Diana Hsieh

I'm a philosopher, radio host, blogger, paleo foodie, gardener, skier & boarder, horse rider, farm gal, entrepreneur, GTD'er, Objectivist, and lover of life!

Activism Recap

 Posted by on 25 January 2015 at 1:00 pm  Activism Recap
Jan 252015
 

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 Politics without God, the blog of the Coalition for Secular Government:

Follow the Coalition for Secular Government on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

Follow Modern Paleo on Facebook and Twitter.

Link-O-Rama

 Posted by on 23 January 2015 at 1:00 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jan 232015
 

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on the regulation of ultrahazardous activities, declining gift solicitations, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 25 January 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 Regulation of Ultrahazardous Activities: Would the government of a free society issue bans/regulations to prevent harmful activity? At the turn of the 20th century it was common to use cyanide gas to fumigate buildings. Although it was well-known that cyanide gas was extremely poisonous and alternatives were available, its use continued and resulted in a number of accidental deaths due to the gas traveling through cracks in walls and even in plumbing. With the development of better toxicology practices, these deaths were more frequently recognized for what they were and at the end of summer in 1825 the NYC government banned its use. In this and other situations, it was recognized that the substance in question was extremely poisonous and could only be handled with the most extreme care – care that was rarely demonstrated. The question is this: Should the government step in and ban the substance from general use or should it simply stand by and wait for people to die and prosecute the users for manslaughter. Or is there another option?
  • Question 2: Declining Gift Solicitations: How can I refuse solicitations for gifts for co-workers? I work in a department of about thirty people. In the past few months, we have been asked to contribute money to buy gifts for co-workers – for engagements, baby showers, bereavement flowers, and Christmas gifts for the department chair, administrative assistants, housekeeping staff, and lab manager. Generally these requests are made by e-mail, and I can see from the “reply all” messages that everyone else contributes. Often these donations add up to a large amount ($10-20 each time). I do not wish to take part, but am worried that since I am a newer employee my lack of participation will be interpreted negatively. What can I do?

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: Ultrahazardous Activities, Declining Gift Solicitations, 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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Devaluing Marriage

 Posted by on 21 January 2015 at 10:00 am  Business, Conservatism, Culture, GLBT, Love/Sex, Marriage
Jan 212015
 

This news doesn’t surprise me… but I wish I’d predicted it! From Once, Same-Sex Couples Couldn’t Wed; Now, Some Employers Say They Must:

Until recently, same-sex couples could not legally marry. Now, some are finding they must wed if they want to keep their partner’s job-based health insurance and other benefits.

With same-sex marriage now legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia, some employers that formerly covered domestic partners say they will require marriage licenses for workers who want those perks.

“We’re bringing our benefits in line, making them consistent with what we do for everyone else,” said Ray McConville, a spokesman for Verizon, which notified non-union employees in July that domestic partners in states where same-sex marriage is legal must wed if they want to qualify for such benefits.

Employers making the changes say that since couples now have the legal right to marry, they no longer need to provide an alternative. Such rule changes could also apply to opposite-sex partners covered under domestic partner arrangements.

The news doesn’t surprise me because it confirms my long-held view that companies offering benefits to unmarried people living together was largely a way to provide benefits to same-sex couples. And that’s part of why I think that conservatives have done more to devalue marriage than anyone else in recent decades. By opposing gay marriage, they encouraged people to view living together as basically the same as marriage. But… it’s not.

If you want to know why I think that, take a listen to this question about the value of marriage from the 17 February 2013 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. The question asked:

What is the value of marriage? How is it different from living with a romantic partner in a committed relationship? Is marriage only a legal matter? Or does it have some personal or social benefit?

You can listen to or download the relevant segment of the podcast here:

For more details, check out the question’s archive page. The full episode – where I answered questions on the value of marriage, antibiotic resistance in a free society, concern for attractiveness to others, semi-automatic handguns versus revolvers, and more – is available as a podcast too.

SnowCon 2015: Register Now!

 Posted by on 20 January 2015 at 10:00 am  SnowCon
Jan 202015
 

I’m pleased to open 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!

SnowCon will be held from Tuesday, March 17th to Sunday, March 22th, 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 15th, so it costs $60 for the whole conference (or $15 per day) so long as you register by February 15th. 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 the right to die, marriage without love, creating art, 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: Right to Die, Marriage without Love, Creating Art, 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 with the show, as well as preparing for Aiken.

Question 1: The Right to Die (2:12)

In this segment, I answered a question on the right to die.

Should a person who does not wish to live be forcibly prevented from committing suicide? John doesn’t like living. He finds no joy in life, and only lives because it would upset other people if he ended his life. He has tried counseling and medication, but he simply has no desire to continue to live. He makes no real contribution to society, nor does he wish to be a part of society. If John wants to die, he can, but the state will attempt to stop him at every turn, even to the point of incarceration. Is there a point when the law (and other people) should simply respect his wishes and allow him to end his life – or perhaps even assist him in doing so?

My Answer, In Brief: A person’s right to his own life includes the right to commit suicide. The law’s sole job is to ensure that a person’s choice to die reflects his considered judgment, freely made, as well as to differentiate between helpers and murderers.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Marriage without Love (25:00)

In this segment, I answered a question on marriage without love.

Should people who merely like and respect each other ever marry? Imagine that a person doesn’t think that he’ll ever find true and deep love – perhaps for good reason. In that case, is it wrong to marry someone you enjoy, value, like, and respect – even if you don’t love that person? What factors might make a decision reasonable, if any? Should the other person know about the lack of depth in your feelings?

My Answer, In Brief: A relationship that begins with mutual affection and respect but not love can grow into a romance, if both people put in a serious effort. If not, it’ll likely be a disaster of two unsatisfied people growing apart.

Listen or Download:

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

Question 3: Creating Art (41:03)

In this segment, I answered a question on creating art.

Is creating art necessary for a moral life? Since material values are a human need, independence requires that human beings engage in productive activity. Can the same logic be applied to art? Since art is a human need, does independence require human beings to be artistically creative? Would someone who enjoys art without producing any be an “aesthetic moocher”?

My Answer, In Brief: The experience of art is necessary to human life, but the creation of art is not. This argument is deduction gone awry.

Listen or Download:

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

Rapid Fire Questions (49:26)

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

  • Where have the Audible book recommendations gone?
  • What, if anything, should be done to help the people of North Korea, such as distributing literature or helping citizens leave?
  • Do you know of any resources or websites that list businesses or career opportunities for human beings that follow the Objectivist Philosophy?
  • Should doctors who purport to be able to “cure homosexuality” be prosecuted for fraud?

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion (1:04:41)

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

Link-O-Rama

 Posted by on 16 January 2015 at 1:00 pm  Link-O-Rama
Jan 162015
 

Report on the Tip Jar for 2014

 Posted by on 16 January 2015 at 11:00 am  Tip Jar
Jan 162015
 

Over the whole of 2014, I received 912 contributions to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar from 107 contributors. Lovely! I cannot thank my contributors enough, because without you, I’d just not be motivated to put in all the work that I do for the radio shows and other projects.

I’m far from earning as much as I’d like form the show, and I want to grow my audience more too. So in 2015, I’ll be spending more to advertise the show, as well as offering more premium content available only to contributors.

If you want to support my work, you can contribute a one-time tip or a recurring tip here: Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar

Thanks again to my contributors! You rock!

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on the right to die, marriage without love, creating art, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 18 January 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 Right to Die: Should a person who does not wish to live be forcibly prevented from committing suicide? John doesn’t like living. He finds no joy in life, and only lives because it would upset other people if he ended his life. He has tried counseling and medication, but he simply has no desire to continue to live. He makes no real contribution to society, nor does he wish to be a part of society. If John wants to die, he can, but the state will attempt to stop him at every turn, even to the point of incarceration. Is there a point when the law (and other people) should simply respect his wishes and allow him to end his life – or perhaps even assist him in doing so?
  • Question 2: Marriage without Love: Should people who merely like and respect each other ever marry? Imagine that a person doesn’t think that he’ll ever find true and deep love – perhaps for good reason. In that case, is it wrong to marry someone you enjoy, value, like, and respect – even if you don’t love that person? What factors might make a decision reasonable, if any? Should the other person know about the lack of depth in your feelings?
  • Question 3: Creating Art: Is creating art necessary for a moral life? Since material values are a human need, independence requires that human beings engage in productive activity. Can the same logic be applied to art? Since art is a human need, does independence require human beings to be artistically creative? Would someone who enjoys art without producing any be an “aesthetic moocher”?

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: Right to Die, Marriage without Love, Creating Art, 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

Jan 162015
 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I chatted about “Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Six” 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 Six

Can an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility solve the problem of moral luck? In particular, how does the theory of responsibility for actions handle the proposed cases of “circumstantial moral luck”? I will answer these questions and more in this discussion of Chapter Six of my book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

Listen or Download:

Topics:

  • Review of Chapter Five
  • Circumstantial moral luck
  • Three cases
  • On moral judgment and moral responsibility
  • Analysis of the three cases
  • Further questions

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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