Feb 262015
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on the nature of character, revenge porn, coming out as an atheist, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 1 March 2015, 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: The Nature of Character: What is the nature of character? What is meant by a person’s “character”? Is that broader than moral character? What is the relationship between character, personality, and sense of life?
  • Question 2: Revenge Porn: Should revenge porn be illegal? Apparently, it is increasingly common after a break-up for a person to share sexual pictures or videos of his/her former lover that were taken while in the relationship. Some people think that sharing sexual images intended to be kept private should be illegal, while others argue that such “revenge porn” is protected speech. Which view is right? Should the consent of all parties be required for the posting of sexual imagery?
  • Question 3: Coming Out as an Atheist: How can I avoid coming out as an atheist to my boyfriend’s parents? I’m gay and my boyfriend recently came out to his parents. They are older and pretty religious, but they are doing their best to be accepting to our relationship. However, my boyfriend says that they believe that I am changing him for the worse in that he has not been as communicative and open with them because he didn’t come out to them sooner and has not been sharing the progression of our relationship with them. (The whole concept of being in the closet seems completely alien to them.) But they do know our relationship is serious, so they have invited us to spend the holidays with them in order to get to know me better. My boyfriend says that they will insist that we attend church with them and has asked that I not tell them that I’m atheist right away. I’ve explained to him that I am not going to lie about anything, but I am not sure how to remain true to my convictions without making things more difficult for my boyfriend and upsetting his parents. What are your suggestions for making the Christmas holidays pleasant while maintaining my integrity?

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: Character, Revenge Porn, Atheism, 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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Feb 232015
 

I’ve not yet updated the registration form for SnowCon 2015 with the more costly “late pricing,” and I won’t do so until tomorrow… so now’s your chance to save a few bucks, if you register pronto!

Below are some more details. Visit the page for SnowCon 2015 to register.

Registration for SnowCon 2015 — six days of snow sports, relaxation, discussion, and lectures in the snowy Colorado Rockies for fans of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism — is open!

SnowCon will be held from Tuesday, March 17th to Sunday, March 22nd, based entirely in Frisco, Colorado. During the day, we’ll ski, snowboard, snowshoe, soak in the hot tubs, chat, and relax. In the evenings, we’ll dine together, play games, and listen to lectures, participate in discussions, and more.

Early pricing is currently in effect until February 20th (or rather, the 24th), so it costs $60 for the whole conference (or $15 per day) so long as you register by then. To register, just fill out the form on the SnowCon 2015 page and then pay your registration fee.

SnowCon welcomes all friendly people with a serious interest in or honest curiosity about Ayn Rand’s philosophy, regardless of their level of knowledge. Every person at SnowCon is expected to be respectful and considerate of others.

A few notes:

(1) You don’t need to ski or snowboard to enjoy SnowCon! You can go snowshoeing with Paul (which takes five minutes to learn), go tubing, ice skating, shopping, or whatever.

(2) The only condo available was awfully small, and I’ve already filled its beds. Sorry! However, you can find hotels in Frisco here, and you can still join all the fun at the SnowCondo… you just have to sleep elsewhere. (If you share a room with someone, the cost won’t be any more than the SnowCondo.)

(3) You don’t need to attend the whole of SnowCon. Locals are welcome to drive up just for the day, or you can stay for just a few days.

(4) I’m looking for speakers interested in giving presentations! I’m planning on two 30-minute slots per evening. You can give a lecture with Q&A or lead a discussion. If you have a proposal, email me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

(5) If you’re coming from sea level, you might wish to get altitude pills (and start taking them a few days before you arrive). If you get altitude sickness, you’ll be miserable, and the only cure will be to get to a lower elevation.

Again, for more details, including the schedule and registration, visit SnowCon 2015.

If you even might attend SnowCon 2015, subscribe to the SnowCon e-mail list for SnowCon-related announcements.

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on forcing people to govern, vaccinating for herd immunity, minimizing interruptions at work, 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: Forcing People to Govern, Herd Immunity, and Interruptions at Work

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: Paul visited me here in Aiken, and now my parents are visiting.

Question 1: Forcing People to Govern (4:07)

In this segment, I answered a question on forcing people to govern.

Could unwilling people be compelled to govern? Imagine a situation in which no-one – not a single person – wants to work for the government. This would create a state of anarchy by default because government requires people to govern. Since the existence of a government is necessary for the protection of individual rights via the subordination of society to objective moral law, would compelling some people to govern be necessary and proper?

My Answer, In Brief: If you want people to work for the government, you need to pay them sufficient money to do so. Forcing people to govern would violate their rights, and be a recipe for them violating the rights of others.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Vaccinating for Herd Immunity (19:00)

In this segment, I answered a question on vaccinating for herd immunity.

Do parents have a moral duty to vaccinate their children to improve “herd immunity”? My doctor is currently making the case for my son (age 12) getting the Gardasil/HPV vaccination, arguing that even though HPV won’t really harm him, he could become a carrier and spread HPV to women he has sex with at some time in the future, and thereby harm them. I don’t think he has a duty to become one of the “immunized herd” (referring to the idea of “herd immunity” regarding vaccines) and therefore I am not inclined to have him vaccinated against HPV. Should he choose to do so at a later time, he is free to make that decision. Does my son – or do I as a parent – have an obligation to vaccinate purely to promote “herd immunity”? If not in this case, where there is a clear issue of undergoing the vaccination primarily for the sake of risk to others, then what about in other cases of vaccines? Does a person have an obligation to society in general to become part of the immunized herd, even if taking a vaccination is probably at low risk to that person’s health?

My Answer, In Brief: A person does not have any obligation to undergo medical treatments purely for the sake of herd immunity. People should vaccinate themselves and their children when doing so benefits themselves and loved ones.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: Minimizing Interruptions at Work (42:13)

In this segment, I answered a question on minimizing interruptions at work.

How can I minimize interruptions at work? I’m a programmer, and I need long stretches of quiet time in order to be productive. Unfortunately, my work has an open floor plan, and people tend to pop by my desk if they have a question. I hate those interruptions, but I don’t know how to discourage them without being snippy or unfriendly. Plus, sometimes my co-workers have good reason to interrupt me with a question or news. So how can I eliminate the unimportant interruptions?

My Answer, In Brief: Interruptions at work are often major productivity killers. You can try to create a bubble for yourself, and you can try to change practices in the workplace.

Listen or Download:

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

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion (1:10:48)

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

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 22 February 2015 at 1:00 pm  Activism Recap
Feb 222015
 

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

Follow FIRM on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on The Blog of The Objective Standard:

Follow The Objective Standard on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

Follow Modern Paleo on Facebook and Twitter.

The Vaccination Debate

 Posted by on 21 February 2015 at 10:00 am  Ethics, Medicine, Parenting, Politics, Rights
Feb 212015
 

I’ve been slightly appalled by the way that the debate over vaccination has proceeded of late — particularly in the belligerent peddling of misinformation and calls for government controls. (I’ve seen that on all sides, unfortunately.) Alas, that’s to be expected when sick kids are involved. In any case, because I’m answering a question on Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio about whether people have an obligation to vaccinate purely for the sake of herd immunity, I thought that I’d compile some links for reading in advance.

A word of warning, first. As you’ll see, these links are from a variety of perspectives, and I’m not vouching for them. You shouldn’t assume that I agree with them. They’re just to help inform you about the debate.

Also, I answered a question about compulsory vaccination on the 3 August 2014 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you should listen to or download the relevant segment of the podcast before Sunday’s broadcast. It’s here:

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

And with that… see you on Sunday!

Link-O-Rama

 Posted by on 20 February 2015 at 8:00 am  Link-O-Rama
Feb 202015
 

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on forcing people to govern, vaccinating for herd immunity, minimizing interruptions at work, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 22 February 2015, 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: Forcing People to Govern: Could unwilling people be compelled to govern? Imagine a situation in which no-one – not a single person – wants to work for the government. This would create a state of anarchy by default because government requires people to govern. Since the existence of a government is necessary for the protection of individual rights via the subordination of society to objective moral law, would compelling some people to govern be necessary and proper?
  • Question 2: Vaccinating for Herd Immunity: Do parents have a moral duty to vaccinate their children to improve “herd immunity”? My doctor is currently making the case for my son (age 12) getting the Gardasil/HPV vaccination, arguing that even though HPV won’t really harm him, he could become a carrier and spread HPV to women he has sex with at some time in the future, and thereby harm them. I don’t think he has a duty to become one of the “immunized herd” (referring to the idea of “herd immunity” regarding vaccines) and therefore I am not inclined to have him vaccinated against HPV. Should he choose to do so at a later time, he is free to make that decision. Does my son – or do I as a parent – have an obligation to vaccinate purely to promote “herd immunity”? If not in this case, where there is a clear issue of undergoing the vaccination primarily for the sake of risk to others, then what about in other cases of vaccines? Does a person have an obligation to society in general to become part of the immunized herd, even if taking a vaccination is probably at low risk to that person’s health?
  • Question 3: Minimizing Interruptions at Work: How can I minimize interruptions at work? I’m a programmer, and I need long stretches of quiet time in order to be productive. Unfortunately, my work has an open floor plan, and people tend to pop by my desk if they have a question. I hate those interruptions, but I don’t know how to discourage them without being snippy or unfriendly. Plus, sometimes my co-workers have good reason to interrupt me with a question or news. So how can I eliminate the unimportant interruptions?

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: Forcing People to Govern, Herd Immunity, Interruptions at Work, 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.

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

 

My latest Forbes piece is now out: “Why You Should Record Your Doctor Visits“.

Here is the opening:

NBC’s Brian Williams has gone from being a respected news anchor to the butt of Internet jokes after he recanted a false story about being shot down in a helicopter over Iraq. As a result of the subsequent controversy, NBC has suspended Williams without pay for 6 months — essentially costing him $5 million.

But whether or not Williams’ story was an innocent “false memory” or a deliberate lie, it is the case that false or unreliable memories are a surprisingly common phenomenon. In a health care setting, patients’ false memories of medical conversations might cost them more than money — it might even endanger their lives. Hence, patients may wish to record their doctors’ visits to protect themselves…

During my research for this piece, I learned that “40-80% of medical information provided by healthcare practitioners is forgotten immediately” and “almost half of the information that is remembered is incorrect” (!)

Fortunately, modern technology now makes it easier for patients to record these important discussions with physicians, for instance with a smartphone.

For more information on the benefits of this practice, read the full text of “Why You Should Record Your Doctor Visits“.

 

Feb 162015
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on developing resilience, nuisance limits for new technology, spouses sharing activities, 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: Resilience, Nuisances, Sharing Activities, 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 recovering from Thursday’s concussion after falling off my horse Phantom.

Question 1: Developing Resilience (4:27)

In this segment, I answered a question on developing resilience.

Does developing resilience require enduring hardship? Many people assume that having faced great hardship is a necessary part of having resiliency – meaning: the ability to withstand great challenges in the future. These people think that if you have faced less-than-average hardship in your youth, that makes you soft, spoiled, pampered, and weak, and therefore ill-equipped to face challenges throughout your adulthood. As an extreme (but, sadly, real) example, I have a relative who insists to me, “All of the men I have met who attended private school are weak and naive. In their private schools, they were able to leave their belongings unattended without fear of their belongings being stolen. That’s not the real world! By contrast, the public school we attended is the school of hard knocks that shows you the Real World. We remember, all too well, that when anyone left possessions unattended, the norm was for the possession to be stolen. That’s Real Life. That builds character and gave me a thicker skin. That’s why, when I have children, I will send them to public school to toughen them up. I refuse to raise privileged weaklings.” I seethe and feel tempted to respond, “What if you got really drunk and beat up your children? Following the logic of your assumptions, wouldn’t that toughen them up even further?” Why are these assumptions about hardship so prevalent? How can a person develop great discipline, stamina, and fortitude absent hardship and cruelty? What can be done to combat the idea that hardship in youth is necessary for strength and resilience as an adult?

My Answer, In Brief: Resilience is not a virtue, but as a moral amplifier, it’s a character trait that people should cultivate and deploy selectively. It’s properly cultivated by pursuing important and difficult goals of your own choosing, not by having hardships imposed on you.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Nuisance Limits for New Technology (33:37)

In this segment, I answered a question on nuisance limits for new technology.

How should nuisance limits be set for new technology? Often new technologies initially involve negative side effects, and sometimes those side effects impact even those who didn’t choose to use the new technology. Here’s an example: supersonic flight. Supersonic aircraft are generally noisier than slower aircraft – they lay down a sonic boom when they fly over. In the US, supersonic travel has been banned outright since the 1960s due to concerns about boom noise. There’s technology to help quiet the aircraft, but no one knows how much “quiet” (and political muscle) it will take to reverse this ban – and as a result we’re still trundling around at 1960s speeds. But this is only one example. Many other technologies (such as fossil fuels) initially have some physical impact even on those who choose not to adopt, until they advance sufficiently that the impact is immaterial. In a free society, how should these technologies be allowed to develop? What restrictions should be placed, and how? How does one objectively determine, for instance, how much noise pollution from aircraft or smoke from a train constitutes a rights violation?

My Answer, In Brief: The law needs to allow for the development of new technology and protect the rights of bystanders and nearby property owners. It can do so via a rational standard for nuisances, where the courts compare the nuisance of the new technology to what’s currently accepted and well-tolerated.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: Spouses Sharing Activities (50:31)

In this segment, I answered a question on spouses sharing activities.

Should spouses always share activities? A friend of mine is loathe to pursue any hobbies or interests that her husband doesn’t share. He’s not controlling: she’s the same way. Although I know that they want to spend time together, that seems really limiting to me. Is that a reasonable policy in a marriage – or does it lead to self-sacrifice and mutual resentment?

My Answer, In Brief: People in happy marriages should pursue activities together, but not always. Each person should freely pursue his or her own interests too, independent of his or her spouse.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions (1:00:03)

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

  • In England, it will soon become illegal for parents to smoke in the car when their children are with them. What is your take on this?
  • Should someone be condemned if they have no moral problem with homosexuality, but nevertheless find it disgusting?

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion (1:10:45)

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

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 15 February 2015 at 8:30 pm  Activism Recap
Feb 152015
 

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

Follow FIRM on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

Follow Modern Paleo on Facebook and Twitter.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha