On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on conservative allies in politics, flunking a student, guilt about refusing requests, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Podcast: Conservative Allies, Grading Fairly, Unearned Guilt, and More

Listen or Download:

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been busy finalizing the proofs for Explore Atlas Shrugged this week. I had a great clinic with Eric Horgan last weekend, and I got second in my division at the event at Aspen Ridge yesterday. Paul and I are belatedly celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary with a few days of vacation next week.

Question 1: Conservative Allies in Politics (2:44)

In this segment, I answered a question on conservative allies in politics.

Aren’t politicians like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul allies in the struggle for liberty? Although I’m an atheist and a novice Objectivist, I’ve always wondered why so many advocates of individual rights oppose candidates and movements that seem to agree with us on a great many issues. Despite their other warts, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are the most likely men to promote our causes. The notion that they evangelize is dubious. And even if true, are there better alternatives today? I’ve also seen this attitude towards Libertarian candidates and their party. Ronald Reagan was the only President who advanced the ball towards free markets in the last fifty years, and yet people condemn him because of his position on abortion and because of his religious/political partnerships. I’ve never understood this. Shouldn’t we embrace the advocates of free markets out there today, even if not perfect?

My Answer, In Brief: The Republicans – including “better” Republicans like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul – are a dangerous mixture of some economic liberty, nationalism, and theocracy. Instead of discrediting liberty by supporting them, focus on the issues.

Listen or Download:

Links:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Flunking a Student (28:22)

In this segment, I answered a question on flunking a student.

Should a professor pass a student who deserved to flunk for fear of reprisals? Because you’ve taught at the university level, I want to ask you about integrity in grading as a professor. Suppose you flunked a student who never showed up to class and didn’t complete the assigned work adequately. However, this student was well-connected to university donors and administrators. After you flunked this student, suppose that a high-ranking administrator threatened reprisals against you if you didn’t give this student a passing grade. What should you do? Would it be corrupt to comply with the administrator’s demand? What might you (or another professor) do instead?

My Answer, In Brief: The professor should not degrade his integrity by passing the student. He should document everything and enlist the resources available at any respectable university to eliminate the problem.

Listen or Download:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 3: Guilt about Refusing Requests (37:51)

In this segment, I answered a question on guilt about refusing requests.

How can I overcome feelings of unearned guilt about refusing other people’s requests? Too often, I feel guilty when I shouldn’t – for example, for rejecting unwanted romantic advances or declining invitations to events with family or coworkers. Even though I know logically that I have the right to pursue my own values rather than satisfy the wishes of others, I feel terrible knowing that my actions will disappoint or upset someone else. Too often I succumb to the guilt: I agree to things I’d rather not because I don’t want to let someone else down. What philosophical or psychological strategies might I use for dealing with such unearned guilt?

My Answer, In Brief: To overcome feelings of unwarranted guilt at refusing requests from others, you need to retrain your emotions by always acting on your best rational judgment and reminding yourself of the relevant facts when you feel that guilt.

Listen or Download:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

In this segment, I answered a question on [[Q4TopicLower]].

Listen or Download:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions (54:41)

In this segment, I answered questions impromptu. The questions were:

  • Should customers who break something in a store be forced to pay for it?
  • What is the rational response to Heraclitus’ claim that ‘you never step in the same river twice’?
  • Is playing peek-a-boo with a baby who has yet to develop sufficient concept-awareness moral? What if it stresses the baby? How do you determine morality in interactions with less developed humans?
  • How much effort should be put into improving physical fitness beyond the point of mere healthiness?
  • Are Objectivists unique in their fondness for acronyms when discussing philosophy?

Listen or Download:

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.

Conclusion (1:07:18)

Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

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Activism Recap

 Posted by on 20 July 2014 at 1:00 pm  Activism Recap
Jul 202014
 

This week on The Blog of The Objective Standard:

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This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

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Link-O-Rama

 Posted by on 18 July 2014 at 1:00 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jul 182014
 

Parenting by Belay

 Posted by on 18 July 2014 at 10:00 am  Children, Ethics, Etiquette, Parenting
Jul 182014
 

This is a good explanation of the principles of “positive discipline” parenting from The Libertarian Homeschooler:

On Belay

Do you punish your sons?
No.

How do they learn?
I let them experience the consequences of their actions.

Isn’t that the same thing?
No. In one instance, I’m meting it out. In the other, I’m not.

What does that look like?
I say, “This will end badly.” When they were little I would say, “That will hurt you.” They either stop and wait for help or it ends badly or it hurts them.

Does that work?
You bet it does.

What if they’re headed for catastrophic injury?
I step in, just as I would for anyone else. I am on belay but the climb is theirs.

When they were little didn’t you spend a lot of time running after them since they weren’t trained?
We baby proofed so they could explore in relative safety. They still banged into things and got hurt.

Did they pay attention to what you told them?
They figured it out pretty quickly. When I said, “That will hurt you,” pain was coming. But pain wasn’t associated with me. Consequences would still happen even if I wasn’t there. That’s key. I do not cause consequences. Even if I’m not here, there are consequences. A lot of children clearly don’t understand that and they behave differently when their parents aren’t looking.

Were both boys the same?
YS needs to learn from experience. Sometimes more than once. BA will hang back and avoid pain and injury.

Did you ever administer and emotionally or physically painful consequence instead of letting nature take its course?
Yes.

How did that go?
Poorly.

What do you mean it went poorly?
It put emotional distance between me and my child. I broke trust with him. Administering calm, collected punishments made him disdainful. He saw it as a control issue.

So you would not do it again?
If I could undo it, I would. It was an expensive lesson for me in terms of my son’s respect. He has little patience for someone who will encroach upon him or will try to control him and it is his nature to remember long.

What caused the most strife in your home when your children were little?
Parental failure. Lack of self discipline on my part.

What do you attribute that to?
Perfectionism. Impatience. Pride. Fear. Exhaustion. Boundary issues.

Do your children have those flaws?
There are family characteristics. My parents had them. They modeled them for me. I’m changing things and our sons will change things more. They share good qualities as well. We’ll keep those.

What’s an example of a parental fail?
Getting angry because they weren’t doing an adult thing. At three.

You did that?
I still do, sometimes.

Can’t you get that under control?
I do what I can. I own the mistakes I make. That’s the best I can do.

Do you think your children ever did anything wrong?
They were being children. They were learning. Being a child isn’t wrong. It is wrong to expect a child to behave like an adult and then label it bad behavior.

Do they pay attention to what you say now?
The less counsel you give, the more they want it. They pay more attention all the time.

Does it bother you when they ignore your advice and make mistakes?
We’re separate people. They make their own decisions. That’s healthy. I’m glad they can disagree with me. I want them to be able to say no. This is good.

Do you ever freak out?
Yes.

How does that work?
Badly. I lose their respect. That’s a consequence of my actions.

Do you freak out often?
Less all the time.

Because they’re growing up?
Because I’m growing up. Children do that to a person.

What if they’re disrespectful?
They lose my good will. That’s a consequence of their actions.

Who is in control in your house?
I’m in control of myself. They’re in control of themselves.

What would you say is your bottom line on relationship with your children?
I am me. You are you. We are individuals. I will love you. I will defend you. I will provide for you. If you like, I will advise you. I will acknowledge your decisions are yours and I will not take credit or blame for them.

Is it really that simple?
Yes.

Is it easy to do?
Eventually.

Is it hard to get here?
I’m barely here, myself. But it’s worth it.

Positive discipline rejects punishments and rewards. Instead, children are taught by natural consequences, setting limits, and more — while restraining them as necessary to keep themselves and others safe. I know a number of kids parented by this method, and they’re not perfect (no child is) but they’re all remarkably reasonable, polite, and easy to live with.

If you want to know more, I interviewed Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore on this very topic on the 27 June 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you can listen to or download the podcast here:

For more details, check out the episode’s archive page.

Jul 182014
 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I chatted about “Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Four” with listeners. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Podcast: Chat on Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Four

The purpose of a theory of moral responsibility is to limit moral judgments of persons to their voluntary doings, products, and qualities. However, moral judgments are not the only – or even the most common – judgments of people we commonly make. So what are the various kinds of judgments we make of other people? What are the distinctive purposes and demands of those judgments? What is the relationship between those judgments and a person’s voluntary actions, outcomes, and traits? I answered these questions and more in this discussion of Chapter Four of my book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

Listen or Download:

Topics:

  • About this chapter
  • Pursuing values
  • Judgments of people
  • Normative judgments
  • Moral judgments
  • The purposes of moral judgment

Links:

Tags:


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That’s because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on conservative allies in the struggle for liberty, flunking a student, unearned guilt, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 20 July 2014, in our live studio. If you can’t listen live, you’ll find the podcast on the episode’s archive page.

This week’s questions are:

  • Question 1: Conservative Allies in the Struggle for Liberty: Aren’t politicians like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul allies in the struggle for liberty? Although I’m an atheist and a novice Objectivist, I’ve always wondered why so many advocates of individual rights oppose candidates and movements that seem to agree with us on a great many issues. Despite their other warts, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are the most likely men to promote our causes. The notion that they evangelize is dubious. And even if true, are there better alternatives today? I’ve also seen this attitude towards Libertarian candidates and their party. Ronald Reagan was the only President who advanced the ball towards free markets in the last fifty years, and yet people condemn him because of his position on abortion and because of his religious/political partnerships. I’ve never understood this. Shouldn’t we embrace the advocates of free markets out there today, even if not perfect?
  • Question 2: Flunking a Student: Should a professor pass a student who deserved to flunk for fear of reprisals? Because you’ve taught at the university level, I want to ask you about integrity in grading as a professor. Suppose you flunked a student who never showed up to class and didn’t complete the assigned work adequately. However, this student was well-connected to university donors and administrators. After you flunked this student, suppose that a high-ranking administrator threatened reprisals against you if you didn’t give this student a passing grade. What should you do? Would it be corrupt to comply with the administrator’s demand? What might you (or another professor) do instead?
  • Question 3: Unearned Guilt: How can I overcome feelings of unearned guilt about refusing other people’s requests? Too often, I feel guilty when I shouldn’t – for example, for rejecting unwanted romantic advances or declining invitations to events with family or coworkers. Even though I know logically that I have the right to pursue my own values rather than satisfy the wishes of others, I feel terrible knowing that my actions will disappoint or upset someone else. Too often I succumb to the guilt: I agree to things I’d rather not because I don’t want to let someone else down. What philosophical or psychological strategies might I use for dealing with such unearned guilt?

After that, we’ll tackle some impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat.

The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Conservatives, Grading Fairly, Unearned Guilt, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics!

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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NoodleCast #295: Lecture on Moral Amplifiers

 Posted by on 16 July 2014 at 8:00 am  NoodleCast
Jul 162014
 

For Tuesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted my 2013 lecture from ATLOSCon on “Moral Amplifiers.” That podcast is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism upholds seven major virtues as indispensable to our lives. Yet what of other qualities of character – such as ambition, courage, spontaneity, liveliness, discretion, patience, empathy, and friendliness? Are these virtues, personality traits, or something else? In this 2013 talk at ATLOSCon, I argued that such qualities are best understood as “moral amplifiers,” because their moral worth wholly depends how they’re used. I explained why people should cultivate such qualities and why they must be put into practice selectively.

Listen or Download:

Topics:

  • The question
  • The Objectivist virtues
  • Major virtues
  • Minor virtues
  • Moral amplifiers
  • Ambition, Kindness, Persistence
  • The role of personality
  • Aristotle’s virtues as moral amplifiers

Links:

Tags:


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That’s because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar
Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism upholds seven major virtues as indispensable to our lives. Yet what of other qualities of character – such as ambition, courage, spontaneity, liveliness, discretion, patience, empathy, and friendliness? Are these virtues, personality traits, or something else? In this 2013 talk at ATLOSCon, I argued that such qualities are best understood as “moral amplifiers,” because their moral worth wholly depends how they’re used. I explained why people should cultivate such qualities and why they must be put into practice selectively.

Listen or Download:

Topics:

  • The question
  • The Objectivist virtues
  • Major virtues
  • Minor virtues
  • Moral amplifiers
  • Ambition, Kindness, Persistence
  • The role of personality
  • Aristotle’s virtues as moral amplifiers

Links:

Tags:


Episode Sponsor

[[Sponsor]]


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That’s because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar

 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I’ll chat about “Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Four” with listeners. This episode of internet radio airs at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Thursday, 17 July 2014, in our live studio. If you can’t listen live, you’ll find the podcast on the episode’s archive page.

The purpose of a theory of moral responsibility is to limit moral judgments of persons to their voluntary doings, products, and qualities. However, moral judgments are not the only – or even the most common – judgments of people we commonly make. So what are the various kinds of judgments we make of other people? What are the distinctive purposes and demands of those judgments? What is the relationship between those judgments and a person’s voluntary actions, outcomes, and traits? I will answer these questions and more in this discussion of Chapter Four of my book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask follow-up questions in the text chat.

The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Chat on Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Four. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in this topic!

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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Activism Recap

 Posted by on 13 July 2014 at 6:20 pm  Activism Recap
Jul 132014
 

This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine):

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This week on The Blog of The Objective Standard:

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This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

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On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on limited government, enjoying the moment, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Podcast: Limited Government, Enjoying the Moment, and More

Listen or Download:

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been busy laying out the book of study questions for Explore Atlas Shrugged!

Question 1: Limited Government (4:01)

In this segment, I answered a question on limited government.

Should the government of a free society be permitted to do more than just protect rights? If the proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights, why shouldn’t a government of a free society do other, additional things as long as it does them without violating anyone’s rights? If courts, police, and military could be publicly financed without the use of force, couldn’t roads and schools? Is there some reason besides reliance on taxation why these sorts of government programs would be wrong?

My Answer, In Brief: The sole job of the government of a free society is to protect rights. A proper government should refuse to take on any other projects – not merely because that’s impractical and inefficient, but also because that’s a danger to it’s purpose of protecting rights.

Listen or Download:

Links:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Enjoying the Moment (21:32)

In this segment, I answered a question on enjoying the moment.

How can I convince myself that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence? Whatever subject I study, I think about all the other subjects I’m not studying. Whatever work I’m doing, I think about all the other work I’m not getting done. Whatever book I’m reading, I think about all the other books I could be reading. I want to do everything, and I want to do all of it right now. How can I convince myself to be happy with what I’m actually doing and able to do? How can I stop this perpetual cycle of boredom and longing for change?

My Answer, In Brief: A happy and successful person needs to be able to concentrate on the task at hand and be present in the moment. To achieve that, you can work on developing better cognitive habits and seek therapy if needed.

Listen or Download:

Links:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions (41:51)

In this segment, I answered questions impromptu. The questions were:

  • Why was belief in “the paranormal” so mainstream and respectable in the 1970s? Was it due to the sense of life of the general culture?
  • What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  • What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  • Should a rights-respecting absolute monarch be opposed or overthrown?
  • How true is the statement that “we see what we want to see”?
  • Is a savvy negotiator who leverages his superior skills over an opponent to obtain the best possible deal for himself acting on the principle of predation rather than trade?

Listen or Download:

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.

Conclusion (1:03:26)

Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar

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