Gold (1999) misinterprets the logic of the target article (Jarvilehto, 1998a). The argument does not go from the efferent influences to the organism-environment system, but the other way round: If the organism-environment system is taken as a starting point then the finding of efferent influences on receptors is not something that should be "explained away" by ad hoc hypotheses. Such influences should rather be predicted in the organism-environment theory because they are necessary to the formation of a dynamic organism-environment.
2. It is not my conclusion that the existence of efferent influences shows that the organism and environment do not constitute two distinct systems and that therefore a one system approach should be accepted. In fact, I wrote in an earlier reply (Jarvilehto, 1998b): "I must stress that the existence of efferent influences on receptors does not OBLIGE us to change the traditional basis of our theorizing about knowledge formation and the functions of senses in favor of something like the theory of the organism-environment system." My point is that in the two systems approach we need special explanations for the existence of the efferent influences, but with the assumption of one system the efferent influences are a necessary part of the theory and need not be "explained away" by ad hoc hypotheses.
3. Gold is certainly right when concluding that the question is about the explanatory power of the theory, and that time and further conceptual developments will show whether the organism-environment approach is better or worse than the traditional point of view. However, I must stress that the theory of organism-environment system (Jarvilehto, 1998c and d) is not a theory about some environmental factors which should be taken into account in explaining the behavior of the organisms, or about the contextual factors which might be important. In this theory, the organism-environment system is not a system consisting of the organism and the environment, but rather a monistic methodological principle.
I thank Ms. Suzy McAnsh for her helpful reading of this reply.
Gold I (1999) "Do efferent effects on sensory receptors show that there is no organism-environment distinction?" PSYCOLOQUY 10(017) http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?10.017 ftp://ftp.princeton.edu/pub/harnad/Psycoloquy/1999.volume.10/ psyc.99.10.017.efference-knowledge.15.gold
Jarvilehto T (1998a) "Efferent influences on receptors in knowledge formation." PSYCOLOQUY 9(41) http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?9.41 ftp://ftp.princeton.edu/pub/harnad/Psycoloquy/1998.volume.9/ psyc.98.9.41.efference-knowledge.1.jarvilehto
Jarvilehto T (1998b) "What is a machine?" PSYCOLOQUY 9(79) http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?9.79 ftp://ftp.princeton.edu/pub/harnad/Psycoloquy/1998.volume.9/ psyc.98.9.79.efference-knowledge.5.jarvilehto
Jarvilehto T (1998c) "The theory of the organism-environment system: I.Description of the theory." Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science, 33, 317-330.
Jarvilehto T (1998d) "The theory of the organism-environment system: