On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on major branches of philosophy, displaying the confederate flag, taxpayer-funded abortions, 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: Philosophy, Confederate Flags, Abortion Funding, and More

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You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been recovering and unpacking from my trip home from Aiken, plus preparing for SnowCon!

Question 1: Major Branches of Philosophy (3:43)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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?

My Answer, In Brief: The four major branches of philosophy are metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics. Those branches are central to the discipline and fundamental to human life.

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Question 2: Displaying the Confederate Flag (17:37)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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?

My Answer, In Brief: While a person can take pleasure and pride in the distinctive culture of the south, the Confederate flag is a symbol of the worst era of the south, and that deeply racist meaning cannot be reclaimed or reformed. However, people can embrace the Confederate flag for more benign reasons too. Ultimately, you have to talk to a person to find out what that symbol means to him in order to judge him fairly.

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Question 3: Taxpayer-Funded Abortions (32:33)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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?

My Answer, In Brief: In this second-best scenario, the primary question is whether you’re helping or harming the cause of liberty by advocating against taxpayer-funded abortions. Here, you would make yourself an ally of anti-abortion activists and their disastrous agenda.

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Rapid Fire Questions (48:01)

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

  • What is your opinion of people who “baby” their pets?
  • Japanese culture highly values humility. Should an egoist travelling to Japan respect this, or act just as proudly as he would in his native country?
  • Now that the church is slowly losing its power and significance, where are all the “witch-doctors” flocking to?
  • There’s a field called “philosophy of mind,” so why is there no “philosophy of body”?

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Conclusion (59:48)

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!

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on fractional reserve banking, fraud, and deception, people unworthy of the truth, deception in a business partner, 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.

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Podcast: Fractional Reserve Banking, Honesty, Trust in Business, and More

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You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’m wrapping up my time in Aiken and preparing for SnowCon 2015.

Question 1: Fractional Reserve Banking, Fraud, and Deception (2:48)

In this segment, I answered a question on fractional reserve banking, 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?

My Answer, In Brief: The libertarian arguments about fractional reserve banking as inherently fraudulent are wrong and silly. False beliefs do not render transactions fraudulent: some kind of intentional or negligent deception is required.

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Question 2: People Unworthy of the Truth (24:38)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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 withholding information?

My Answer, In Brief: A decent person deals with other people squarely, whether by communicating honestly with them or keeping away. Attempting to justify deception on the grounds that others are unworthy destroys your character and makes you “unworthy” by your own standards.

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Question 3: Deception in a Business Partner (38:58)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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?

My Answer, In Brief: This marketer is flying a slew of red flags: he seems dishonest, manipulative, and sleazy. Don’t tolerate that or try to manage it: you’ll lose. Cut ties and find better people to promote your work.

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Rapid Fire Questions (51:41)

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

  • Would you pay $10,000 for an 18 karat gold Apple Watch?
  • Should children be taught about sexual sadism and masochism?

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Conclusion (56:30)

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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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.

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Podcast: Character, Revenge Porn, Atheism, and More

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Feb 162015
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on developing resilience, nuisance limits for new technology, spouses sharing activities, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Resilience, Nuisances, Sharing Activities, and More

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You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been recovering from Thursday’s concussion after falling off my horse Phantom.

Question 1: Developing Resilience (4:27)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Question 3: Spouses Sharing Activities (50:31)

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

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

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

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:00:03)

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

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

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Conclusion (1:10:45)

Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on choosing between egoism and altruism, changing jobs quickly, the morality of boycotts, 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: Egoism and Altruism, Changing Jobs, Boycotts, and More

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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 settling into my life with the horses in Aiken, South Carolina. That has been going swimmingly!

Question 1: Choosing Between Egoism and Altruism (2:56)

In this segment, I answered a question on choosing between 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?

My Answer, In Brief: The “common sense” view that people should take a moderate path in life of some egoism and some altruism is wrong: that indicates a failure to understand the fundamental question involved. However, it’s not an unreasonable approach, given people’s misunderstandings about the nature of egoism and altruism.

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Question 2: Changing Jobs Quickly (32:04)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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?

My Answer, In Brief: When you take a job, you should not do so under false pretenses, including any pretense that you’ll stay for longer than you actually plan to do. That way, you’re providing genuine value in exchange for your salary, and you won’t burning bridges.

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Question 3: The Morality of Boycotts (44:45)

In this segment, I answered a question on 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?

My Answer, In Brief: So long as conducted peacefully and honestly, boycotts do not violate rights. When used properly – in service of worthy causes and by worthy means – they can be powerful and important methods of cultural change.

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:07:48)

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

  • Someone feels an acute pang of explosive, potentially self destructive anger. He has the urge to break his TV or curse out his boss. How can he alleviate or ride out this emotional emergency?

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Conclusion (1:13:04)

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NoodleCast #332: Rapid Fire Extravaganza

 Posted by on 30 January 2015 at 8:00 am  NoodleCast
Jan 302015
 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on all sorts of topics from the Rapid Fire Queue 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.

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Podcast: Rapid Fire Extravaganza

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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 frantically preparing to depart for Aiken, which happens in the wee hours of Friday morning!

Rapid Fire Questions (2:44)

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

  • What is your view of common-law marriages?
  • Are smart animals like the sign-language-using ape, math-speaking African Grey parrot, dolphins, and some crows using concepts?
  • What are some good sources of humor that are consistent with and supportive of a rational, Objectivist worldview?
  • So, habitual drug use is bad. And so is impairing one’s mind in as much as our minds are our primary means of survival. I don’t do such drugs on principle, and am very happy this way. The question is: do you think it is rational to accept the offer to partake in a safe one-time experience using a relatively safe psychedelic drug that is similar to psilocybin, i.e. mushrooms? The intention would be to have a deep bonding experience with a trusted loved one (who is initiating the request).
  • Should emotions be subjected to moral judgment?
  • I can’t comprehend how some people care more about animals more than humans. Could it be that they’ve just met lots of jerks?
  • Can a person be justly blamed for not doing something he should have done, when the thought of doing it never occurred to him, but he would have done it if the thought had occurred to him?
  • Is love really a battlefield, or did Pat Benatar get it wrong?
  • Have you read any Kafka? If so, do you think interpreting his work as dark humour makes it seem more acceptable?
  • Is limiting the use of water during a drought a proper function of government? What about under normal circumstances?

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

Conclusion (1:04:38)

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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 Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on the regulation of ultrahazardous activities, declining gift solicitations, 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.

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Podcast: Ultrahazardous Activities, Declining Gift Solicitations, and More

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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 copyediting Explore Atlas Shrugged one last time and preparing for the trip to Aiken!

Question 1: The Regulation of Ultrahazardous Activities (2:28)

In this segment, I answered a question on the regulation of ultrahazardous activities.

Would the government of a free society issue bans or otherwise regulate activities dangerous to bystanders? 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?

My Answer, In Brief: Ultrahazardous activities should be subjected to a standard of strict liability in tort law, rather than the negligence standard used in other cases. If a negligence standard were used, that would allow businesses who engage in ultrahazardous activities to privatize profits and socialize costs.

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  • Duration: 47:07
  • Tags: Business, Epistemology, Government, Law, Philosophy, Regulation, Rights, Risk, Science, Technology, Torts
  • Links:

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

    Question 2: Declining Gift Solicitations (49:35)

    In this segment, I answered a question on 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?

    My Answer, In Brief: Businesses should not permit their employees to be socially pressured to give money for gifts and celebrations: they should institute policies that protect employees from the cost and distraction of a parade of small parties and gifts. If a business won’t do that, an employee can still decide whether and how much to participate in these office social rituals, and hopefully others will be understanding of their reasons.

    Listen or Download:

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

    Rapid Fire Questions (1:06:08)

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

    • Should prisoners have the right to vote?

    Listen or Download:

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

    Conclusion (1:07:51)

    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

     

    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!

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    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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