The topic indeed needs more focusing
and concentration but in the context of ontology, keeping away from politics,
economics, history, and all sorts of the mass media's sensations and
anecdotes, however amusing it might be. To proceed, the key things are requested, namely:
- To define the domains of self-interests
as biological reality, cognitive reality, or social reality.
- To see how the realities are interrelated
by actions and activities.
- To specify the system of related concepts
as selfishness, altruism, and unselfishness; motivation, need, or drive;
morality and immorality; intelligence and knowledge.
- To identify principal agents, forces,
causes, and behaviors, interactions and relationships in such
- To perform the ontological
cleaning of the enlightened self-interests and unenlightened self-interests;
people can only act in their own interests, people consider their needs,
desires, and well-being as priorities; people are obliged to help others,
people are obliged to pursue national interests, etc.
- To study the effects of greed or
unenlightened self-interests or rational selfishness, like the tragedy of
commons, when multiple individuals consulting their own self-interests destroy
the community, quality of life, common causes, public property, environment,
PS: Again, the issues like why the
mega-rich shed crocodile tears over the plight of America are more relevant to
social scientists, psychologists, moralists, politicians, and tax
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 8:45
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 move forward.
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>
Democrat 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
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
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?
As to your query:
Does anyone have a suggestion on how to proceed in
of our differences?
suggestions, constructive ontolog
will be appreciated.
I can see why you, based in a Randian outlook, 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 organism) action.
I shared two sources which imo are a good grounding points and I'll add a
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
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 setting.
Neither posits an explicitly political stance, and the vocabulary
deployed in each, can be used to describe what you see as conflicting
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. 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.
T. Kenrick, Vladas Griskevicius, Steven L. Neuberg and Mark
the Pyramid of Needs : Contemporary Extensions Built Upon Ancient
on Psychological Science 2010 5: 292 - http://www.csom.umn.edu/assets/144040.pdf
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.
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