C-114. What a muddle (BFEPS)

It is not lost on me that my focus on body and step, their independence and interdependence, keeps bumping into the concept of “behavioral entity,” with a certain amount of reader confusion to be expected. But a muddle was already there. What is said – i.e.,“behavioral entity” –does not correspond to what is being talked about. And it needs to, to give behavior its due and fully realize its consequentiality,to help us develop some badly needed problem-solving functionality.

Or some compensating provision made. Compatible, complementary provisions to current language are conceivable (e.g., capitalizing all R-words [C-107], which could signal, for instance, the criticality of Involve and Grasp [C-105)). But language is not the only technology or the only still-needed technology to be concerned about. And there is more than this or that technology at stake here. This matter is fundamental to our future.

So far we have made do in BFEPS with S- and B- prefixes to help pull apart confounded concepts (e.g., S-community and B-community). We could also do G- and p- prefixes to distinguish concepts re the general and the particular (e.g. re G-consequence per se [aka consequentiality] and p-consequence [aka outcome]). But reinventing and/ or needlessly complicating language will not satisfactorily handle the matter.Stirring the pot via the SGN correction (C-104) is an attempt to clarify matters by emphatically applying the “S” portion (III) so as to draw equal attention to it as a matter of consequence.But consequential too are the Nature of Things, the “N” portion, and its generalities, the “G” portion. We saw one salutary effect of the “S” portion with the so-called “mind-body problem” (VII; C-111).

This focus of attention on body and step liberates us from the “mind-bound”(ouch!) features (0: S-P; App. XVI; C-56) embedded in the behavioral entity concept. That concept focuses attention on late-stage functionality (C-97) — i.e., particular behaviors characteristic of particular entities (App. XIX). As if we had no interest in,nor need for,making new steps (C-110: What is called for). As if we were interested primarily in whether to recognize and take a step already taken or, as now may seem appropriate, to decide which of such prior steps to take (C-98).This as if recognition could suffice as minding’s cognitive functionality (and as if we were programmed to make an appropriate [or perhaps just learned] response in consequence of recognition).This as if cognition’s relating, using relations independent of the related elements (X), did not produce outcomes within steps (e.g., “minding’s thoughts”) in addition to contributing to outcomes of completed behavioral molecules. This as if exposure plus focal attention, thereby making an “object” out of anything attended, and as if these plus memory and questioning –all of these without any need for cognition (not to mention the symbiotic interdependence of cognition and communication [App. III], sufficed to meet the functional requisite for minding (VII).* All this in neglect of the Nature of Things and its generalities, especially of Everything’s partial order (ouch again!) and consequent before-the-fact needed functionality (ouch!) given incomplete instruction (ouch!) –the point TO of “G” and “N” in the SGN correction).

(“Ouch!”: It doesn’t help that language, via the adjectival feature, has us here talking about a needed conversion using this old technology. [See App. XIV; C-94, C-95.])

With “behavioral entity” we find ourselves in the middle of the muddle. In Realization terms (App. XIX; C-111), we are placed at stages 3 and 4, with a particular entity and its particular functionality as the focus of attention. The needed functionality and capability development that led to the behavioral entity stage, in consequence of the Nature of Things,the tell of collisions, not read (C-38).

At that, “behavioral entity” (BE) is preferable to “structure vs. function,” another conceptualization handicapped by focus only on late-stage functionality, on particular entities identified by their characteristic behaviors — as in “Is as does.” The latter warping should dissolve readily once we note that function has structure too –i.e., behavioral molecules. But “behavioral entity” is more resistant. Collisions and their consequences, along with continuing sensory and sensory monitoring capacity and capability (feeling and “feelings”), give attentive prominence to bodies. Witness our writings of history in BE terms, rather than in the body step terms of CEM-history (App. XI), to the neglect of behavioral history (C-113).

“Person who” usages refract the behavioral entity perspective and show how pervasive this perspective is as leverage for “sort” technologies (e.g., for correlational analysis, for partisan politics and decision making, for diagnostic categories). We are given a leverage for sorting … but for only one approach to “sorting out” – i.e., problem solving, as in straightening out dysfunctional behavior. Consider, for example, that the Realization transform (C-111) suggests two strategies for improved functionality. (Somehow!)correcting apparent dysfunctions (from -1 to +1) is one path; realizing still needed functionality (from 0 to 1) is another, and more positive, path (C-83).

In this approach, behaviors and behavioral features are assigned to a person. (Assigned to other entities or presumed entities [thingks] too, but we shall focus on persons here.) These attributions provide identification and/or location and/or (just) late-stage functionalities, enabling us to distinguish among persons and, perhaps, sort them accordingly. Think diagnostic categories and typologies as mappings of a sort – but in contrast to needed problem-solving mapping (App. XIX).

So then what? The attribution, also a “what,” is of functional interest because it is IN and/or OF consequence. IN and/or OF another “what” typically.We get a “what-what” notion picture of behavior. A person who is older, for example, is seen to be slower. A person who values cultural traditions is expected to probably vote conservative. A person who is agitated apparently needs something to calm her/him down.

Technologies such as correlational analysis (C-17), value-based decision making (C-108) and medical diagnosis (App. V) are built on a “person who” foundation and utilize a what-what minding technology.

To identify a BE, via attributed behaviors, has obvious utility for solving situational problems, to guide focal attention.In that contribution it complements the assignment of position to a BE. Who/what is it and where is it? (See points AT.) These minding methods, which have long served observers of the less behavioral among entities (see recognition) – and which still pervade the observations of even the more behavioral among entities–come up short in the matter of the behavioral problem (I:Pbeh; C-41). What is called for (C-110)? What is the functionality that has been or still needs to be realized (C-38, C-111)? (Lest we see consequentiality solely, or even primarily, in terms of “BE made by BE,” emphasizing responsibility at the expense of needed capability (XI).

As the question of “How?” insistently reminds us, we need to do better with behavior than the concept of behavioral entity does, to make more of the fact that the making and taking of steps has structure, in addition to and interdependently with entity (body) structure … and that this making and taking of steps has a history, CEM-history (App. XI, App. XVI), with implicatory consequences for our step making and taking – i.e., principles of and for behavior.

What this suggests as a way out of this muddle is to open the way to a yet too largely unexplored and underdeveloped BS frontier (App. XI, App. XVI; C-118) … rather than extending the BE linguistic technology (e.g., using S- and B- prefixes, or using the “-ize” suffix to realize the verb aspect of nouns or the “-ion” suffix to blanket both noun and verb aspects). We need a theoretical, not a conceptual fix (C-81, C-85).

Simply put: Focus attention on BS, not just – but in addition to — attention given the B-biased BE (C-39, C-104). Then develop the technology needed for us to better say what we are talking about, for us to have a better sense of How.

It’s not just that what is being said is at fault. (Although fault there is. Consider stereotyping, which addresses the behavioral entity by flip-flopping entity and attribute, as in the conversion from “the soldier” to “a soldier.” Even more invidious is such a characterization as the “lazy poor” as contrasted with a more productive examination of observed and possible step-body interdependency.) It’s what we have not been talking about … because we have not been paying attention to everything of consequence(and Everything’s quality of consequentiality as part of the Nature of Things: III).

Fundamentally, “behavioral entity” is too weak for our unsolved problems (0: Sp,S-P, Ps & P). Its neglect of needed functionality, of what is called for (C-110), of the Nature of Things’ consequentiality (III), and of still-increasing reasons (C-115) for improved problem-solving capability … all of this makes the concept unsatisfactory. We are badly placed thereby to tackle problems, such as the Tragedy of the Commons, which require a functional basis before there can be an agency capability that we might only then see and label a behavioral entity (e.g., union [C-112] as needed functionality before community; then community before effective individual community interdependence).

The risks of such a BE-limited view of behavior become apparent, for example, when the dynamics of responsibility and capability are not fully explored (XI; C-71), as in educational policy. Needed interdependence is obvious: Responsibility demands capability; capability earns responsibility. But lack of balance, of equal emphasis (i.e., Responsibility/Capability >1), with its focus more on entity (teachers and students) and blaming them rather than a focus on behavior (realization of needed functionality) … such an imbalance weakens the prospect for achieved interdependency (C-71).

This mistake of place, this focus of attention implicit in “behavioral entity,” is dysfunctional when it comes to making a new start in our problem solving. We don’t need to close our eyes to things as they are, but we need to open them to things as they might and should be. Policy, to be effective, needs a better balance between starting from where we are, from what has come to be realized, and starting from needed functionality, from what still needs to be realized.(Our current Frontier budgets are poorly balanced. [See C-118.]) Consider where we stand now with respect to quality of life (0), to solving our problems.If the concept of “behavioral entity” impedes (IV), then we must see things differently. Anything less in this World of Possibility seems pure foolishness.

And yet this occluded vision persists. We see it, for example, in the limited (re behavior) concept of utilitarianism, in which emphasis is given the steps’ bottom line (in terms of value for) and the aggregate of behavioral entities impacted. CEM-utilitarianism, however, would give emphasis, andequal emphasis, to process consequentiality (C-16), to the materiality of units (C-11) within behavioral molecules – such as the “all that it takes” contributions for compositional change to be effected (II), especially those of agency minding.CEM-history (App. XI) says we should attend to every material condition, in accord with the Nature of Things’ general persisting condition of consequentiality. There can be, and often is, much that is material within the molecular step – especially steps composed to deal with difficult problems … which makes the before-the-fact behavioral principles of requisites and imperatives (Topics VI-XI) essential to better problem solving. (It is this materiality, and still needed materialities, that suggest a “coaching” developmental strategy such as that suggested in App. IX.)

This imbalance of emphases re utility should register (XI; C-120). We should Read this imbalance as a sign and signal to rethink our sense of where to initiate efforts to improve utility (re needed functionality) … and to rethink our understanding of how we have come not to be starting from where we need to start (i.e., the Frontier [C-118]), this mistake of place, if we are to realize the capabilities and structures with which we might approach our problems more productively (0, I; App. XIX; C-111).


Hypostatization illustrates the trap we have set for ourselves. We take a behavioral condition and see it in object terms. (So much for the body step distinction!). Compare “mind” as behavioral entity (e.g., as above, “mind-bound”) with the explication of the term provided by the BFEPS platform … notably Topics V and VII, Applications XIX and XX and Comments 81, 85, 95, 96 and 111. Behaviorally, “mind” comes across as, at a minimum, eight different words:
Realization (C-111): Noun 1 Verb 1 Verb 2 Noun 2
Sensory Mind Mind Mind Mind
Sensery (C-96): Mind Mind Mind Mind
And this is minimal because: 1/of differences in needed mindingcapabilities (Noun 1), such as focal attention, cognition, memory, questioning; and, 2/ differences and changes in developed (Verb 1) and exercised (Verb 2) minding capabilities (V). Minding molecules (Noun 2) are virtually infinite in number and variety.

(The above set of eight also applies to the term “sense.”)

What’s a word to do (App. XIV)? Words’ work is overwhelming. There’s no simple, easy, 1 to1, point AT symbolic correspondence here. (Only Peirce finds a way to 1 to 1, seeing meaning as the particular behavioral consequence evoked – and not just as evoked by a word. Otherwise, “meaning” is a very open, unpointed question [as in “Huh?” See X]. Peirce’s solution sets aside the whole Realization family of meaning that these hypostatized behavioral conditions implicate – a family of generations, not just of siblings and cousins.)

What is required here is an Involve capability so as to be able to Grasp what is being talked about (VII; C-105), an Involve capability such as that [only partially] illustrated for “mind” by this mapping set of eight.)

Linguistic technology, employing hypostatization on behavioral conditions IN and OF consequence in order to use cognition’s inside-outside relation (X) for descriptive purposes – and relying on (attributed) identification and location to trigger step taking, has given us a weak Grasp for problem solving … not to mention rigid instructional methods (0:Sp) and unending “definition” problems (0:Ps) in furtherance of this technological adoption and usage. How good a mapping capability are we furnished by that? Don’t we need a mapping capability for problem solving (App. XIX) that could give us the Involve that we need by which to Grasp?

Where to go from here? Clearly to review the needed functionality (i.e., C-110: What is called for) in light of the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions (partial order, consequentiality and discontinuity) and the requisites and imperatives for behavioral entities which follow as principles (III) … and then design more relevant technologies.

This is also a matter of investments (App. XIII). And see C-116 re “brain mapping” – i.e., body (B-) mapping. Mind mapping demands commensurate step (S-) mapping capability.


*Take the relationship of an observer, P, to an observed, x, as the salience relationship (P:x) comprising that person’s experience, past-into-present, with this focus of attention. Now consider that processes of valuation and (realization’s) composition (C-107, C-111) both require dealing with the pertinence relationship between or among at least two foci of attention: P:x1,x2. This is cognition and not merely recognition, at work. (The salience relationship does, however, often contain cognitive aspects. Some relating, using relations [X], may have been going on to produce or help produce the salience relationship.) Note also the case when one of the x’s is another P, as in P:x,P (e.g. “seeing ourselves as others see us”). And given that to grasp one must involve (VII), P:x is, at best, a special case once CEM-history has advanced in minding development. “Stimulus-response,” however modified (e.g., “mediated”), is too much a loose, summary concept and not enough a firm theoretical Grasp of behavior. And “objectivity” comes across as a risky minding strategy and not just ironic, as here.

(c) R.F. Carter