Question: What are "spiritual" values? In your recent discussion of "Materialism in Marriage," you talked about the importance of "spiritual values." However, I found that confusing, since I've always associated "spirituality" with religion, often of the woozy variety. So what are spiritual values? How are they different from material values? Why are they important?
Question: Does a person deserve extra moral praise for acting rightly despite strong contrary emotions? How does overcoming strong emotions in order to do the right thing (or refrain from doing the wrong thing) factor into morally judging a person? If person A has no emotional conflict and thus does the right thing more or less "effortlessly," while person B takes the same correct action despite strong emotional motivation to act otherwise, does person B deserve any extra moral credit for the amount of emotional or mental effort he made? Or is moral judgment to be made solely on the basis of actions, with internal mental effort being irrelevant?
Subjects Discussed: * The basics of a healthy romantic relationship * The role of sex in a romantic relationship * Common problem #1: mind-reading * Common problem #2: altruistic sex * Common problem #3: lack of variety * Common problem #4: isolating sex from the rest of the relationship * How to deal with problems in your romantic relationship * The effect of religion on a person's sexuality * The moral dimensions of sex * "50 Shades of Grey" * Passivity in dating * The importance of a good romantic relationship..
Question: What is happiness? When philosophers such as Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, and Ayn Rand speak of happiness, what do they mean? Is happiness just a fleeting sensation of pleasure? Or is it something more enduring and stable?
Question: Is it moral to smoke, drink, or eat unhealthy foods if one recognizes the costs of doing so? Suppose a friend makes a deliberate decision to eat foods he know to be unhealthy (such as frequent sugary desserts). He knows that it might harm his health, but he says that the personal enjoyment and satisfaction outweigh the risk of shortened lifespan and possible future harmful health effects. In other words, he claims he is making a rational choice to maximize his overall happiness. Is that moral?
Subjects Discussed: * The problem with guilty pleasures * Techniques for dealing with guilty pleasures * Sugar as my guilty pleasure * Asking for help when overwhelmed with a new baby * Staying up too late surfing the internet * Snapping at people when in a bad mood.
Question: It is wrong to pursue self-destructive pleasures? Suppose that you know that drinking to excess is not good for your mind or body, but you want to enjoy the oblivion of drunkenness. Or perhaps you know that sleeping with your ex-girlfriend is a very bad idea, but you want the pleasure of sex with a warm body. Is it wrong to pursue these pleasures, if you're willing to accept their destructive consequences?
Question: What's wrong with hedonism? What's the difference between "rational selfishness" and hedonism? What's wrong with attempting to maximize pleasure over the course of a whole life?