On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on fraud and deception, people unworthy of the truth, deception in a business partner, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 8 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: Fraud and Deception: Does fraud require deliberate deception? Some libertarians, most notably Walter Block, have tried to argue that fraud does not require deliberate deception. For example, argues Block, if I tried to sell you a square circle, and I believed that square circles existed, and so did you, and you agreed to the transaction, then, since square circles do not actually exist, this would still count as fraud, even though no deliberate deception has taken place. Block has used this argument to indict fractional reserve banking, by arguing that it still counts as fraud even though all parties are knowingly consenting. Is he talking rationalist nonsense?
  • Question 2: People Unworthy of the Truth: Are some people unworthy of the truth? “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it,” said Mark Twain in his Notebooks. Is that true? Does that justify lying – or merely withholding information?
  • Question 3: Deception in a Business Partner: How can I decide whether a business associate has crossed the line? I am part of a very specialized marketing co-op group. Businesses provide samples to the marketer, who then sells them at his own profit, to the tune of thousands of dollars a month. The marketer also does many web promotions and a monthly set of videos to promote the makers of these samples. This business has worked well in sending customers my way in the past. However, a few months ago, the marketer threatened to call the whole thing off for a month, claiming there were not enough samples to sell. So all the businesses rallied and sent in more. Two weeks later the marketer posted publicly that his spouse’s hours had been cut the month before, and he was strapped for cash. This apparent dishonesty turned me off from using the service for many months. When I finally sent in samples again, I found that the same thing is still happening: the marketer is threatening to call off the promotion for the month if more samples are not sent in. Does this kind of behavior warrant dropping this business tool from my arsenal? Or am I just reacting emotionally?

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: Fraud and Deception, Honesty, Trust in Business, 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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A Quick Thought on Aggression in Dogs

 Posted by on 4 March 2015 at 10:00 am  Animals, Dogs
Mar 042015
 

A quick thought in response to some BuzzFeed article along the lines of “it’s all how you raise pitbulls, not about the breed”:

Sorry folks, but as the owner of a much beloved dog with fear-aggression problems (Mae), I call bullshit. My dog wasn’t ever traumatized, she’s on meds (prozac, which helps tremendously), and I’ve done tons and tons of training with her. And guess what? Her problem still persists, even though much lessened in severity so that she’s pretty manageable.

Really, why do people suddenly think that all mental problems are due to environmental causes — that none are genetic or otherwise inborn — when considering dogs?

I’ve known some awesome pitbulls, and I’m not opposed to the breed per se. However, genetics in dogs matters a whole lot, and breeds are known for certain kinds of temperaments for a reason.

Addendum: I just read the article, and it’s even more stupid than I thought. The tendency to aggression in dogs has nothing to do with the size of that dog. *facepalm*

Mar 022015
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on the nature of character, revenge porn, coming out as an atheist, 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: Character, Revenge Porn, Atheism, 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 riding, including jumping for the first time since my concussion. Also, I’ve uploaded the final versions of the questions to Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Question 1: The Nature of Character (2:26)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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 (moral and otherwise) and personality? Are they distinct? Do they overlap?

My Answer, In Brief: Character is the sum total of fundamental principles, dispositions, emotions, and other elements of a person’s psychology that govern his actions. Moral character and personality are aspects of character.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Revenge Porn (23:32)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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?

My Answer, In Brief: Posting revenge porn violates the conditions under which the sex video was made. The law should take cognizance of that, and a person should be able to sue for damages.

Listen or Download:

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

Question 3: Coming Out as an Atheist (36:15)

In this segment, I answered a question on coming out as an atheist.

How can I avoid coming out as an atheist to my boyfriend’s parents? I’m gay and my long-time, live-in boyfriend recently came out to his parents. They are older and pretty religious, but they are doing their best to be accepting of 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 an 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?

My Answer, In Brief: You should tend to your own moral integrity by refusing to deceive your boyfriend’s parents, even while aiming for them to get to know you and trust you before they find out about your atheism. You should not pressure your boyfriend, but allow him to navigate his own relationship with his parents as he sees fit, even if that means making mistakes.

Listen or Download:

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

Rapid Fire Questions (53:14)

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

  • What color is this dress?
  • How do you deal with situations where you cannot discuss something despite having a great deal of knowledge on that topic, due to non-disclosure agreements? Should you simply not discuss those topics?
  • Is it morally okay to pirate recent episodes of a TV show that is not yet legally available in your country? Does it make a difference if you plan to buy the DVDs when they come out?

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion (1:04:45)

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!

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On the Risks in Eventing

 Posted by on 1 March 2015 at 7:46 pm  Horses, Personal, Sports
Mar 012015
 

On Facebook, eventing legend Denny Emerson wrote:

One experiment that I’d try in an attempt to continue to have cross country be the heart of eventing, while at the same time trying to reduce the falls that create injuries and fatalities, would be to simply make the XC courses substantially longer, but also somewhat less technical.

That would start to weed out the horses that were good in dressage and show jumping, but were not real galloping stayers.

Instead, say, of a six minute course, make it 8-9 minutes, and so on. An 8 minute test would become 11-12 minutes, and so on. Riders would have to start to get very real about fitness, and they would start to select tough gallopers, the kind of horses the sport was originally invented to test.

I don’t think the modern pros would go for this, because it would dry up some of the money, which is what upper level eventing in 2015 is increasingly “about”.

My thoughts:

I like this proposal better than any that I’ve seen before, but I fear that it wouldn’t make a dent in the alarming rate of horse and rider injuries/deaths in eventing… because it’s not just the technical fences that are the problem. Three examples:

(1) When I was a cross-country judge this summer at the Colorado Horse Park, I was judging two easy, straightforward galloping fences. I was unhappy to see that none of the training-level riders — except the professionals — compressed/rounded the canter of their horses before the fence. Those people weren’t galloping too fast or anything, but the horses weren’t really alert to the upcoming fence, either mentally or physically, as they should have been.

As a result, I saw bad jump after bad jump… and then finally, I saw a rotational fall that could have paralyzed the rider. That rider didn’t do anything worse (or better) than the others: her horse just got into a bad spot, and he was so discombobulated that his front legs said “another step” and his back legs said “let’s go!” I thought the rider was dead or paralyzed as she lay on the ground. Thankfully (!!), she’d only broken some ribs.

(2) I was watching the last fence in prelim at a horse trial in Santa Fe this summer — again, a nice straightforward table — when a horse left out a full stride. (Literally, a full galloping stride.) Thankfully, he had enough scope to clear the fence, but holy cow, that was hella scary. As the rider pulls up, I hear her say very casually to her trainer, “Oh, I thought he was going to add a stride.” She didn’t seem to recognize just how dangerous that jump was, that she ought never ever have another one like it, and that it was her job as the rider to ensure that.

(3) Yesterday at Full Gallop in Aiken, a group of people were schooling over a baby fence to a training table under the guidance of a trainer. One rider looked at her hands intently through both fences, and the horse couldn’t even canter properly between the fences as a result. The horse muddled through, but he was clearly nervous and jumped poorly. The trainer never told the rider to look up, and they moved on after two rounds of bad jumping, leaving the rider to her poor form and the horse with less confidence than before. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.

I’m too new to eventing to say much of what’s wrong (and I have my own share of bad habits that I’m working hard to correct), but I am alarmed by the kind of riding that I see even on non-technical jumps. My sense is that people seem to be relying too much on the natural athleticism of their horses to just get over fences rather than developing the skills required to ride cross-country according to best (and safest) practice. That poor riding seems to be aided by trainers who aren’t demanding best practice, if they even know what that is (!?!).

Such problems cannot be solved by a change in format, I don’t think. Sure, perhaps greater demands would induce people to invest more in conditioning and training. Some people would do that. But others wouldn’t, and the result might just be even more injuries and deaths for horses and riders alike.

In any case, Denny Emerson has had some really good posts on this topic in the last day or so. I appreciate that, as I’ve been thinking a good bit about the risks of my sport lately.

On a related note, I’ve decided that I’m very happy to compete Lila at novice level again next year. We’re not ready for training level yet — and with her particular draft-cross build, she might never be ready.

That’s fine, because we’re going to work on being damn perfect over the smaller fences at novice level (2’11″). That’ll be far better for the development of my skills than trying to muddle her over bigger fences.

Plus, I’d never forgive myself if I destroyed her honesty over fences and her trust in me by pushing her beyond her limits. She’s such a good girl — so willing — and I want her to always enjoy cross-country as much as she does now. If that means staying under 3 feet forever with her, I’m happy to oblige. She’s my girl, and I want to keep her that way.

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 1 March 2015 at 3:00 pm  Activism Recap
Mar 012015
 

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.

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.

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

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!

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha