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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 11:03:07 -0700
Message-id: <8DF9E5CD4639406AA620F7403A8FC9CC@Gateway>

Dear John,

Comments below,



Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2

-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2011 6:17 AM
To: '[ontolog-forum] '
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

      Rich, Matthew, Joanne,

      I deleted the phrase "going offline" in the title, since there is a strong interest in the topic.

I agree; it isn’t time yet, judging from the response today, but at some point people get offended with political discussions and perhaps those should be the part that is done offline when and if necessary


      > examples, including political ones, are needed to illustrate

      > points in self interest.

      There is nothing wrong with political examples.  The complaints

      were about details that get into contentious modern issues.

      There are plenty of historical examples that can be used --

      for example, the Federalist Papers about the US Constitution.

I don't see how opposing interests get balanced in the Federalist Papers, but instead more theoretical views are discussed based on the 18th century history, and the great education that Jefferson, Madison, and others enjoyed as wealthy people with plenty of leisure time.  It seems to me that more realistic examples are now available, and may be needed for meaningful knowledge to be encoded that is relevant to today.  But I will keep an open mind if you bring up the Federalists and their papers. 

      But to define SelfInterest, you need the concept of Self and

      Interest.  That requires a definition of Life, LivingThing,

      Purpose.  My suggestion to use semiotics would provide a good

      foundation that would include life as a special case of

      Animate, which would include intelligent machines.

Those are appealing concepts, and would seem to be at the top level of the lattice. 

      To define Government, you need the concept Community and many

      other issues.  So it will be a long time before we get to

      the Federalist Papers.  When we get there, the modern issues

      would be trivial extensions that can be taken offline.

Good plan.  But I think we need Family, Tribe, Common_Interest, Ad_Hoc_Groups, and other still higher level concepts before resorting to the ultimately necessary Government, with all its complexity of who represents whom, who is deeded powers to act, etc. 


      > Speaking of purposive action, the following paper and slide show

      > re AIXI would seem appropriate for controlling an agent interpreting

      > the ontology with evaluation of self interest.  The paper is at:


      > http://www.hutter1.net/ai/skcunai.pdf

      > and the slide show in PDF format is at

      > http://www.hutter1.net/ai/aixigentle.pdf

      That is Marcus Hutter's super general probabilistic AI.  Following

      is a quotation from the aixigentle.pdf paper:

      Marcus H:

      > Playing chess optimally or solving NP-complete problems become trivial,

      > but driving a car or surviving in nature don’t. This is because it is

      > a challenge itself to well-define the latter problems, not to mention

      > presenting an algorithm.

      In other words, he is ignoring all the issues of ontology and starting

      with a "pure" mathematical system.  I would apply George Polya's parody

      of the typical mathematician to what Hutter says:


      > This theory is so perfectly general that no particular application

      > of it is possible.

Agreed; Hutter's formulation is computation bound at t*l^2, and so might be another high level concept in the lattice.  But formulating specific applications of it will take elaborate tuning. 


      > I would be happy to be included in its continued discourse, but

      > would be even more delighted if the ontology focused on lower levels

      > of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, in terms of survival--with special

      > attention aimed at characterizing fitness as composed by a person's

      > trajectory toward desired metabolic, physical, emotional, cognitive

      > and ??? phenotypes.

      I would consider that more promising than starting with Hutter's theory.

But the problem with Maslow's list of needs (many disagree about the hierarchy), is that it doesn't illustrate the balanced nature of self interest, only the individual's needs, not the needs of groups, or especially of individuals and groups with opposing needs, which are all around us. 


      > I am interested in it from then perspective of motivation and incentives

      > for health related behaviors, and also what role the web plays and can

      > play in positively motivating a healthy self interest in health.

      Those are also important issues that bring in the concepts of Health,

      Behavior, Motivation, Role, RolePlaying, etc.

      Since I mentioned semiotics, I'll suggest a starting point that shows

      what I mean by semiotics.  For an overview, see pp. 3 to 9 of


          The Role of Logic and Ontology in Language and Reasoning

      I would also suggest many of the ideas in Cyc as a basis, but I would

      prefer to reorganize the Cyc categories along the lines of a Peircean

      style of semiotics.


Perhaps when Doug posts his draft of self interest ontology, the Peircean structuring of it can be discussed between you and him - another potentially opposing self interest pair. 

Thanks for a thoughtful response,



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