[From Bob Clark (930301.1730 EST)]

Bill Powers (930216), (930229.0800)

Martin Taylor (930219.1900), (930221.1640)

Instead of making specific comments on each of the items distributed
through February 24, I am offering items of a more general nature.

It seems to me that language arises from a desire to interact with other
beings with the convenience provided by combinations of words. The one
sending the message selects the words and sentence structures according to
his (remembered) experience. The words he selects have no "intrinsic
meaning." However, he assumes that they have "generally agreed" "meanings."
Assigning "intrinsic meaning" to words is a shorthand convenience -- we
need not take the time to review each "ordinary" word's meaning. In case
of disagreement, the dictionary provides a convenient solution. If words
are used with specialized, or other "unusual" meaning, specific definitions
are necessary. There are many such special languages: mathematics,
physics, English, Latin, French, etc etc. Bruce Nevin's impressive
discussions describe ad illustrate the development and variations of

II. VIEWPOINTS: INTERNAL VS EXTERNAL -- Martin Taylor (930219.1900)
This is an important observation. You have focussed on a general concept:
"viewpoint." In view of your remarks, I am trying to summarize my (present)
orientation in the following. This turns out to be much more difficult
than I expected -- and probably will change with additional review.

A. General View
Again quoting Powers (930216):
*This world, to the best of my knowledge, originates in signals
*emitted into the nervous system by sensory receptors....


*This means that the world we experience must consist of sensory
*signals and other signals derived from them. The "other signals
*derived from them" include the totality of what we can experience,
*from the taste of chocolate to Fermat's Last Theorem, as well as
*our experienced "interest" in that Theorem, if any, and any
*"thoughts" we may have about it. Nothing is exempt.
*When I say "it's all perception" this is what I mean. We live
*inside a nervous system and all we know is what goes on inside that
*nervous system.

As I noted in Clark (930219.1145 am EST), that is also my viewpoint.

B. Categories. When I investigate what I have available ("inside my
nervous system"), I find several easily identified categories. Many
other categories can be used as desired. I find the following four
categories particularly convenient and useful.

a. "Decision Making Entity." "DME." "Center of Awareness."
This is the entity that "uses" viewpoints. "I" is not used because
it tends to include too much. I proposed this in Clark (921205).
This entity can direct its Attention to any of the neural signals
entering the central nervous system. It can shift its attention
rapidly from one signal (or group of signals) to another. It also
can select which of the available signals has its attention at any
given time. It responds to "built-in" reference levels by
selectively "paying more attention" to some signals than to others.

b. "Recording Function." "Memory." "Conscious."
This is the entity that forms records of signals to which attention
is directed. Attention can shift fast enough that it appears that
all signals are recorded. Mere "exposure" to perceivable events
seems to be insufficient for remembering. Conscious Attention, ie
perception, appears necessary. Teachers, Parents, Supervisors, etc
are invariably concerned that their students "pay attention."

c. "Perceptual Signals." "Attention."
These are the signals to which the DME's Attention may be directed.

From time to time, the DME selects them from the available Signals.

These form two goups:
1. "Sensory Signals" reporting the current condition of all
physiological systems with neural connections to the central
nervous system. They may form various combinations, resulting
in production of additional, derived, Sensory Signals.
2. "Imaginary Signals" are recorded Sensory Signals and other
recorded signals as selected by the DME. The Imaginary Signals
include all perceptual signals derived from recordings.
Generally they are organized in some manner by the DME for
convenience and accessibility. Such organization will
distinguish between those coming from "External Sources" and
those coming from "Internal Sources." When selected by the DME
for examination, they resemble audio-visual-sensory recordings.
They normally run from past time events toward the present and
the DME can extrapolate them to future time. Likewise, memories
can be combined in various ways, both sequentially and
simultaneously. In this respect, they resemble editing of

c."Output Signals."
These Signals are recorded in the memory together with the
corresponding perceptual signals. After review, the DME determines
the "desired" effects on the perceptual signals. The DME then
applies the remembered perceptual signals to the corresponding
Output Systems. They act as "Reference Signals" for the systems
connected to them. Effects are determined by the nature of the
systems to which they are connected. Although the DME cannot
directly perceive these signals (they are not "incoming"), but their
effects are determined by observing corresponding perceptual signals.

d. "Comparator Function."
The DME makes its selections on the basis of comparison of the
"desired" effects with the anticipated results offered by
alternative sets of Imaginary Signals in relation to current Sensory
Signals (and their combinations).

I have already been thinking about pointing out alternative views of the
basic, feedback control system. However, see II above, you have
focussed on a more general concept: "viewpoint." When I apply that
concept to a minimal system, I find five (5) identifiable viewpoints.
Perhaps others can be found. Different viewpoints may call for
different classifications and definitions of the Hierarchical

a. The "USER'S" view. The User's DME selects the desired condition
(activity, etc) of his own system as it relates to its
surroundings, and applies the indicated reference signals. The
User observes the resulting activity, etc for possible deviation
from intended performance. If deviations are observed,
corrections are applied as indicated. The corrections are
selected from memory, including anticipation, analysis, and
theory (as the User understands them). This process continues
as long as results are acceptable. If the results are not
within limits, changes may be needed in the remembered
structures. Although the concept of a Hierarchy is not
essential for the usual User, it can be very helpful when there
is difficulty in finding adequate results.

b. The "ENGINEER'S" view. This view is "Objective" in that the
Engineer treats the subject as external to himself, omitting the
part(s) he plays in this activity. He studies the details of
the various elements of the system(s) and their
interconnections. Each element is evaluated in terms of the
relation(s) between its input(s) and its output(s), expresses
them in logical/mathematical terms, and analyzes the results.
If this is unacceptable, modifications of one or more elements
and/or interconnections are examined for possible alternatives.
The Engineer supplies standards of performance selected from his
memory by his DME. In this process, the Engineer's DME controls
the activity. Although the concept of a Hierarchy is not
essential for the usual Engineer (many are quite successful
without it), it can be very helpful in more complex and
multi-dimensional situations.

c. The "OUTSIDER'S" view. The Outsider, that is, his DME, is
observing the activities of another "living-behaving" entity.
His information about that entity is derived exclusively from
his own input systems -- sensory, as modified and interpreted by
his own established internal systems. He uses his knowledge to
construct a description of the internal structure of the other
entity. All this activity, together with the conclusions, is
stored in his memory, and continues to be available for future
application, modification, etc. These activities may include
discussions, etc with other Outsiders. Although the concept of
a Hierarchy is not essential for the usual Outsider/Observer, it
can be very helpful in analysis and interpretation of results.

d. The "EXPERIMENTER'S" view. This view is also "Objective" in
that the Experimenter treats the Suject as external to himself.
He assumes that the subject's reference levels are determined by
the Experimenter's instructions combined with the subject's
pre-existing decisions. The Experimenter selects and applies
some action to the subject's externally accessible inputs. The
results are interpreted in terms of whatever behavioral theory
he wants to apply. Although the concept of a Hierarchy is not
essential for some experimental purposes, it can be very helpful
both in experimental design and interpretation.

e. The "THEORIST'S" view. The Theorist pays attention to all the
views listed above as well as any others that may be proposed.
He resembles the Experimenter in searching for confirmation, or
denial of proposed theoretical and/or analytical ideas. The
User's and Outsider's views provide additional data for
evaluation of proposals. The Engineer's view provides
guidelines as to the logical and technical limitations that are
intrinsic to the external surroundings. Although the concept of
a Hierarchy is not essential for some theoretical purposes, it
offers the most inclusive and effective theoretical framework I
know of.

These are both "Theorist's" views, as above.

a. Powers View, [Bill Powers (930218.0730)]
*My levels are intended to describe categories of experience
*that all people (and even animals) employ without any training
*or knowledge.
Bill is concerned with "categories of experience."

b. In my (RKC) approach, I have focussed on the perceptual signals
as they combine to form the hierarchy. "Hierarchy" is defined
in BCP, p 78:

*"This model consists of a hierarchical structure of
*feedback control organizations in which higher-order
*systems perceive and control an environment composed of
*lower-order systems; only first-order systems interact
*directly with the external world.
*"The entire hierarchy is organized around a single concept:
*control by means of adjusting referenced-signals for
*lower-order systems."

I am concerned with categories of perceptual signals as they
combine to form a hierarchy of perceptual signals.

In this post and in my post, RKC (921205), I have attempted to summarize my
present views. They are very highly condensed in these posts, and should
be reworked.

Bob Clark