For Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a podcast on “Why Personality Matters in Politics… But Not in the Way You Think.” That podcast is now available for streaming or downloading.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Podcast: 26 April 2015

Do you ever worry that you’re just talking past people in your political advocacy? You might be! Happily, by understanding how your own personality differs from that of others, you can become more persuasive and effective in politics (and in life). In this interactive discussion, philosopher Diana Hsieh explained some of the major personality differences between people, then explore how they function in political debate. She showed how minor shifts in emphasis or approach – not compromises on principle – can make others more receptive to your ideas. This talk was given at Liberty on the Rocks, Flatirons on October 28, 2013.

Listen or Download:

Topics:

  • Principles in politics
  • The basics of personality theory
  • Meyers-Briggs
  • DiSC
  • DiSC in Politics
  • Colorado Tax Increase for Education, Amendment 66
  • Proposed Restrictions on Firearms
  • Three Lessons

Links:

Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. 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 answered questions on the major virtues, signs of repression, the ethics of care for the body, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Whole Podcast: 12 April 2015

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Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


Podcast Segments: 12 April 2015

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: The book version of Explore Atlas Shrugged is now now available on Amazon in kindle and paperback formats. I’ve resumed my ReligionCasts series of podcasts on philosophy of religion. And I won’t be broadcasting next Sunday for personal reasons.

Question 1: The Major Virtues

Question: What’s so special about the seven virtues? Ayn Rand identified seven virtues: rationality, honesty, productiveness, independence, justice, integrity, and pride. What’s different about those qualities – as compared to other commonly touted virtues like benevolence, creativity, temperance, or courage? Basically, why are those seven the virtues in Objectivism? Is Objectivism right to single them out? Are they exhaustive?

My Answer, In Brief: Ayn Rand was not concerned that her virtues be exhaustive or symmetrical. But the major virtues of the Objectivist ethics are such because they provide crucial, fundamental guidance and they’re contextual absolutes – unlike moral amplifiers. (Productiveness is an anomaly, in part.)

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Links:

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

Question 2: Signs of Repression

Question: What are the signs of emotional repression? It’s very important not to repress your emotions, especially if you are a person with rationalistic tendencies. But how might a person identify when he’s repressing some emotions? What are the signs? What can be done to avoid and overcome the tendency to repress, if such a tendency has become habitual?

My Answer, In Brief: Repression is an automatized refusal to think or feel that greatly impairs a person’s capacity to solve the problems of his life. A person can look for the signs of repression by constantly monitoring himself for signs of shutting down thoughts and feelings. He can overcome repression by allowing himself to think and feel everything, even while declining to act on random thoughts and feelings.

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Links:

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

Question 3: The Ethics of Care for the Body

Question: What is the moral status of actions aimed at tending to one’s body? In an egoistic ethics, the ultimate end of moral action is the growth and continuation of one’s own life. Ayn Rand discussed many of the kinds of actions required to achieve this goal, but she didn’t discuss matters of “bodily care,” such as cleaning your teeth, eating well, exercising regularly, tending to a wound, and seeking necessary medical care. These constitute a whole universe of actions necessary for the maintenance of one’s body and, hence, one’s life. Are such actions moral and virtuous? Should bodily care itself be considered a virtue? Or are these actions already subsumed under the virtues? (If so, I would love to know how to brush my teeth with integrity and pride!)

My Answer, In Brief: A person’s bodily health matters hugely to his well-being and longevity. New virtues are not required to account for this, however, as the virtues of integrity and pride do apply in spades.

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Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • Would it be wrong to say, “When you die, nothing happens” instead of “God bless you” when someone sneezes?
  • Is it okay to copy and distribute someone’s intellectual property if that person doesn’t believe in intellectual property?
  • Isn’t there a risk in a society without government welfare that the poor would commit crimes in order to go to prison and get free food, shelter etc.?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 1:31:16
  • Duration: 5:01
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:36:18


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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For Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a preview of my discussion of “Argument from Miracles for the Existence of God, Part 1.” That preview is now available for streaming or downloading, and the full podcast is available for purchase.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Podcast Preview: 9 April 2015

Do reports of miracles prove the existence of God? Most people of faith appeal to the miracles of their faith as grounds for their belief. Here, I consider what miracles are, how they are supposed to prove God’s existence, and raise some concerns about them.

This podcast is one of the ReligionCasts – my series of podcasts on the philosophy of religion. Below, you can preview the podcast for free. Then, purchase access to my whole series of 16 podcasts (8 free, 8 premium) for just $10. (Regular contributors to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar should email me for free access.)

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Links:


Purchase the Podcast

My podcast series on philosophy of religion – a.k.a. the “ReligionCasts” – is is available for purchase for $10. (The first eight podcasts in the series are free to all, while the latter eight are premium content.) If you contribute to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar via recurring weekly or monthly contributions (or the equivalent), please email me for free access.

Terms of Sale: You may share the podcast with members of your household, but not beyond that. Do not ever post the podcast or login credentials in any public forum.

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Item:Podcast Series: ReligionCasts ($10)
 


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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

Apr 062015
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on personality theory and ethics, euthanizing a pet, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Whole Podcast: 5 April 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


Podcast Segments: 5 April 2015

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I posted my 2012 lecture “Should You Try to Be Morally Perfect?” as a premium podcast, and I expect a new proof of the book version of Explore Atlas Shrugged to arrive tomorrow.

Question 1: Personality Theory and Ethics

Question: How does personality theory affect ethics? In your December 21st, 2014 discussion of the relationship between philosophy and science, you stated that your grasp of personality theory has given you a fresh perspective on ethics and changed your understanding of the requirements of the virtues. How does personality theory inform the field of ethics, in general? How should personality theory inform our moral judgments? How does one avoid slipping into subjectivism when accounting for personality differences? (Presumably, it doesn’t matter whether Hitler was a High-D or not before we judge him as evil.) How can we distinguish between making reasonable accommodations for personality differences and appeasing destructive behavior and people? Are virtues other than justice affected by an understanding of personality theory?

My Answer, In Brief: Personality theory does not change the substance of ethics, but it sheds light on the practice of the virtues, and particularly aids in exercising the virtues of justice and pride.

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Links:

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

Question 2: Euthanizing a Pet

Question: When should a person euthanize a pet? Over the years, I’ve had to decide whether to medically treat my cats or euthanize them when they’re seriously ill, and it tends to be a hard choice to make. Concern for the cat’s quality of life is a factor, but so is the monetary cost of veterinary procedures and medication, the time required, and the emotional pain of parting from an animal that has been part of my life for many years. In my own decisions, I’ve come down to, “Am I keeping this cat alive because his life has value to him, or because I don’t want to face losing him?” Yet in online discussions, I see comments from other people who strike me as prolonging a pet’s life even when the pet is miserable, which seems horrifying to me. What is your approach to these decisions? What do you think is the best way to approach them? Is this a question of ethical principle or purely one of optional values?

My Answer, In Brief: Pets are serious responsibilities, and people should consider the well-being of the animal, as well as the well-being of the humans involved, when deciding whether to put down an animal or not.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Listen or Download:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • Heuristics are very important in day to day life. What is the place of heuristics in a principled ethical philosophy?
  • Is “perversion” a valid concept? What does it really mean, morally, to call someone “perverted”?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 55:28
  • Duration: 8:08
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:03:36


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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Apr 022015
 

For Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a preview of my podcast on “Should You Try to Be Morally Perfect?” That preview is now available for streaming or downloading, and the full podcast is available for purchase.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Podcast Preview: 2 April 2015

Most people dismiss any ideal of moral perfection as beyond their reach. “I’m only human,” they say. That view is a legacy of Christianity, which teaches that moral perfection is possible to God alone and that any attempt at moral perfection is the sin of pride. In sharp contrast, Ayn Rand argues that moral perfection is not only possible to ordinary people, but also necessary for anyone who wants to live a virtuous and happy life. Hence, pride, understood as moral ambitiousness, is one of her seven major virtues – as seen in the heroes of her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

This talk explores Ayn Rand’s views of moral perfection, ambition, and pride. What does she think that morality demands? How can people achieve that? How should people respond to their own moral wrongs and errors? Comparing Rand’s answers to these questions to those of Aristotle, I show that despite some differences in each philosopher’s conception of virtue, they share the compelling view that seeking moral perfection is crucially important to a person’s life and happiness.

This lecture was given on 6 March 2012 at the University of Colorado at Boulder as part of the Philosophy Department’s “Think!” series.

Below, you can preview 14 minutes of this lecture for free. Then, purchase access to the full 90-minute lecture for just $10. That full version includes a Q&A session at the end, as well as the PowerPoint slides used in the lecture. (Regular contributors to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar should email me for free access.)

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Purchase the Podcast

The podcast of this lecture is available for purchase for $10. If you contribute to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar via recurring weekly or monthly contributions (or the equivalent), please email me for free access.

Terms of Sale: You may share the podcast with members of your household, but not beyond that. Do not ever post the podcast or login credentials in any public forum.

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Item:Lecture: Should You Try to Be Morally Perfect? ($10)
 


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on claims of rights to food and shelter, extreme cases, being helpful to a disliked co-worker, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Whole Podcast: 29 March 2015

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Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


Podcast Segments: 29 March 2015

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been very productive since SnowCon, particularly in getting the book version of Explore Atlas Shrugged ready for publication.

Question 1: Claims of Rights to Food and Shelter

Question: 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?

My Answer, In Brief: The only “right to food and shelter” that people have is a right to pursue that, by their own efforts and voluntary trade with others. Government welfare programs violate those rights, and worse, do serious harm to the poor.

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Links:

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

Question 2: Extreme Cases

Question: 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?

My Answer, In Brief: Lifeboat scenarios are not particularly relevant to the core of ethics, yet many of the basic principles of ethics still apply, even in desperate circumstances.

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Links:

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

Question 3: Being Helpful to a Disliked Co-Worker

Question: 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?

My Answer, In Brief: While you have no duty to help this co-worker, you might err on the side of benevolence. Don’t speak to her directly, but instead speak to your manager (and hers, if necessary).

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • Is it ever the case that someone who’s being really annoying just deserves to be socked in the face?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 59:42
  • Duration: 3:04
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:02:46


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. 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 answered questions on major branches of philosophy, displaying the confederate flag, taxpayer-funded abortions, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Whole Podcast: 15 March 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


Podcast Segments: 15 March 2015

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

Introduction

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

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

Question 2: Displaying the Confederate Flag

Question: 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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Links:

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

Question 3: Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

Question: 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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Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • 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”?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 48:01
  • Duration: 11:47
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 59:48


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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


 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on fractional reserve banking, fraud, and deception, people unworthy of the truth, deception in a business partner, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Whole Podcast: 8 March 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


Podcast Segments: 8 March 2015

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

Introduction

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

Question: 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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Links:

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

Question 2: People Unworthy of the Truth

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

Question 3: Deception in a Business Partner

Question: 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.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

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

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 51:41
  • Duration: 4:49
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 56:30


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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Mar 022015
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on the nature of character, revenge porn, coming out as an atheist, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Whole Podcast: 1 March 2015

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Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


Podcast Segments: 1 March 2015

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

Introduction

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

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

Question 2: Revenge Porn

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

Question 3: Coming Out as an Atheist

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • 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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  • Start Time: 53:14
  • Duration: 11:31
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:04:45


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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


 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on forcing people to govern, vaccinating for herd immunity, minimizing interruptions at work, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

You can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:


Whole Podcast: 22 February 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life… far and wide. That’s why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.


Podcast Segments: 22 February 2015

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: Paul visited me here in Aiken, and now my parents are visiting.

Question 1: Forcing People to Govern

Question: 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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Links:

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

Question 2: Vaccinating for Herd Immunity

Question: 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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Links:

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

Question 3: Minimizing Interruptions at Work

Question: How can I minimize interruptions at work? I’m a programmer, and I need long stretches of quiet time in order to be productive. Unfortunately, my work has an open floor plan, and people tend to pop by my desk if they have a question. I hate those interruptions, but I don’t know how to discourage them without being snippy or unfriendly. Plus, sometimes my co-workers have good reason to interrupt me with a question or news. So how can I eliminate the unimportant interruptions?

My Answer, In Brief: Interruptions at work are often major productivity killers. You can try to create a bubble for yourself, and you can try to change practices in the workplace.

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:10:48


About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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


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