Thanks for your post; comments below,
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ali Hashemi
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Self
Interest Ontology going offline
I have two comments. One, a meta-observation about
keeping the discussion on topic, and the other about your request about how to
You have previously suggested that some on the list
object to the discussion of politics, I can only speak for myself... I don't
mind the use of examples from politics to motivate or ground discussions, what
I find irritating are snippets like what's quoted below:
On Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 11:01 PM, Rich Cooper <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
justifications are legendary. Look at the Keynesian policies, which have
not worked. Look at QE1, QE2, the possible QE3 to come, and the onerous taxes on businesses that are so high, they
won't bring home money made in other countries due to the
high tax rates?
Opinions such as this are peppered in your
contributions which are, imo, laden with value judgments that are not related
to the matter at hand. I fail to see how these paragraphs offer anything in
terms of working towards a self-interest ontology. Rather, I see someone
asserting unfounded opinion as fact. Sometimes, when this is becomes rather
egregious, someone might chime in with a correction. To wit, see this piece
written by a high-profile, wealthy individual that directly contradicts your
previous opinions masquerading as fact re income tax ( http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html?_r=2 ).
You could be right about this; I haven’t
exactly gotten the list to see eye-to-eye, and I do agree that what I have
posted are definitely my own opinions, as other posts to “correct”
them have been the opinions of the “correcting” posters. But “unfounded”?
I disagree on that adjective, and believe that my opinion is well shared by
economists who have NOT bought into the Keynesian theories, or who have
realized that Keynes was only a theoretician without grounding.
Economists who have no background in
actually practicing the theories, of course, disagree with the others. Paul
Krugman, for example, continues to preach Keynesian doctrine, while Art Laffer,
a far better analyst IMHO, seems convinced by the Hayek viewpoint, and by the experienced
view of other more practitioners who aren’t as enamored of theory as to
lose sight of actual data.
So, as far as I go, I'm not averse to using political
examples for ontology-related purposed -- I do tire of seeing a particular
individual's political opinions (in
my opinion, demonstrably false, and in fact, adding to a larger environment of
misinformation) fill the list, especially when
the relation to ontology is tenuous. What makes it particularly frustrating is
that for someone else to come in
and correct these statements means that the discussion veers further away from ontology.
Do you see why some people would object to such emails and hence the pleading
to exercise more judgment before sending a note?
Yes, and I think you have a point. My
attempt to relate these issues to the self interest ontology hasn’t
succeeded, and may only have opened up more nonessential, nonproductive
discussions. Would you like to contribute a post that you see as more directed
to the issue, perhaps using Maslow’s ideas as a basis?
[RC] Does anyone have a suggestion on how to proceed in
light of our differences?
Comments, suggestions, constructive ontolog
fragments will be appreciated.
I can see why you, based in a Randian outlook,
Whoa, I am not a Randian, having not found
her belief system all that appealing. She grounds her theories solely in
selfishness, not in enlightened self interest. I wouldn’t want to live
in her world. I believe in more beneficence in political measures, not solely
in selfishness, which she elevated beyond all other considerations.
Instead, I believe that the Richard’s,
Avril’s and Azamat’s emergence ideas are more appropriate to
operating a country of diverse self interests, and that those measures will nearly
always work to the benefit of all citizens – but not always. I subscribe
to the libertarian view that government only concentrates power in those who
seek it, for whatever reason, and that the wisdom of the crowd is much more
potent and effective than the wisdom of some “representative”
government. You may remember many posts back, that I was suggesting the use of
a wider participation in choosing how money is spent, and how regulations are drawn,
by enlisting the internet as a method for providing government direction
instead of a very small elite elected group. 300 million people are wiser than
435+100+2, in my opinion.
would begin with self-interest. You might want to
consider refocusing on the broader idea of "motivations", whereby
self-interest is just one of many types of motivations that drive human (or
I shared two sources which imo are a good grounding
points and I'll add a third.
The updated Maslow based hierarchy provides a good
starting point for individual human motivations . It also explicitly takes
into account how people have differing motivations depending on their physical,
social and life-stage context.
Maslow does list motivations I consider
major contributions to self interest.
Jonathan Haidt and others work on the origins and
variations of morality, provide another useful avenue into how various values
and value-systems come to drive motivations, especially at the social-group
I find “moral” statements to
be just as much personal opinions as the ones I and others have posted here.
Morality, IMHO, is in the mind of the moralizer, and doesn’t translate
well into facts and rules for OTHERS to follow. The study of morality is
useful for those of us who want to determine our own morality, but should not
be used as a basis for law, other than stopping catastrophically immoral
actions, such as violent ones and imposing value judgments into law.
Neither posits an explicitly political stance, and the
vocabulary deployed in each, can be used to describe what you see as
conflicting political opinions.
George Lakoff, in his book Moral Politics  also provides an interesting
perspective for how the community or social organizations can be viewed.
According to Avril and Richard's language, it is at a slightly higher level of
description than an immediate ontology of self-interest or motivation.
Thanks, I’ll take a look at the
Lakoff reference you posted below.
However, he does provide quite explicit mappings for
common (American) political stances, which are derived from a "Nation as
Family" metaphor. For example, in that book he posits that
"Conservatives" often employ the "Strict Father Metaphor"
for how a society should function, whereas "Liberals" prefer a
"Nurturant Parent" metaphor. While both perspectives draw on the same
set of metaphors regarding morality and growth, they order them differently,
leading to conflicting policy prescriptions. So that too might be another
avenue to reconcile the apparent differences you note.
Thanks for the references; I am still
waiting to view the videos you recommended, and looking forward to more
targeted discussions that could lead to the self interest ontology, and perhaps
to its use in a widely based form of managing government than the existing
ones, which were formed in an age of difficult geographic barriers, now not
significant obstacles to widespread participation.
 Douglas T. Kenrick, Vladas Griskevicius, Steven L. Neuberg and Mark
Schaller. Renovating the Pyramid of
Needs : Contemporary Extensions Built Upon Ancient Foundation. Perspectives
on Psychological Science 2010 5: 292 - http://www.csom.umn.edu/assets/144040.pdf
 Haidt, J., & Kesebir, S. (2010). Morality. In
S. Fiske, D. Gilbert, & G. Lindzey (Eds.) Handbook of Social Psychology,
5th Edition. Hobeken, NJ: Wiley. Pp. 797-832.