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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology: Emotions in animals

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 10:48:46 -0800
Message-id: <47B755941B974D1FA662061A53AA5DB3@Gateway>
Dear Doug and John,    (01)

Comments below,
-Rich    (02)

Rich Cooper
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2    (03)

-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of John F. Sowa
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 7:29 AM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest
Ontology: Emotions in animals    (04)

On 1/4/2012 12:40 AM, doug foxvog wrote:
> The attackers of Ft. Sumter must have perceived
the attack to be
> in their short-term self interest.    (05)

It most definitely was in their self interest.
The monetary value
of all the slaves in the South was greater than
the assets of all
the banks and other financial institutions in the
entire nation.    (06)

[RGC] I hadn't heard an estimate like that before.
Are you sure of your statement, i.e., is there
some financial measure of the time which showed
that, or is it a ball park estimate based on
probable justifications?    (07)

Remember that the manufacturing work was done in
the North at that time, and there was a strong
economic incentive for the North to pass laws to
close of the ports in the South on which the
entire Southern economy depended.  Closing the
ports would have devastated the Southern economy,
and that is the cause of strife that led the South
to secede from the North.      (08)

In any case, it was only AFTER these economic
issues drove the split that Lincoln wrote the
emancipation proclamation.  Slavery's immorality
was, as you outline below, the stated reason, not
the real reason.  That was part of the political
falsehoods used to justify drafting people in the
North to send South to fight.      (09)

The war ended when Sherman, with Lincoln's
approval, destroyed the civilian economy by
burning tens of thousands of square miles of
homes, crops, and killing livestock to leave the
Southern civilian population devastated.
Andersonville, a Georgia prison, had thousands of
Northern prisoners who were being reasonably well
fed prior to Sherman's actions.  After that, there
was no food even for civilians, so why would the
South feed the Northern invaders in preference to
their own civilian population of moms, dads, kids
and old folks left without food or resources to
get any.      (010)

There were indeed many people in the South who
held honorable motives.
But the people who held power had centuries of
experience in creating
plausible-sounding rationalizations for
manipulating public opinion.
That's the theme of the BBC documentaries.    (011)

[RGC] Yes, agreed.  But as Isaiah Berlin held, the
North and the South were both guilty of painting
political fantasies for their populations which
can only be described, as the current word has it,
as "disingenuous" instead of the word "lie" which
seems more honest a description, but holds
emotional connotations.      (012)

But Bismark cut through that smoke screen with one
pithy statement:
"Every man has two reasons, a good one and the
real one."    (013)

[RGC] and he really did mean "every man", not just
the few in politics who had a platform to persuade
prior to the advent of widespread technologies to
deliver information to people such as we have
today.      (014)

Long before Bismark, the old Latin question for
directing attention
to the real motive was "Cui bono?" (For whose
good?)    (015)

To keep this thread close to ontological issues, I
suggest that
we adopt that question as the guiding principle:
Cui bono?    (016)

[RGC] Thanks, that is a good suggestion.  But how
do we answer that predicate?  Each person acts to
bono the ones he prefers (genetically related
people by some theories) and to debono the ones he
intends to take property from.      (017)

That principle can be used to detect unconscious
motives, even
in plants and animals that don't have conscious
I recommend a recent PBS documentary based on the
book "Botany
of Desire.  A plants-eye view of the world":    (018)

    http://www.pbs.org/thebotanyofdesire/    (019)

[RGC] I saw that book, but not the BBC doc.
Thanks for the reference; I'll try to find a copy.    (020)

It starts with the old observation that bees and
flowers co-evolved
to serve their own self interests over a period of
about 160 million
years.  It then goes on to discuss how plants and
people have been
manipulating each other to serve their self
interests.  It focuses
on four species:  apples, tulips, cannabis, and
potatoes.    (021)

John    (022)

[RGC] Thanks for a well thought through
contribution,    (023)

-Rich    (024)

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