Feb 242012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed judging religions as better and worse. The question was:

Are some religions better than others? Do certain religions encourage rationality more than others? Do some promote better moral systems than others? I am curious both about different forms of Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, Unitarian, Mormon, etc.), as well as other religions (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Baha’i, etc.). Should rational atheists respect followers of certain religions more than others?

My answer, in brief:

Religions are better or worse in their core doctrines and in their effects on a culture. However, due to the complexity of religions – not merely as ideologies but also as a cultural movements – they can’t be easily judged as better or worse. Also, just because a person claims to be an adherent of a given religion doesn’t tell much about what he believes or practices, nor whether they are honest.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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Feb 232012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed telling a friend about romantic feelings. The question was:

Am I obliged to tell a friend that I’ve developed romantic feelings towards her? Recently, I’ve developed romantic feelings for a platonic friend. Is it dishonest to withhold this information from her and just continue our friendship? What should I do if she asks me a direct question about my feelings? When would it be wrong to withhold this information from her, if ever?

My answer, in brief:

It’s not wrong to keep your feelings to yourself, but lying about them can cause serious harm to your character and your friendship.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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Feb 162012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed liking but not loving your career. The question was:

What should I do if I have a good job but not burning professional ambition? I have a good job that pays well. I perform my job well to the best of my ability. But I don’t feel about it the same way that Howard Roark felt about the field of architecture in The Fountainhead or that Dagny felt about the railroad business in Atlas Shrugged. I don’t hate my job – I do enjoy the work and the people I work with. But it’s not my burning passion. On a scale of 1-to-10, my paying job (and the overall field) is a 7, but I also have various non-paying outside hobbies and activities that are more of a 8 or 9 for me. Should I try to cultivate a strong passion for my paying job? Or look for a different line of work? Or ramp up my pursuit of various hobbies and outside activities that give me greater satisfaction on the side?

My answer, in brief:

A person’s work should serve his life, and sometimes that means choosing the one career that you’re wildly passionate about, and sometimes that means choosing a career that you enjoy, but that enables you to pursue other values.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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Video: Overcoming Perfectionism

 Posted by on 8 February 2012 at 8:00 am  Ethics, Pride, Videocast
Feb 082012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed overcoming perfectionism. The question was:

What is the problem with and solution to perfectionism? Lately, I’ve realized that I might have a problem with “perfectionism” – meaning that I hold myself to unrealistically high standards in some areas of my life. For example, I feel like I should be much more productive, to the point of being unrealistic about what I can do in a day. What’s the basic error of such perfectionism? And what can I do to overcome it?

My answer, in brief:

For a person to seek perfection, based on rational standards that take account of his particular context, is often good. Perfectionism, however, means doing so based on out-of-context or unrealistic standards of perfection. A person with perfectionist tendencies needs to identify them, then think and act consistently based on standards appropriate to his purpose – whether seeking perfection, good enough, or merely adequate.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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Feb 032012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed feigning indifference to attract a man. The question was:

Should I act uninterested in a man to attract him? One common theme in romance advice is that a woman should act aloof and unattainable in order to attract a man or to get him to commit to a relationship. Is that dishonest? Is it counterproductive?

My answer, in brief:

It’s wrong to make people into conquests in romance. If you do, the kind of person that you’ll attract is not the kind of person that you’ll want to be with. And you’ll not be the kind of person that a good person will want to be with.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

Feb 022012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed being pragmatic. The question was:

What’s wrong with being pragmatic? My dictionary defines being pragmatic as “dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.” What’s wrong with that, if anything? Is that the same as “pragmatism”?

My answer, in brief:

Pragmatism is a philosophic view that rejects thinking long-range and on-principle in favor of short-term expediency. However, many people just use the term to mean “practical,” and others are honestly confused by all the bad theories and principles rampant in the culture.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

Video: Dealing with Temperamental People

 Posted by on 20 January 2012 at 4:00 pm  Ethics, Justice, Videocast
Jan 202012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed dealing with temperamental people. The question was:

Should people be willing to “walk on eggshells” around temperamental people? Some people – often very talented – are known to be highly temperamental. They’ll explode in anger if others disagree with them, make innocent mistakes, or just act differently than they’d prefer. Is that a moral failing, and if so, what is its source? How should people around them act? When and how much should others try to placate them?

My answer, in brief:

Temperamental people indulge their emotions when they don’t get their way because they don’t respect and value other people as autonomous individuals. If that irrationality is entrenched, then the best course is likely to refuse to deal with the person.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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All posted webcast videos can be found in the Webcast Archives and on my YouTube channel.

Jan 202012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed mutual unprovable accusations of wrongdoing. The question was:

How should a rational person evaluate unproven accusations of serious wrongdoing about people he deals with? I recently heard some information about a business associate’s dealings with another of his associates that, if true, would make me reconsider doing business with him. However, his side of the story is that the other person is the one who acted wrongly. This is a serious matter, and it’s clear that one or both of them acted very badly, but since I was not personally involved and the only information I have is of a “he said/she said” nature, I am not sure how to decide what I should do. Am I right to consider the information I heard at all, since I can’t confirm it?

My answer, in brief:

Such dilemmas of moral judgment are difficult to navigate, and ideally, you either know enough about the characters of people in question or you can gather that information in order to come to an informed judgment. If you must choose between the two people now, then you should do so provisionally, as best as you can.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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Video: SOPA and Online Piracy

 Posted by on 17 January 2012 at 7:50 pm  Activism, Free Speech, Politics, Videocast
Jan 172012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed SOPA and online piracy. The question was:

Should SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) be supported or opposed? SOPA was recently introduced to the US House of Representatives, then shelved temporarily, and many people are urging businesses and their representatives to oppose it. Would the bill promote prosperity and creativity by protecting copyright? Or does it justify internet censorship and cripple free access of information through online media?

My answer, in brief:

SOPA and PIPA claim to protect copyright, but in fact, they’d break the fundamental architecture of the internet, subject innocent people to major legal battles, destroy large internet sites, and establish government control over the internet. To top it off, these laws would not stop pirates. They should be opposed.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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All posted webcast videos can be found in the Webcast Archives and on my YouTube channel.

Update: While SOPA (the House bill) seems to be comatose, PIPA (the Senate bill) is still alive and kicking. Please call and e-mail your senators! You can also blackout your site, which I’ll be doing tomorrow.

Jan 102012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed tenacity in pursuit of goals. The question was:

How can I become more tenacious in pursuit of my goals? I find that I give up too easily on some of my goals, particularly when success is far away and much effort is required now. What can I do to make myself more tenacious?

My answer, in brief:

Tenacity is an important quality of character to cultivate, but it must be used selectively. If tenacity is a problem for you, don’t wallow in guilt: find creative ways to motivate yourself.

Here’s the video of my full answer:

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All posted webcast videos can be found in the Webcast Archives and on my YouTube channel.

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