Do you know your own self-interest?

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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prof
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Do you know your own self-interest?

Post by prof » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:49 pm

What is in your self-interest? Would a world to live in with less poverty and with more ethical people be in your self-interest? Would it reduce the threat to your health and safety? Would it enable you to not merely survive, but even to flourish?

Would you not flourish more if you gained value in your life? If yes, then let’s investigate: what is this thing called “value”? And how do we gain more of it?
If I start describing a rug on the floor, and I go on and on about it, giving it so much attention, you are justified in inferring that I find value in that rug! Each adjective I use to describe it attributes another property to the rug. If I asked you to describe to me your mother or your best-friend, you wouldn’t know where to begin – because, for you, there are so many properties there! It turns out that “value” is a function of properties: the more properties an individual finds in something, the more likely that it has some value for that individual. To get more value, we add properties, we go in the direction of Life. And when we subtract properties we go in the direction of death. No properties, zero value.

Everybody loves a bargain! When we speak of a bargain, we call it “a value.” So why not optimize the amount of value we get in our lives? Why not’ squeeze every drop’ of value possible out of life? How arrange this? What can we do?

One way is – in our personal interactions – to make everyone involved feel like a winner. Let the encounter be one in which you create value, and have it be mutually beneficial: you boost someone up, make someone smile, offer a sincere compliment, show heartfelt appreciation, give the other person recognition, listen intently, show courtesy, offer respect, etc. On a larger scale we take steps to reduce poverty and misery, we help people find meaningful work to do if they are out of work, we volunteer to serve by taking on a responsibility, and we are ready to be accountable that we aimed for excellence in our performance.

In every situation we look to see how we can add value. And that is in our true self-interest. A better world is in our self-interest. Thus the question arises: What actually is your conception of ‘a better world’? And if I, along with others, agree on that ideal you have, what are the steps that help us get there? If we arrive at a consensus on what we all concur is a worthwhile goal, then what steps lead to it, and how do we implement those steps with a minimum expenditure of time, energy and capital? How do we efficiently begin the process? Those are the relevant questions, the ones of top priority. So let’s get busy on it. 8)

One more observation…. Selfishness is not in our self-interest. Neither is impulsiveness rather than long-range consideration. It is in our best interest to think long-term as well as short-term. Being selfish violates ethics. When we have a “me-first” attitude, and we worship money as a god, we are being selfish.

Ethics makes for harmonious interactions, while selfishness causes friction and hard feelings. In my life I must be careful to avoid selfishness! In the popular media self-interest is often confused with selfishness but they are polar opposites.

It is in our self-interest to employ means compatible with out ends-in-view.
If we want love in our life, use loving means. If we want peace, use peaceful means, that is, live peaceably. Harm no one intentionally.. On a personal level, maintain serenity; on a social level “sign non-aggression pacts” so to speak, with everyone. Call no one your “enemy.” Regard every stranger as a friend – until you understand that there are no strangers. Seek to understand the other person. Consider each individual as highly-valuable. That is what it takes to be ethical. Those who believe that "the end justifies the means" and the means they will use are morally-questionable are just deceiving themselves. They will inhabit a world that they cannot fully admire. Their progeny will not be proud of the mess their forebears left them.

The content of this link, entitled SUCCESSFUL LIVING: How to have a quality life (2016), made me think and reflect on ethics and morality, even though I could not find either of these words in the brief paper. Can you? Here is the link:
http://www.myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/Su ... 20life.pdf
After checking it out, let's hear your feedback !

What do you think? Do you have any comments or any questions relevant to this post?
Last edited by prof on Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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henry quirk
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"What do you think?"

Post by henry quirk » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:41 pm

That my self-interest is just that, my interest in (preserving and furthering) my self.

That my self-interest inevitably puts me at odds with other folks who are also self-interested.

That this unavoidable conflict is founded in each of us having idiosyncratic notions of what is best to preserve and further us, as individuals and as groups of individuals.

That this conflict can never be resolved but only muted or deferred.

That schemes to make folks better are doomed to fail.

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Re: "What do you think?"

Post by prof » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:20 pm

henry quirk wrote:That my self-interest is just that, my interest in (preserving and furthering) my self.

That my self-interest inevitably puts me at odds with other folks who are also self-interested.

That this unavoidable conflict is founded in each of us having idiosyncratic notions of what is best to preserve and further us, as individuals and as groups of individuals.

That this conflict can never be resolved but only muted or deferred.

That schemes to make folks better are doomed to fail. (Emphasis added)
I agree with your first statement, Henry.

I wonder. Would those who studied Philosophy, or who are philosophers, be likely not to use terms such as "inevitably" or "never"? After all, Never is a long, long time.

Has Henry added value? Has he responded to any of the early questions raised in the o.p.?

Is paranoia good to avoid? Why is this individual "at odds" with everyone else?? For everyone operates from self-interest due to the wiring in the human brain.

Was the distinction between "selfishness" and "self-interest" made clearly enough?

Does disagreement have to be conflict?

With a proven record of success, Axiogenics.com as well as other Life Coaches are consistently "making people better." Their "schemes" are working to improve lives. Could H.Q. possibly be wrong in some of his views??

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:02 pm

"Could H.Q. possibly be wrong in some of his views??"

Yep. Same as you.

Thing is: I don't think I am...pretty sure you don't think you are.

Pretty safe bet neither of us will be moved by the other.

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Do you know your own self-interest?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:31 pm

prof wrote:Would you not flourish more if you gained value in your life? If yes, then let’s investigate: what is this thing called “value”? And how do we gain more of it?
If I start describing a rug on the floor, and I go on and on about it, giving it so much attention, you are justified in inferring that I find value in that rug! Each adjective I use to describe it attributes another property to the rug. If I asked you to describe to me your mother or your best-friend, you wouldn’t know where to begin – because there are so many properties there! It turns out that “value” is a function of properties: the more properties, the more value. To get more value, we add properties, we go in the direction of Life. And when we subtract properties we go in the direction of death. No properties, zero value.
You are quite obviously applying value judgement in advance of your 'discovery' by selecting the properties to count. Your mother does not have more properties than equal quantity of dirt would have. She simply has more properties that you value.

A simple count of 'properties' is not going to make ethics a domain of science. Your project cannot succeed.

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Re: Do you know your own self-interest?

Post by Dalek Prime » Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:15 am

Marketing and adverts seek to subvert ones self-interest, and replace it with theirs.

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Re: Do you know your own self-interest?

Post by prof » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:56 am

FlashDangerpants wrote:
prof wrote:Would you not flourish more if you gained value in your life? If yes, then let’s investigate: what is this thing called “value”? And how do we gain more of it?
If I start describing a rug on the floor, and I go on and on about it, giving it so much attention, you are justified in inferring that I find value in that rug! Each adjective I use to describe it attributes another property to the rug. If I asked you to describe to me your mother or your best-friend, you wouldn’t know where to begin – because there are so many properties there! It turns out that “value” is a function of properties: the more properties, the more value. To get more value, we add properties, we go in the direction of Life. And when we subtract properties we go in the direction of death. No properties, zero value.
... mother does not have more properties than equal quantity of dirt would have. .
Really?!

You seem, Flash, to be unaware of the complexity of a living organism as compared with a material thing. If I came upon someone who Intrinsically values dirt (as I Intrinsically value both you and my mother) then I begin to wonder: Why is he or she so focused on dirt? Is it an obsession? ...A fetish? What?

[To I-value, by Hartman's definition, is to find a practical infinity of properties - in theory, it would be aleph-one.) In actual practice, in real life, to conceive, perceive, or experience all those properties, one gives one's full attention to what is being valued; the valuer, or judge, assessor, forms a continuum with that which is being valued ...one can't tell where the valuer leaves off and the item or person being valued begins: they form one gestalt, one wholeness.

See the article "Science of Value" in Wiki; it explains these points in a bit more depth. However, a clearer explanation is found in Katz - BASIC ETHICS. http://tinyurl.com/mfcgzfz

Also see : https://www.hartmaninstitute.org/axiologyasascience/

.

FlashDangerpants
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Re: Do you know your own self-interest?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:24 pm

You are just taking two infinite numbers and saying one is larger than the other because it is comprised of more important things. You are failing to notice that the importance is an evaluative judgment.

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Re: Do you know your own self-interest?

Post by prof » Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:55 am

FlashDangerpants wrote:You are just taking two infinite numbers and saying one is larger than the other because it is comprised of more important things. You are failing to notice that the importance is an evaluative judgment.
Do you agree that the number of points in q continuous line segment is larger than the number of integers in the set of integers? {Why even the set of non-repeating decimal fractions is larger than the set of integers !}

Are you not employing the word "important" as a synonym for the word "value"? And if so, are you adding any new information? Are you revealing anything about the structure of value? It seems you are not.

In contrast, if you read through the Hartman article, a link to which was offered at the bottom of the last post by yours truly, you will learn an enormous amount about the structure of value.

Thus it all hinges upon whether you want to learn about Value Theory approached in a systematic way, and how much effort you want to put into learning something new that - it is predictable -you will later (once learned) designate as "important."

Aster carefully studying the early pages of BASIC ETHICS, to find out more as to how the Dimensions of Value are constructed, and correlated with measures for those dimensions, you will then be interested to learn how the word "important" becomes a well-defined term in the system. Formally, it is defined as Intrinsic significance. You will understand and grasp what this means when you know more about Intrinsic valuation - which you will get from those first ten pages. If you already know Phenomenology, you will recognize the close resemblance to what Husserl designated as "Intentionality."

Any comments or questions?

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Post by henry quirk » Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:26 pm

Hey, Prof, what if a jackass like myself refuses to abide by your or Hartman's notions of what constitutes 'value'? What if such a person digs in his heels and asserts 'I'll damn well decide for myself what or who is or isn't valuable and I'll do so by my own standards, thank you very much.' What happens then?

I ask cuz very often folks (technocrats and such) believe if they codify what they believe to be rational then others have no choice but to 'see the light' and convert. Never works out that way, though. Purges and 're-education' usually pop up somewhere on the menu. Just wonder where such things appear on yours.

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Re: Do you know your own self-interest?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:58 pm

prof wrote:Are you not employing the word "important" as a synonym for the word "value"? And if so, are you adding any new information? Are you revealing anything about the structure of value? It seems you are not.
You are missing the point. To put it bluntly, you are presenting a circular argument and it must therefore be wrong.

You said:
“value” is a function of properties

You are therefore trying to establish a blunt quantitative basis for all ethics based on a Value which is derived by nothing but a count of properties.

You don't get to choose which properties count for more than other properties because that is a value judgment and you cannot have any of those at the start of your argument, it can only be allowed at the conclusion.


I didn't pick my equivalent pile of dirt to use as an example by accident. I have read the first few pages of that Katz thing before and spotted this problem immediately because it is glaringly obvious. Katz's use of abstract geometry in place of solid things in that argument is misdirection. The things he is telling you to Value are objects not shapes. I couldn't care less if you can prove that a geometric shape has more properties than an abstract sequence of numbers - it matters none much.

The difference in the number properties a pile of dirt holds and the number of properties a person holds is not quantifiable - if you have any imagination at all, both have an infinite number of properties. The difference in their properties lies in type. You cannot account for types of property in your argument without imposing Values illegitimately early.

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Post by henry quirk » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:25 pm

Let's make it concrete...

A bit of dirt may be very valuable to me...I can grow vegetables in it, vegetables that can get me through the day.

Your ma may be worthless to me...she yaps away, sez nuthin'...she expects me to feed her my vegetables but she didn't plant 'em and when I ask her to at least go pluck a few offa the vine for herself, she grouses about it.

If value is what I invest, what I impart, tell me, which is more valuable to me?

The soil I use as instrument to further myself, or, the decrepit nag who does nuthun' but kvetch and eat?

You'd have me believe your ma has some inherent, scientifically provable, value, but I just ain't seein' it.

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Re:

Post by prof » Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:38 am

henry quirk wrote:Let's make it concrete... which is more valuable to me?

The soil I use as instrument to further myself, or, the decrepit nag who does nuthun' but kvetch and eat?

You'd have me believe your ma has some...value, but I just ain't seein' it.
Hi, Henry

Tue. You're not seeing it.
What you are missing is what ethics is all about. The "me" attitude versus the "we" attitude; selfishness and self-contentedness versus the ethical qualities of kindness, service, cooperativeness, altruism, reciprocity, win/win relationships, respectfulness, the advancement of human rights and potentials for moral growth and development, etc. Historically, these, along with honesty, truthfulness, self-integration, integrity, and authenticity are qualities associated with ethical concepts.

If one gets centered, probes deeply into his inner life, he eventually gets to the enlightened place where he can differentiate between his Extrinsic value, that is, the roles that he plays (such as teacher, parent, forum participant, barber, janitor, engineer, professional, etc.) and his Intrinsic value. When he arrives at that point he understands and embraces: unity in diversity, out of many, one [e pluribus unum], we are all in this together, and it is in my self-interest to make things better for you (and vice versa). He then identifies with all individuals, feels that nobody is a stranger, is at home in the world, and at peace with himself, enjoys and celelebrates the day he was born, has great empathy and sensistivity to other fellow members of (at least) the human species. He has sincerity, authenticity, and unconditional forgiving love, appreciation, hope, and over-flowing gratitude.

To learn more about Intrinsic Value, and what correlates with it, see pp. 64-66, which is End Note 4 of A Unified Theory of Ethics.
http://www.myqol.com/wadeharvey/A%20UNI ... ETHICS.pdf - .

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Re: Do you know your own self-interest?

Post by prof » Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:13 am

FlashDangerpants wrote:... you are presenting a circular argument and it must therefore be wrong.

You said:
“value” is a function of properties

You are therefore trying to establish a blunt quantitative basis for all ethics based on a Value which is derived by nothing but a count of properties.

You don't get to choose which properties count for more than other properties because that is a value judgment and you cannot have any of those at the start of your argument, it can only be allowed at the conclusion.

Greetings, FlashDangerpants:

While I agree with the rest of what you wrote here, the first sentence in the above quotation expresses a mistaken impression. The misunderstanding of my position will clear up when some additional reading is done.

You will find my basic assumption on p. 7 here:
http://wadeharvey.myqol.com/wadeharvey/ ... Course.pdf
The entire theory flows from that.

Have you perused the first chapter ofBasic Ethics here?
http://tinyurl.com/mfcgzfz
See especially pp. 5-9. There you will learn how the three basic value dimensions are rigorously derived, and how they are precisely defined.

You will note that hey correlate with the three basic kinds of concepts that Kant tells us about in his book, Logik, namely, constructs, abstracts, and unique singulars.

Constructs are posited constructions of the mind. Abstracts are categories and classifications abstracted from reality. Singulars are individuals having individuality, and are in a class by themselves, a unit-class. We give them proper names. The field of Ethics arises when we Intrinsically-value them. {Husserl, in his Phenomenolgy, spoke of this process as 'Intentionality.'}

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Re:

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:37 am

henry quirk wrote:Let's make it concrete...

A bit of dirt may be very valuable to me...I can grow vegetables in it, vegetables that can get me through the day.

Your ma may be worthless to me...she yaps away, sez nuthin'...she expects me to feed her my vegetables but she didn't plant 'em and when I ask her to at least go pluck a few offa the vine for herself, she grouses about it.

If value is what I invest, what I impart, tell me, which is more valuable to me?

The soil I use as instrument to further myself, or, the decrepit nag who does nuthun' but kvetch and eat?

You'd have me believe your ma has some inherent, scientifically provable, value, but I just ain't seein' it.
But does yo mamma suck u?

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