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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ali SH <asaegyn+out@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2011 17:11:19 -0500
Message-id: <CADr70E3RtQQuTss4rKGQVDW2KgeNG_4=axAjQNpTsmY+edhDxA@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Rich,

[AH] Any account of self interest that ignores how power, information and access mitigate or effect it will be missing a big piece of the puzzle.


[RC] seems reasonable, but that part is not self interest; it is the set of choices that are available to each individual.  Generally, the wider and more comprehensive the set of available choices, the better the individual can find a choice to maximize her self interest.  Think of the difference between potential (i.e. voltage) and actual (i.e. current) – both are needed to actually implement a choice, but knowing which choice of the available ones to make is the issue of self interest. 


Power, information and access are, as you point out, major influences on the outcome of anybody’s self interest when actually applied.  But I am still working on the more modest goal of how to understand and represent self interest in an effective way.  I will worry about the available choices after I get a workable model of self interest. 

Two or three emails ago you seemed to suggest that you are interested in "PERCEIVED" self interest.

It is in that vein that I followed through, and am suggesting that the perception of available power, access and the information that is available to someone factors quite directly into their perceived self-interest. Yes they are fundamental to how self-interest ever gets realized, but it is also very relevant to how it comes to be known, understood and thought of

So I'm not sure which it is -- abstract self interest divorced from the social realities in which it is shaped and manifested; or situated self-interest, including the person (and various social groups), alongside all the factors and relations and constraints that shape, limit and otherwise influence how people perceive their potential self-interests are. 


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