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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology of Self Interest

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 10:30:17 -0700
Message-id: <D0F58BF6F15141F5B43454469735BBC9@Gateway>
Dear John and Doug,    (01)

If we use bacteria to get started, should the
first partition of nil be into Self (the acting
bacterium Doug called A) and Others, (the acted
upon bacteria, or the environment acted upon,
which Doug called B)?      (02)

If so, then Others can be further subdivided into
these two: potentially ActiveOthers (i.e., other
bacteria, other life forms, the bacterial film),
or environmentally InactiveOthers, for example
chemical objects or impeding objects, such as
teeth, saliva, etc.      (03)

So far, we have:    (04)

This provides a structure to organize actions by A
on either neutral objects or objects with
feelings.  For example, we can consider other
people to be descendants of ActiveOthers and the
(possibly polluted) environment to represent
InactiveOthers.      (05)

I have chosen a circle to render ANDs and not a
circle to render ORs.  I have chosen bold italic
font to represent concept names.      (06)

Can we agree on this top level trichotomy, or do
we need to discuss other options to reach
agreement at the top level?    (07)

How would you represent the toothbrush - active or
inactive?  How about the toothpaste?    (08)

Taking the first baby steps,
-Rich    (09)

Rich Cooper
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2    (010)

-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of John F. Sowa
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 9:55 AM
To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontology of Self
Interest    (011)

Doug and Rich,    (012)

The issues about governments, which led to
complaints about discussing
political issues, have exact counterparts in
social interactions of
any kind.  To make this discussion less
controversial, I suggested
that we start with the simpler issues about
bacterial colonies.    (013)

But I recognize that many people find it hard to
see the connections
between tooth plaque and international politics.
So I suggest that
we look at human interactions at several levels:
nuclear families
(mom, pop, & kids); small tribes (dozens of
related people, such as
primitive societies, villages, small businesses,
schools, etc.);
larger tribes (towns, universities, and medium
businesses); and
nation states (countries and multinational
corporations).    (014)

> Socialists show empathy to the non-powerful in
> while libertarians oppose a "nanny state" and
feel that
> everyone should fend for themselves.    (015)

Generalizations at that level will never lead to
an ontology.
It's more instructive to analyze specific
examples.  For a
small socialist example (tribe level), look at a
kind of community, such as the Amish.  They're
but they have minimal government.    (016)

If you want a larger example, you can look at the
old Soviet Union
(which could be more accurately described as a
Tsarist bureaucracy
with the role of Tsar relabeled as 'Party
Chairman').    (017)

> The way different classes of people rank
trade-offs needs to be
> modeled.  One person may say, "my right to swing
my fist ends where
> your nose begins", while another might restrict
that right within
> one meter of his body.    (018)

That's a better issue to address.  But before you
can discuss
it, you need an ontology for 'trade-off', 'right',
and 'body'
as well as all the subsidiary terms needed to
define them.    (019)

> Is the top node in the lattice partitioned into
value systems or
> into behaviors, or are both involved in the top
partition, the
> reduction of the nil top node to the next level
down?    (020)

That is getting closer to the level needed.  But
before you can
talk about value systems, you need to define
'value' and how values
are related to modality (may, can, must, should,
would, could).    (021)

And before you can talk about 'behavior', you need
an ontology
for actions, purposes, purposive actions, and
various kinds of
patterns of actions and responses.    (022)

> How do the values and behaviors interact to
support or contradict
> each other?  What facts are sufficient to make
an unambiguous
> constructive proof for any of our opposing
assertions posted so far?    (023)

Those are important questions, but they begin to
cross the line
between an ontology of the terms to a theory about
behavior.    (024)

Every ontology is a theory about the terms, but I
would not claim
that every theory is an ontology.  Some theories
use the terms
without changing their basic meanings.    (025)

To relate these issues to bacteria, I would
propose something
like Aristotle's hierarchy of psyches.  Unlike
Descartes, who
had a very sharp two-level distinction between
humans and other
animals, Aristotle started with a vegetative
psyche for plants;
a sensitive psyche for sponges and barnacles; a
locomotive psyche
for animals that move around; a psyche for animals
with higher
senses, especially vision; and a rational psyche
for humans.    (026)

When I talk about biosemiotics, I mean a
refinement of that
hierarchy to covers all life forms on earth -- and
the option
of generalizing it to cover extraterrestrial
aliens, artificial
life-like forms, and robots.    (027)

Generalizing the problem can actually *simplify*
the ontology
because it allows each level of the hierarchy to
be analyzed
separately and show how each feature interacts
with the others.    (028)

John    (029)

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