either of
which increases error and particularly so for those who can't afford the
cost of reducing error.

My reference level is that any interference between consenting buyers
and sellers skews perceptions of price one way or the other.
Understanding skew helps traders buy low and sell high. Those seeking
to reduce error because of a skewed supply will pay whatever it costs to
get to zero by any means possible or available and regardless of words
on paper (read law).

IMO the perception of rising/falling prices, absent inflation, is the result
of increased demand, reduced supply, or some ebb and flow mix of the
two. Then throw gov "inflation" mob in the supply/demand mix (whom by
my definition simply steal poker chips from the house, i.e. US serfs and
taxpayers) and anticipating interventionist side effects really gets
spooky... but mostly manageable, most of the time.

And free access to guns creates rising prices too, like the

Did RK or I write anything about "free access to" or subsidizing guns
that you find disturbing?

price of life and medical insurance. So the gun thing should
work out for you either way.

Stimulus: gun. Response: "rising prices" for insurance? <g>

Cost of term life ins is going down by my perceptions and medical...
well that's another very skewed mkt IMO, i.e., producer doctors create
their own demand and especially so since medicare and medicaid. Have
you data that shows any correlation of rising insurance costs with easy
gun access (however you define "easy")? It's not _hard_ to buy
contraband no matter what the law *if* one can afford it.

I sense you perceive me as pro gun? I'm neither. I don't find either side
particularly persuasive and for the most part opposite sides of the same
coin are non-issues for me. I take it as a given that advocates on either
side of, buy/sell, good/bad, left/right, pro/con of whatever issue are in
conflict / competition and miss the very slow, trendy, and often
excluded evolutionary middle. For example: in the past 13 months the
DOW has spent about 70% of that time between 11400 and 10400 and
from this POV the DOW is going no where but there's been some great
rides up and down. I bet on, but I'm not emotionally attached to, the out-
comes, out-puts and side-effects over relatively short spans of time.

The control process seldom lives up to my personal hopes and dreams
and I am surely not interested in subordinating my life to the
expectations of just any crowd either. Like most fans, I cheer when my
team's cause reduces error and I look to steer clear of opposing gangs
just as I would try to avoid a pot hole or bump in the road that may
increase my error load.

The more things change the more they remain the same. It's all
perception. <g>

Best,
nth

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.24.0900)]

Norman Hovda (2000.05.23.1530)--

My point was only to suggest that the well intended _attempt_
to control, i.e. restrict access to whatever kind of contraband
for which there is demand raises price or creates shortage

That only happens in the black market, not in the market you are
playing (or is there something you haven't told us? ;-))

My reference level is that any interference between consenting
buyers and sellers skews perceptions of price one way or the
other.

Say what?

Understanding skew helps traders buy low and sell high.

But if all traders understood "skew" (whatever that is; you're
obviously safe from me) they would all be buying and selling
the same things at the same time, making the traders themselves
the main determinant of price.

Then throw gov "inflation" mob in the supply/demand mix

Up until the Fed was created, the "inflation" mob was pretty
much one man: J. P. Morgan. It's not the government that's the
problem (the government is just people, like Morgan and his
cronies). Ignorance of the way the economy works is the problem.

Did RK or I write anything about "free access to" or subsidizing
guns that you find disturbing?

You guys seem to object to modest gun access requirements (like
licensing and registration) which would make all those "other
laws" the NRA talks about enforceable. I do find that disturbing,
mainly because I don't understand it.

Stimulus: gun. Response: "rising prices" for insurance?

No. The insurance companies control for taking in enough in
premiums to cover costs and profits. Gun injuries are a
disturbance to this variable inasmuch as they increase
costs which must be covered by increased premiums if the
insurance companies are to cover costs plus profits (god
forbid they should take a cut in profits).

I sense you perceive me as pro gun?

No. I perceive you as someone who doesn't want to see any
restrictions on gun purchases.

I take it as a given that advocates on either side of, buy/sell,
good/bad, left/right, pro/con of whatever issue are in
conflict / competition and miss the very slow, trendy, and often
excluded evolutionary middle.

It looks to me like registration and licensing of guns is right in
the middle of this issue. At one extreme is unrestricted access to
guns; at the other extreme is confiscation of guns. In the middle is
what we do with cars: you can car (a product that is potentially
dangerous to others) but you have to prove that you are capable of
using the product competently (licensing), you have to carry the
proof of competence (with ID) when you are using the product and
the product itself has to be registered; the registration fees pay
for the infrastructure needed to support the product and to help
identify the product when it is used illegally or is involved in
some tragedy (as is likely to happen with products like cars and
guns). Why this approach seems extreme with guns but not with
cars, medical practice, and other goods and services that are
potentially dangerous to other people is beyond my comprehension.

... It's all perception.

Yes. But the behavior of these perceptions is not arbitrary.
Our perceptions behave according to precise rules that have
been discovered by the scientific method (modeling and testing).

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates mailto: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Norman Hovda (2000.05.24.1000 MST)]

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.24.0900)]

Norman Hovda (2000.05.23.1530)--

> My point was only to suggest that the well intended _attempt_
> to control, i.e. restrict access to whatever kind of contraband
> for which there is demand raises price or creates shortage

That only happens in the black market, not in the market you are
playing (or is there something you haven't told us? ;-))

Happens in all mkts, black or white. Gov's subsidize or restrict a variety
of products of both illegal AND legal mkts. E.g. Pres. Carter's *legal*
grain embargo devastated American farmer's export mkt.

> My reference level is that any interference between consenting
> buyers and sellers skews perceptions of price one way or the
> other.

Say what?

A wants to buy from B and B wants to sell to A. C adds criteria re: the
transaction which if neither A or B wish to risk penalty they must factor
into their transaction price. I'm not commenting on the value of such,
only that it is the way it is - as I see it. Depending on C's interventionist
criteria, price tends, or is skewed, toward a particular bias one way or
the other; sometimes slight, sometimes gross, mostly very murky. It is
not easy to read the skew.

> Understanding skew helps traders buy low and sell high.

But if all traders understood "skew" (whatever that is; you're
obviously safe from me) they would all be buying and selling
the same things at the same time, making the traders themselves
the main determinant of price.

Understanding (whatever system concepts re: perceptions of price) is
never the same for everyone at the same time. Were all blind prisoners
in a perspective delema; feeling the proverbial elephant. The markets are
effective control systems IMO. They are the most efficient mechanism
evolving out of human experience for the distribution of scarce resources
but not they are not perfectly efficient all the time.

Taken in the aggregate, the bulls and bears may share similar reference
levels for price trending lower or higher but that's about as close to being
identical (chasing the same things at the same time) as it gets IMO.
One group of bears may be looking for 10% over x minutes, another over
x hours, or x days, or x weeks, or x months and still other looking for
50% not to mention _%_ of what? Knowing whom is dominating the
control of price ("the main determinant of price") at any point in time is
essential to profitable trading over time.

> Then throw gov "inflation" mob in the supply/demand mix

Up until the Fed was created, the "inflation" mob was pretty
much one man: J. P. Morgan. It's not the government that's the
problem (the government is just people, like Morgan and his
cronies). Ignorance of the way the economy works is the problem.

Yah and separation of economy and state would help IMO.

> Did RK or I write anything about "free access to" or subsidizing
> guns that you find disturbing?

You guys seem to object to modest gun access requirements (like
licensing and registration) which would make all those "other
laws" the NRA talks about enforceable. I do find that disturbing,
mainly because I don't understand it.

It's not that I object so much as I see such efforts as an unfortunate
waste of time and resources attempting to control others. The drug war
hysteria is a perfect example of how the alleged cure (controlling
access to drugs) is worse than the disease - not to mention the
substantial failure to achieve its *stated* goal.

> Stimulus: gun. Response: "rising prices" for insurance?

No. The insurance companies control for taking in enough in
premiums to cover costs and profits. Gun injuries are a
disturbance to this variable inasmuch as they increase
costs which must be covered by increased premiums if the
insurance companies are to cover costs plus profits (god
forbid they should take a cut in profits).

I was kidding... I understand how they operate. What I challenge is your
claim that gun injury is a significant factor for increasing medical ins
costs.

> I sense you perceive me as pro gun?

No. I perceive you as someone who doesn't want to see any
restrictions on gun purchases.

I could care less. As I wrote above, "restrictions" are a waste of
resources IMO.

> I take it as a given that advocates on either side of, buy/sell,
> good/bad, left/right, pro/con of whatever issue are in
> conflict / competition and miss the very slow, trendy, and often
> excluded evolutionary middle.

It looks to me like registration and licensing of guns is right in
the middle of this issue. At one extreme is unrestricted access to
guns; at the other extreme is confiscation of guns. In the middle is
what we do with cars: you can car (a product that is potentially
dangerous to others) but you have to prove that you are capable of
using the product competently (licensing), you have to carry the
proof of competence (with ID) when you are using the product and
the product itself has to be registered; the registration fees pay
for the infrastructure needed to support the product and to help
identify the product when it is used illegally or is involved in
some tragedy (as is likely to happen with products like cars and
guns). Why this approach seems extreme with guns but not with
cars, medical practice, and other goods and services that are
potentially dangerous to other people is beyond my comprehension.

No major disagreement from me re: logical consistency across the
board, except that I do question the cost / benefits of above traditions
are prolly not as beneficial as people (control for) believe. To me such
practice is more flimflam than substance; faith healing taking credit for
benefits that occur naturally.

>... It's all perception.

Yes. But the behavior of these perceptions is not arbitrary.
Our perceptions behave according to precise rules that have
been discovered by the scientific method (modeling and testing).

Yes. But just as Phil and Bill just ran around the hierarchy, (wasn't that
sight to behold?), "Level 11: My Kind of Music" may not be to your
liking.

Best,
nth

[From Rick Marken (2000.05.24.1910)]

Norman Hovda -

My point was only to suggest that the well intended _attempt_
to control, i.e. restrict access to whatever kind of contraband
for which there is demand raises price or creates shortage

Me:

That only happens in the black market

Norman Hovda (2000.05.24.1000 MST) --

Happens in all mkts, black or white.

You may be right, in some cases anyway. I think prescription
drugs do become cheaper when they can be sold over the counter.
But that's because consumers can select over the counter drugs
based on price; the doctor is not supposed to select based on
price. But I don't think restricted access makes much difference
with items, like cars and guns, that already are sold over the
counter. I don't think the _sticker_ price of cars would change
much if you could buy them without the need for registration or
license.

Depending on C's interventionist criteria, price tends, or is
skewed, toward a particular bias one way or the other; sometimes
slight, sometimes gross, mostly very murky. It is not easy to
read the skew.

It seems to me that this skew is most often a constant. The FAA
requires air carriers to do costly maintenance inspections. This
imposed criterion skews the price of airline tickets. But this
skew is pretty much a constant so I can't see how it could
inconvenience market players at all.

[Markets] are the most efficient mechanism evolving out of
human experience for the distribution of scarce resources

Sounds good. Just one problem: The resources are _not scarce_.
In fact, in 1998 there were $80,000 worth of resources available
for _every_ household in the US. But the market failed to get 22%
of those households resources above the poverty level (that's
about 60 million people, mostly children). When government money
transfers are added to household income, the 22% living in poverty
goes goes to 13%. So the evidence strongly suggests that the
market does a very poor job of distributing resources.

Yah and separation of economy and state would help IMO.

Help who? Certainly not those children living in poverty.

Me:

You guys seem to object to modest gun access requirements

Norman:

It's not that I object so much as I see such efforts as an
unfortunate waste of time and resources attempting to control
others. The drug war hysteria is a perfect example of how the
alleged cure (controlling access to drugs) is worse than the
disease

I think this is a completely false comparison. Requiring
registration and licensing of guns is not the same as drug
prohibition. It's more like requiring registration and licensing
of drugs (which I favor). I think drugs should be legalized but
_regulated_ (and their use discouraged). The current drug laws
are equivalent to gun confiscation, which, I agree, would produce
results as ugly as drug (and alcohol) prohibition.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken/

[Martin Taylor 2000.05.25 09:39]

[From Norman Hovda (2000.05.24.1000 MST)] to Rick Marken

A wants to buy from B and B wants to sell to A. C adds criteria re: the
transaction which if neither A or B wish to risk penalty they must factor
into their transaction price. I'm not commenting on the value of such,
only that it is the way it is - as I see it. Depending on C's interventionist
criteria, price tends, or is skewed, toward a particular bias one way or
the other; sometimes slight, sometimes gross, mostly very murky. It is
not easy to read the skew.

You were the only one to respond to the posting [Martin Taylor
2000.04.13] in which I presented a PCT analysis of why "governments"
(C) should be expected to "interfere" in contracts between A and B
(which include buyer-to-seller-contracts). You said it gave you a lot
to think about. What was the result of this thinking?

From the above comment, I would guess that the result of your "lots
of thought" is a complete rejection of my argument. Please would you
tell me wherein the flaw lies that invalidates my analysis? Maybe you
have done so already, in which case could you point me to the message
in which you destroyed the analysis? I haven't yet read all the
backlog that arrived during my month away.

If my analysis is correct, any "skew" in contract prices is normally
a side-effect of C's attempt to counter the disturbances that would
be induced by the side-effects of the performance of the contract
between A and B. Here follows an expansion of the earlier analyses.

----------Continuing the analysis----
for further background refer to [Martin Taylor 2000.04.13] and
[Martin Taylor 2000.05.23 8:58 EST]. A start at a more abstract
background presentation may be found at
<http://www.mmtaylor.net/PCT/Mutuality/index.html>

···

-------------------------------------

When A and B propose to enter a contract, that contract normally is
part of control processes in both, whereby the execution of the
contract reduces error in each. A contract freely entered has no
winner and loser. It has two winners.

In principle, the controlled perceptions of A and B do not include
perceptions of disturbances to controlled perceptions in C, D,...X,
Y, Z. The execution of the contract is therefore likely to have side
effects that do disturb perceptions in other people.
(Parenthetically, however, where money is concerned, a contract
between A and B may enable both to obtain money (power) from C,
D,...X, Y, Z, better than either could do alone, in which case the
controlled perceptions in A and B do include an intention to perceive
a diminution in the controlling ability of other people--a
disturbance to the other people.)

C, D, ... X, Y, Z, perceiving the effect of a contract on their
controlled perceptions--whether deliberate or by side-effect--, are
likely to contract together to oppose the execution of such contracts.

It is not possible, in general, for C, D,...X, Y, Z to perceive the
effects of each individual proposed contract between A and B. But it
is possible for them to perceive (in imagination, of course) the
likely side effects of contracts of given types. If C, D, ...X, Y, Z
have the power to do so, they are likely then to act to inhibit the
execution of contracts of specific types (i.e. to promulgate laws and
regulations about permissible contracts). They may also act to
enhance the likelihood of other contracts (e.g. offer subsidies to
industries to locate in depressed areas). These inhibitions and
facilitations by C, D, ...X, Y, Z are the regulations and subsidies
that "skew" the free market prices.

If the PCT analysis is correct, one must ALWAYS expect an initially
"free" market situation to evolve into a regulated market. It
happened among the bootlegger families in Prohibition, when it was
not the "government" who set the regulations (though the "government"
regulations did affect the price of good quality alcohol). It happens
now omong drug dealing organizations. Someone always sets the
regulations that are enforceable, even in the presence of
unenforceable regulations that are intended to affect the same
contracts (as was and is the case with alcohol and drug
prohibitions). It happened in the evolution of stock markets two or
three hundred years ago, and is still happening within stock markets,
quite independently of "government" regulation.

Bottom line: a "free market", like anarchy, is PCT-unstable.
Perceptual Control Theory says that any free market will evolve into
a regulated market in which prices for specific contracts differ from
the prices that would prevail in the absence of regulation. It is
merely a question of labelling whether the "authority" that issues
and enforces the regulations is called "government."

Martin

[From Norman Hovda (2000.05.26.0800 MST)]

[Martin Taylor 2000.05.25 09:39]
>[From Norman Hovda (2000.05.24.1000 MST)] to Rick Marken

>A wants to buy from B and B wants to sell to A. C adds criteria re: the
>transaction which if neither A or B wish to risk penalty they must factor
>into their transaction price. I'm not commenting on the value of such,
>only that it is the way it is - as I see it. Depending on C's
>interventionist criteria, price tends, or is skewed, toward a particular
>bias one way or the other; sometimes slight, sometimes gross, mostly very
>murky. It is not easy to read the skew.

You were the only one to respond to the posting [Martin Taylor
2000.04.13] in which I presented a PCT analysis of why "governments"
(C) should be expected to "interfere" in contracts between A and B
(which include buyer-to-seller-contracts). You said it gave you a lot
to think about. What was the result of this thinking?

General agreement. I doubt I'm capable of finding any holes and FWIW
nothing stands out as problematic with respect to my elementary
layman understanding of PCT.

As I recall, your analysis gave me pause as I was attempting to
understand why on CSG there seemed to be support for coercive
remedy given that my reading of Chap 17, B:CP that speaks so
eloquently about the futility and ineffectiveness of even attempting to
control other living control systems.

From the above comment, I would guess that the result of your "lots
of thought" is a complete rejection of my argument.

from the comment above starting with "A wants to buy from B and B
wants to sell to A. C adds criteria re: the..." Other than my possibly
very flawed understanding, not at all. How do you get that?

Please would you
tell me wherein the flaw lies that invalidates my analysis?

Haven't ID'd any flaw.

Maybe you
have done so already, in which case could you point me to the message
in which you destroyed the analysis? I haven't yet read all the
backlog that arrived during my month away.

Never happened.

If my analysis is correct, any "skew" in contract prices is normally
a side-effect of C's attempt to counter the disturbances that would
be induced by the side-effects of the performance of the contract
between A and B. Here follows an expansion of the earlier analyses.

Yes. I'm ok with that. Perhaps what I have a problem with is the notion
that ALL side-effects, intended or not, are automatically actionable or
that those that imagine themselves impacted will automatically make an
effort to reduce error. The conflict / competitive mix of controlled
variables and disturbances from side effects is tough enough to figure,
adjust and adapt to without further interference from third party busy
bodies and know-it-alls meddling in other people's business "for their
own good." Regardless, we humans are an unruly lot and living control
systems will do what can be done as your PCT analysis makes quite
clear.

----------Continuing the analysis----
for further background refer to [Martin Taylor 2000.04.13] and
[Martin Taylor 2000.05.23 8:58 EST]. A start at a more abstract
background presentation may be found at
<http://www.mmtaylor.net/PCT/Mutuality/index.html>
-------------------------------------

When A and B propose to enter a contract, that contract normally is
part of control processes in both, whereby the execution of the
contract reduces error in each. A contract freely entered has no
winner and loser. It has two winners.

Correct.

In principle, the controlled perceptions of A and B do not include
perceptions of disturbances to controlled perceptions in C, D,...X,
Y, Z. The execution of the contract is therefore likely to have side
effects that do disturb perceptions in other people.

eeeh... nothing happens in a vacuum and I take slight issue with the
implications of "likely". I would prefer "may". Would potential v. actual
side effects and any deliberate consideration given not depend entirely
on the magnitude and scope of the contract / transaction? The _private-
sex lives of gays may very much disturb the moral bound perceptions of
the homophobic religionist and once disturbed who knows what specific
efforts will follow to reduce error but controlling their perceptions will
follow whether or not I find the outcome disturbing.

(Parenthetically, however, where money is concerned, a contract
between A and B may enable both to obtain money (power) from C,
D,...X, Y, Z, better than either could do alone, in which case the
controlled perceptions in A and B do include an intention to perceive
a diminution in the controlling ability of other people--a
disturbance to the other people.)

If A = gov, B = big business, and C...Z = taxpayers it has a different
spin but yes, I agree.

C, D, ... X, Y, Z, perceiving the effect of a contract on their
controlled perceptions--whether deliberate or by side-effect--, are
likely to contract together to oppose the execution of such contracts.

As well as non-action or withdrawal from that specific context?
Reorganize?

It is not possible, in general, for C, D,...X, Y, Z to perceive the
effects of each individual proposed contract between A and B. But it
is possible for them to perceive (in imagination, of course) the
likely side effects of contracts of given types. If C, D, ...X, Y, Z
have the power to do so, they are likely then to act to inhibit the
execution of contracts of specific types (i.e. to promulgate laws and
regulations about permissible contracts).

And if by cooperating with D...Z a favorable outcome is unlikely I, as C,
may _individually_ disengage and seek to avoid entanglement with said
AB contractual fallout. e.g. Social Security... restructure income so that
FICA is not required.

They may also act to
enhance the likelihood of other contracts (e.g. offer subsidies to
industries to locate in depressed areas). These inhibitions and
facilitations by C, D, ...X, Y, Z are the regulations and subsidies
that "skew" the free market prices.

To the extent that a contract between A and B represent perceptions by
C...Z that are detrimental to their interests, yes, I agree. A and B may
represent competition to C...Z or AB are competition to just C, and C
persuades or buys D...Z to gang up on AB.

I realize my value preferences are outside the purview of PCT, but what
seems missing to me from that old gov-coercion-is-ok thread is the
distinction between civil and political, economic power v. gov power,
voluntary v. coercion, especially in light of Chap 17.

If the PCT analysis is correct, one must ALWAYS expect an initially
"free" market situation to evolve into a regulated market.

I suppose for more public "situations" (although I am very cautious
around absoluting <g>) but what about more private "situations"? I think
you've just addressed the conflict I found so thought provoking (and
mostly personally disturbing <g>) re: your analysis.

As comfortable as I am embracing a value neutral PCT, there seems to
be a program running in my background that resists the what-is-ness
regarding disturbances and/or side effects. They are what they are - my
grandios infantile preferences be damned.

IOW, I evaluate unintended disturbances and side effects resulting from
coerced "good" intentions against the trade offs of unintended
disturbances and side effects from voluntary free exchange; let the
perceptions fall where they may. I end up with smaller error when I allow
markets to work over time. Others reduce their error by intervening,
thinking they know what's best for others. Vive le differance. (sic)

It
happened among the bootlegger families in Prohibition, when it was
not the "government" who set the regulations (though the "government"
regulations did affect the price of good quality alcohol). It happens
now omong drug dealing organizations.

Voluntary consent with contextual standards v. coercion to one size fits
all.

Someone always sets the
regulations that are enforceable, even in the presence of
unenforceable regulations that are intended to affect the same
contracts (as was and is the case with alcohol and drug
prohibitions).

"Honor among thieves". <g>

It happened in the evolution of stock markets two or
three hundred years ago, and is still happening within stock markets,
quite independently of "government" regulation.

Stock mkts "independently" of gov? If I had to put a % on the amount of
effort involved doing business v. gov regs it hardly feels independent to
me. Then again I think I understand that you refer to the self-organizing
aspects of doing business?

Bottom line: a "free market", like anarchy, is PCT-unstable.

Ack... to the contrary I see "free markets", like *leader-less* structure,
as self-correcting and coordinated price control systems; oscillating
from inefficient to efficient through time, supported by voluntary self-
governing consent.

Maybe, probably, I'm not understanding "PCT-unstable"? Positive
feedback loops?

Perceptual Control Theory says that any free market will evolve into
a regulated market in which prices for specific contracts differ from
the prices that would prevail in the absence of regulation.

Yes, this fits my experience.

It is
merely a question of labelling whether the "authority" that issues
and enforces the regulations is called "government."

Martin

Ack... to me "it" is more than just a question of labelling. "It" is a
function of free, voluntary or consensual human action v. coerced,
manipulated and enslaved obedience; of choosing, developing,
embracing my own emerging reference levels; of "cumulative blind
variation and selection" (Cziko) or having them forced down my throat.

Best,
nth

[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