On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on claims of rights to food and shelter, extreme cases, being helpful to a disliked co-worker, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 29 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: Claims of Rights to Food and Shelter: Do people have a right to food and shelter? I recently had a conversation with a Facebook friend who stated that food and shelter are more than necessities, they are rights. I posed the question, “How does one exercise their right to food and shelter?” No one answered the question, so I would like to pose it here. Most food in this country is grown by farmers and sold fresh, or processed in a factory for sale. If food is a “right,” does anyone without the means to buy these products have an inherent right to take what they need without any remuneration to the farmer or the manufacturer? The same applies to shelter. How does one exercise their “right” to shelter without a means to earn it? We have a right to free speech, and a right to vote. One is exercised by speaking your mind on a subject without fear of government reprisal, and the other is exercised by voting during elections. We have the right to practice whatever religion we want or none at all. The press has the right to print or say whatever they want. Any “right” to food or shelter would have to operate differently. So are food and shelter a “right”? What would that mean in practice?
  • Question 2: Extreme Cases: Do moral principles break down in extreme cases? When faced with bizarre hypotheticals, advocates of rational egoism often assert that such scenarios would never happen. This seems to be dodging the question. It’s said that conventional understandings of physics break down at microscopic and extremely grand-scale levels. Does morality follow a similar pattern? For example, what if a small society of people stranded on an island faced a shortage of clean water, and a single individual who owned all access to clean water refused to sell it? Is that really impossible? Doesn’t that show that the principle of individual rights breaks down in extreme cases?
  • Question 3: Being Helpful to a Disliked Co-Worker: Should I do something nice for a coworker I dislike? There’s a lady at work that I dislike. My conflict with her is primarily merely a conflict of personality. I find her defensive, passive-aggressive, and awkward to the point of rudeness. I am also not very impressed with her work products, but that rarely has a direct impact on me – except when I’m asked to review them – as is the fact that she only seems to work for about six hours every day. Indirectly, of course, her eccentricities and poor work quality cast our team in a very poor light and could eventually serve as a reason to dissolve or lay off our team. It’s a mystery as to why she hasn’t been fired. But I’m not her manager. In a meeting earlier today, she made a remark that she thought she was being excluded from important meetings that are relevant to her work. The truth is that she’s not being actively excluded from these meetings, but rather everything is happening so fast and the meetings aren’t always planned, so it’s really just not possible to include her in those meetings. She would probably be heartened to understand better how these events take place in our company. (She’s rather new, and I am very tenured.) She might feel better about her position and she might become less defensive about things if she had a better understanding of the organizational mechanics here. But I strongly dislike her and would prefer that she seek other employment. Should I be kind and explain those mechanics or not?

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: Rights to Things, Extreme Cases, Being Helpful, 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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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on major branches of philosophy, displaying the confederate flag, taxpayer-funded abortions, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 15 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: Major Branches of Philosophy: What are the major branches of philosophy? Ayn Rand claimed that philosophy consisted of five major branches – metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and esthetics. Is that right? If so, why are those the five major branches? Are they comprehensive in some way? Why not include philosophy of science, logic, philosophy of mind, and so on?
  • Question 2: Displaying the Confederate Flag: Is displaying the Confederate flag racist? I’ve been told by southerners that displaying the flag of the Confederate States amounts to a display of “southern pride.” I think it amounts to a display of racism, given the history of the south. That flag was used in a time when the agricultural economy of the southern states relied on slave labor. Many southern states seceded from the Union, largely because of their nefarious interests in preserving slavery. The Confederate flag represents these states and their ideology. Hence, I think it’s morally questionable (at least) to display it. I don’t think the south should take pride in or honor the Confederacy. Am I right or wrong in my thinking? What should I think of people who choose to display the Confederate flag?
  • Question 3: Taxpayer-Funded Abortions: Should taxpayer-funded abortions be opposed? In Victoria, Australia, we have fairly good laws on abortion and there are almost no legal or social barriers to access. However, we also have a very generous public health care system which means that most if not all of the costs of an abortion will be covered by the public. Is there something especially wrong with publicly funded abortion that advocates of individual rights should be concerned with or is it morally equivalent to the immorality of forcing others to pay for less controversial treatment such as dental surgery? Does the cultural context influence how a free-market advocate should approach this topic? While the majority of the community supports the current laws, there seem to be signs of an anti-abortion faction developing in the Liberal Party (the conservatives). I wouldn’t want to have opposition to publicly-funded abortions result in any kind of ban on abortions. So should publicly funded abortions be opposed or not?

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: Philosophy, Confederate Flags, Abortion Funding, 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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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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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, 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.

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on developing resilience, nuisance limits for new technology, spouses sharing activities, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 15 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: 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?
  • Question 2: 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?
  • Question 3: 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: he’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?

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: Resilience, Nuisances, Sharing Activities, 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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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on egoism and altruism, changing jobs quickly, the morality of boycotts, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 8 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: Egoism and Altruism: Are egoism and altruism mutually exclusive? Most people have a common-sense view of ethics. They think that a person should spend lots of time pursuing his own goals and happiness. They also think that a person should sometimes set aside such pursuits to help others. Basically, on this view, a person can be an egoist and an altruist, and that he should be a little of both. Yet I’ve heard that egoism and altruism are two wholly incompatible moral theories too. So what’s right or wrong about the common-sense view?
  • Question 2: Changing Jobs Quickly: Is it immoral or unwise to accept a better job soon after starting a different one? I am ready to change jobs. I could probably move to another role within my company pretty quickly and easily and continue to move my career forward, but I could make more money and get better experience outside of my company. Outside job hunts can be lengthy and full of disappointments and all the while I would have to work at a job that is, frankly, killing my soul. I think it’s pretty clear that – if I accept a new job in my company and immediately turn around and give notice to go somewhere else – I run a high risk of burning bridges with key contacts at my current company. But would it be unethical in some way to do that? When you accept a job are you making a tacit promise to work there for some period of time? If so, what’s the minimum amount of time?
  • Question 3: The Morality of Boycotts: It is moral to advocate for the boycott of a business? Over the holidays, my brother and I discussed cases in which businesses are compelled by government to provide services against their will. For example, the Colorado courts demanded that a bakery make cakes for gay couples or face fines. We agreed that the business should be left free to operate as they see fit, absent violating anyone’s actual rights, and reap the rewards or penalties from their choice. Where we diverged was on the moral status of the business owner and whether the bakery deserved to be boycotted. In my view, the decision of the owner of the Colorado bakery was immoral: they were being irrational, discriminating by non-essentials. My brother disagreed. Moreover, my brother opposed any advocacy of a boycott, seeing this as a call for force to be applied against the owner. This would be wrong, in his view, but he would be fine with suggesting that people patronize a different store. Ultimately, I found that I could not adequately explain why I think people might actively and openly oppose wrong acts by businesses, even if those acts don’t violate rights. So what justifies such boycotts, if anything?

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: Egoism and Altruism, Changing Jobs, Boycotts, 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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Preview: Thursday Radio: Rapid Fire Extravaganza

 Posted by on 28 January 2015 at 8:00 am  Announcements
Jan 282015
 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on all sorts of topics from the Rapid Fire Queue. This episode of internet radio airs at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Thursday, 29 January 2015, in our live studio. If you can’t listen live, you’ll find the podcast on the episode’s archive page.

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: Rapid Fire Extravaganza. 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.

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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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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