Australian General Semantics Society Inc.




Seminar Summary - 19th July 2015



Decision Making and Ethics

A Revision of some familiar principles,
and exploration of the ethical dimensins
of some generaal-semantics formulations.

Ed MacNeals Decision Making Master Atlas relating to Ethics,
and maybe some applications of the decision making formulations.

Led by Mr David Hewson

GS Diary
In the spirit of "applying general semantics principles" to our lives, as opposed to dwelling in theory, we considered members' accounts of observations and applications relating to the principles and formulations of our discipline.

Warm up exercise

We reviewed work on Happiness formulations like Korzybski’s expectation theory of E1, E2 & E3. We also covered some of the latest happiness research and analysed it with GS formulations. We related it to “Flow” and some ideas in “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Our introduction to Ethics cover the GS formulations useful for the discussing Ethics like projection. Demonstrations included spinning disks and looking at what white really is on a TV.

Since Ethics covers making decisions, we reviewed the theory of Demalogics as written in Ed McNeal’s “Master Atlas of Decision Making”. We considered some levels:

... 1. Parts of a decision,
... 2. Demalogical types: Ethics related to responsive demalogic.
. . . . . . .We also looked at goal, absolute, action comparative, originative and scorecard demalogics.
... 4. Transformative, Recursive and Allocative demalogics.
... 5. Reciprocal and Mutual demalogics.

For an application we looked at complaints in relationships by demalogic type.

Then we reviewed “Operational Philosophy” by Rapoport, to discuss operational ethics. This included:
* Ethics is about what choice is good. So it only applies if there is a choice.
* What can science help with? Finding “Invariant needs” and what means best helps get what end.

We quickly discussed “Ethical relativism” and that societies often turn means into ends. They use different means to meet the basic ends and so finish up with different ends. These often clash with those of a different society.

Examples of clashing systems: ethics of retribution; ethics of activism; ethics of resignation.

We did not quite get around to discussing “Errors in Ethics” or debating some of the big questions in Ethics as posited in “Ethics: The Big questions” by J Baggini.

Business Meeting

The usual: Plans for the year: Dates and places of meetings, international liaisons, finances etc.

Next Meeting:

Sun Aug 16
" Health"
Something of interest to us all!
Location: Bonnet Bay (Sydney)
to be led by the healthy, wealthy and wise Pauline!

WritingThis is a "living document", subject to ongoing evolution as recollections re-emerge from our memories of the event, and are re-evaluated in light of ongoing experience and reflection.  It will never be "the full truth and nothing but the truth", or "a map that expresses everyone's notion of the territory"!

Disclaimer: This "summary" is a collection of notes derived from our discussion by a number of means.  It is by no means a scholarly dissertation on the subject as presented.  It does not purport to be the "policy of AGS".  Comment and criticism (constructive or otherwise) is welcome.  If anyone has been misquoted, copyrights infringed or confidences betrayed, please Contact us.



Updated by RJ 20 July 2015

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