Where we stand (maybe)

From Greg Williams (930401)

Bill Powers (930331.1930)

This is sort of an aside, but if my motivation is REALLY as I
introspect it and as you have hypothesized, why do you think
that I must try to counteract EVERY attempt to apply the test?

That would be too simple for Greg Williams. You don't counteract
attempts to apply the Test; you simply think ahead and thwart

It's beginning to sound like the Tester needs to be smarter than the
subject for the Test not to take forever -- shades of Skinner's
followers' "successes" with behavioral modification techniques on
retarded persons but not on their mental peers.

Well, let's see. I introspect currently (and honestly!) that I
still maintain the challenge and that I intend to maintain it
until I think you have met it or give up. I don't think I can
be much more explicit about my introspected motivations. Your

Thank you.

You're welcome.

If I were dealing with an innocent person, my move would be to say
something like "Well, I don't know. This has been going on for a long
time, and I don't really know if you're just keeping it up for my
sake." My intent would be to communicate a mild inclination on my part
to give up and stop participating in the challenge, without indicating
that this is my actual desire. In other words, having heard a
description of the stated reference condition, I would then proceed to
test it by applying a disturbance that ought to change it if there's
no counteracting response.

If that's what you'd do with an "innocent" person, what would you do
with me?

Now, of course, I can simply ask in the shorthand terms with
which we are both familiar. If I became reluctant to go on with
the challenge now, would this feel like some kind of error to


If, on the other hand, I started asking more and more personal
questions, pressing to get you to investigate more and more subjective
impressions, would that also feel like an error, but in the other


What evidence do we have that our awarenesses of our
motivations (which I agree we do have) are congruent with our
actual "underlying" controlled variables at the level below the
surface phenomena of behaviors?

I take a deliberately naive view on this most pertinent question.
I took it about 30 years ago. It is that everything of importance
in the brain, _at the functional levels we experience_, is open
to inspection if we happen to look. All we have to do is notice
what is going on.

A marvelous hypothesis! Sort of the opposite of the Freudian
hypothesis that "everything of importance in the brain" is hard to
inspect even when you try hard to look.

All the terminology of PCT works this way, giving us
a handle on experiences that otherwise just happen, namelessly.

But are one's introspected handles fiction or fact? Only your (smart)
Tester can help one decide (eventually, if the handles aren't changing
very quickly, and if non-Tester-controlled "extraneous" disturbances
aren't too pronounced, and if the subject is cooperative)?

Is this terminology and the conceptual structure of which it is a
part "correct?" I think that's probably the wrong question. The
important question is, "Does it bring our experiences of
ourselves and others into a common framework of understanding
that is consistent both within itself and with experience?"

Dr. Freud would probably have agreed with your preferences -- as
applied to HIS hypotheses.

Whatever one means by "correct," I think that if PCT gives an
affirmative answer to the question, it will have earned its keep.


Where do we stand?

I don't think you've met the challenge. But I could be wrong.

As ever,