Regular listeners to this podcast will be well aware of my strong conviction that the Perceptual Control Theory initially formulated by William T. Powers entails many significant contributions to the domains of systems and cybernetics despite the fact that, for the last several decades, its applications have been further developed in a largely “adjacent” academic community.
It is in the ongoing spirit of a much-needed rapprochement between these fields, that previous guest, Warren Mansell, returns to this podcast; this time, as editor of The Interdisciplinary Handbook of Perceptual Control Theory – Vol. 1, out from Elsevier in 2020. Astonishing in its sweeping, panoramic view of the contemporary sciences, both “natural” and “social,” this magnificent volume brings together the latest research, theory, and applications of Powers’ powerful and parsimonious theory proposing that the behavior of a living organism lies in the control of perceived aspects of both itself and its environment. Illustrating both the fundamental theory and the application of PCT to a broad range of disciplines, various chapters illuminate why perceptual control is fundamental to understanding human nature, describe a new way to do research on brain processes and behavior, reveal how the role of natural selection in behavior can be demystified, explain how engineers can emulate human purposeful behavior in robots with significantly lower computational expense, and so much more. If ever there was a book that could consolidate some of the world’s most rigorous applications of PCT in a manner rendering its remarkable explanatory power and paradigm exploding practical value in vivid detail and inspiring insight, this is it.
Tom Scholte is a Professor of Directing and Acting in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia located on the unceded, ancestral, and traditional territory of the Musqueam people.
Tom Scholte is a Professor of Directing and Acting in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of British Columbia located on the unceded, ancestral, and traditional territory of the Musqueam people