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This is the context:

So there's two ways of thinking about ethics and one is outcomes-based. Only utilitarianism-consequentialism. And another way of thinking about what we as selves and persons care about goes beyond just happiness maximizes an outcome, but the kind of processes we live our life through. Are we autonomous, are we agents? And I would say even more than autonomy and agency, what is our relationality? How we relate to others and how to others, how we encounter others and make decisions and be with others?

Source: The evolution of Consciousness. Panel Discussion at the WEF Annual Meeting.

So, I have a few questions.

First question:

"And another way of thinking about what we as selves and persons care about goes beyond just happiness maximizes an outcome, but the kind of processes we live our life through."

This sentence, I think, has a very poor structure. What is the meaning of "through" in this part? Does it mean "via or by" or does it mean "the processes that we live with them in our lifetime? My take on it is this: another way of thinking about what...care about... is the kind of processes by which we live our lives.

Second question:

"And I would say even more than autonomy and agency".

Does it mean that I would say that there are some processes that are more important than autonomy and agency?

Third question:

What is the meaning of "relationality" in this context? Does it mean having relationships with others?

Fourth question:

I always have problem with the word "relate". In this context, does it mean that how we make relationships with others or how our relationships with others are?

  • These are complex concepts which are poorly expressed (the grammar / syntax is highly suspect in many respects, AND I don't think the semantic content is very clearly presented either). Partly that's because the cited text is "off the cuff" speech, but the net result is you probably shouldn't spend too much time analyzing it in detail. And who exactly is the speaker? Is it even a native Anglophone? – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Dec 5 '19 at 14:29
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As mentioned in the comments, the whole piece has very poor grammar and syntax. It appears to be a transliteration of a discussion, so it wasn't written by the author, but rather spoken in informal language. People are often not thinking about grammar or correct language when they're speaking without preparation.

  1. Grammatically, this is talking about 'the kinds of processes through which we live our lives'. This doesn't make sense. We don't say, 'we live our lives through processes'. Your idea has the right grammar but it's not common to say, 'we live our lives by processes', either. The specific 'processes' mentioned are a choice around our level of autonomy, and how we relate to others, which are not processes, but choices. So, a better way of saying it would be

And another way of thinking about what we as selves and persons care about goes beyond just 'happiness maximizes an outcome', but the kinds of choices we make about how to live our lives.

  1. Your interpretation is correct

  2. 'Relationality' is an unusual word. Wiktionary says it means, 'the state or condition of being relational'. Merriam-Webster doesn't have a definition for it online. The speaker explains what they mean by it in the next sentence. There's a mistake in that sentence that makes it even more confusing.

How we relate to others and how to others, how we encounter others and make decisions and be with others.

I would have suggested, 'What is our approach to relating?'

  1. I would say 'relate' in this context means how we conduct ourselves in relationships with others.
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    You really nailed it. That number 1 sentence is very, very strange. I don't know if this is what it actually means: "We don't just care about maximizing our happiness, but also about the kinds of choices we make throughout our lives." Very difficult text. – AIQ Dec 6 '19 at 2:55
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    Thanks, @AIQ. I can't tell what it means, honestly. I didn't think about your suggestion, but it's possible that's what's meant. It makes a much better sentence! – dwilli Dec 6 '19 at 3:03

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