Jan 202014
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on faith in reason, free speech of government officials, gay pride, 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: Faith in Reason, Free Speech, Gay Pride, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been very busy preparing for my departure for Aiken, South Carolina, plus I’ll be away at SnowCon Tahoe late next week. As a result of that travel, the next live show will be on Tuesday, January 28th. After that, we’ll broadcast on Thursday evenings through the end of February. Check out the calendar and episodes on tap for details. The half-price sale on my podcast on Finding Good Prospects for Romance and Friendship ends on January 20th.

Question 1: Faith in Reason (4:08)

In this segment, I answered a question on faith in reason.

Does being rational mean having faith in reason? I’m a high school student in a religious school. Many of my classmates claim that my belief in a knowable reality, science, and reason is merely a form of faith. So how can a person validate his own reason and senses? How can a person know that they are reliable means of knowing reality – unless he uses them and thereby engages in circular reasoning? My classmates claim that God is the only way out of this puzzle: God checks our reasoning by verifying and opposing our various conclusions. How can I respond to their arguments effectively?

My Answer, In Brief: The validity of perception and logic cannot be proven due to problems of circularity, but they can be validated by noticing that they are fundamental and inescapable in any thinking or claims of knowledge. Faith, in contrast, rejects the need for any justification – not just of itself, but of any claims of faith too.

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Question 2: Free Speech of Government Officials (30:23)

In this segment, I answered a question on free speech of government officials.

Does freedom of speech apply to government officials? In August 2013, Rolling Stone caused a furor by putting accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover. In response, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino wrote to the publisher of Rolling Stone, telling him that doing so “rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment” – treatment the magazine should have given to the survivors. Other government officials were similarly critical of Rolling Stone. My first reaction was that these government officials had no place saying anything about a publication. But then I wondered, doesn’t the First Amendment still apply to them? In other words, do government officials have freedom of speech?

My Answer, In Brief: Politicians have the right to free speech, just like the rest of us. However, they overstep the bounds of proper government when they speak from their political office without an explicit statement recognizing the rights of the people involved.

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Question 3: Gay Pride (42:55)

In this segment, I answered a question on gay pride.

Are “gay pride” parades good? Sexuality is not chosen, so being gay is not something that a person could be proud of. However, these parades seem like harmless fun, and they might even help alleviate homophobia. (They might perpetuate stereotypes too, however.) So are they, on balance, of benefit? Also, what should be made of the fact that a “straight pride” parade would be seen as homophobic? Isn’t the goal here equality? Does that show that gay pride parades are elevating a minority into something special and unequal?

My Answer, In Brief: The concept of “gay pride” does not mean taking homosexuality per se to be a virtue. Rather, it recognizes the virtues requires to come out and assert one’s rights in today’s society.

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:03:05)

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

  • Do you have any opinion about Ann Coulter?
  • Should I be conflicted about enjoying the late Michael Jackson’s music given that I believe he molested children (even though he was publicly acquitted)?
  • If one is interested in becoming a voice for a cause or an activist, how does one start?

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Conclusion (1:09:31)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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 justifying punishment, living on passive income, the morality of price gouging, 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: Justifying Punishment, Passive Income, Price Gouging, 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I visited Paul’s family in Los Angeles this week, and I particularly enjoyed being the fun aunt to my niece and nephew! Now, I’m back to work. Also… Go Broncos!

Question 1: Justifying Punishment (3:39)

In this segment, I answered a question on justifying punishment.

What justifies punishing people for committing crimes? In your 2006 graduate paper, “The Scope Problem in Punishment,” you criticize utilitarian theories of punishment that aim for deterrence of future crimes on the grounds that they don’t punish all and only those who are guilty. Yet why is that a problem? Moreover, why should a criminal be punished if doing so won’t have any future benefits, such as deterring future crimes? Doesn’t self-interest require that actions have some future benefit – and if so, shouldn’t all punishment have some positive future effect like deterrence?

My Answer, In Brief: The justification for the practice of punishment must be a rights-based retributive theory, otherwise the theory of punishment will demand that some innocent people be punished and some guilty people not be punished. However, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation are legitimate values to be sought when considering how to punish criminals.

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Question 2: Living on Passive Income (30:27)

In this segment, I answered a question on living on passive income.

Is it moral to live on passive income or just work a “four hour work week”? Would that be compatible with the idea that a person’s productive work should be his central purpose? If a person is so productive that he is able to enjoy a great life by only working a few hours per week, would it be wrong for that person to spend the rest of his time on travel, relationships, hobbies, self-improvement, education, and other non-productive interests?

My Answer, In Brief: Morality requires that you support your life by your own efforts, producing and trading for the material goods required for survival. It doesn’t require you to put in a certain number of hours at work, and it shouldn’t entail living for weekends and retirement.

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Question 3: The Morality of Price Gouging (43:35)

In this segment, I answered a question on the morality of price gouging.

Is it morally wrong to profit from someone else’s distress? People often decry “taking advantage” of other people as cruel and wrong. For example, suppose that a person desperately needs water after a hurricane or other natural disaster. I charge him $1000 for a gallon jug, knowing that he can pay that much if he’s really that desperate. Is such price gouging immoral? Is it fundamentally different from other kinds of trade – or just different in degree? Is it morally wrong to profit so handsomely by the distress and scanty options of other people in this way?

My Answer, In Brief: Price gouging is not immoral. So long as the transaction is voluntary, then each side regards himself as better off for having made the trade, and others benefit too. However, choosing not to price gouge is often a very self-interested choice for those interested in creating goodwill and reputation, as well as those who wish to be benevolent.

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:00:31)

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

  • What is the doctrine of double effect?
  • People use words like ‘dirty’ in a playful way to describe sexual things (e.g. a ‘dirty’ movie). Should such terms be abandoned, since they originated in a time when sex was actually considered dirty?
  • Is regifting moral?

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Conclusion (1:07:25)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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 morality of elective abortion, liability for injuries on the job, guilt over self-sacrifice, 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: Morality of Abortion, Injuries on the Job, Self-Sacrifice, 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’m on my way to visit Paul’s family, and I’ve started eating Whole30 for January!

Question 1: The Morality of Elective Abortion (4:24)

In this segment, I answered a question on the morality of elective abortion.

Is elective abortion morally wrong? Some people support abortion in the cases of rape or incest, as well as in cases of serious medical problems with the fetus or the pregnancy. However, they regard the termination of a normal, healthy pregnancy as morally wrong, particularly as irresponsible. Are such abortions wrong? Does the judgment change if the couple used birth control or not?

My Answer, In Brief: Abortion is a moral choice whenever a pregnancy – let alone raising a child – would be a sacrifice of herself, her goals, and her happiness. For many unwanted pregnancies, an early-term abortion is a far better option than adoption or becoming a parent.

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Question 2: Liability for Injuries on the Job (29:32)

In this segment, I answered a question on liability for injuries on the job.

Should employers be required to warn employees of possible harms on the job? Discovery Channel’s TV show Gold Rush depicted a South American gold miner using mercury in the mining process because mercury binds to gold and makes extraction from a “sluice.” Mercury, being heavier, falls below the surface and is collected at the bottom of a “sluice box.” The episode (titled “The Jungle”) depicts workers using their bare hands in the sluice where I’m assuming they are in direct physical contact with the toxic mercury. In a free society, should employers be allowed to expose their employees to such dangers? Should employers be obliged to warn employees of those dangers or to take precautions? Or are workers responsible for the risks of their job?

My Answer, In Brief: In a free society, people would be entitled to take whatever risks they deem fit. However, when those risks are taken on behalf of another, such as for a job, they must be disclosed, understood, and consented to.

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Question 3: Guilt over Self-Sacrifice (46:48)

In this segment, I answered a question on guilt over self-sacrifice.

Should a person feel guilty for not acting selfishly enough? According to rational egoism, a person ought to act selfishly – not in the sense of hurting others, but in the sense of pursuing his own good. If a person fails to do that, should he feel guilty for failing to act morally?

My Answer, In Brief: An egoist can and should feel guilty when he harms himself – if that harm is serious and the product of a willful failure of morality, as opposed to a mere mistake.

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:00:52)

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

  • What place does Ayn Rand deserve in the history of philosophy? Is she one of the “big ones,” like Kant and Descartes, or is her philosophy just a minor variation on Aristotle’s?
  • How do I keep myself from just coming off as a contrarian when I disagree with something that’s more ingrained than just mainstream?

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Conclusion (1:08:35)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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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Dec 302013
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on progress on long-term goals, claims of white privilege, 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: Progress on Goals, White Privilege, 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I enjoyed Christmas with my parents and husband in Breckenridge. Also, if you want a signed copy of my new book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, be sure to order that before the end of December! They won’t be available again until April.

Question 1: Progress on Long-Term Goals (3:23)

In this segment, I answered a question on progress on long-term goals.

How can I make better progress on my long-term goals? I have the curious affliction of stagnating, often for very long periods of time, on long term goals. That happens even when those goals pertain to pursuits I enjoy. This pattern has me confused and somewhat alarmed, because I know that these long term goals I have set for myself will be the most meaningful for me to accomplish. Although I see the great value in skill-building for a new career, learning to play the piano, learning a new language, and so on, I cannot seem to get myself to take the daily, repeated action required for more than a week or two. That happens, despite my applying GTD and breaking down the larger task into manageable pieces. My neophile personality simply takes interest in something else, and I miss a day (then two, then three) of taking action, preventing me from ever establishing an activity as a habit. How can I break this cycle of mediocrity, so that I can really start making progress on long term goals?

My Answer, In Brief: You can get more done if you (1) know the real-life purpose of your endeavor, (2) track your progress in objective way, (3) respect the major effort required to concentrate, (4) are realistic about what’s possible to you, and (5) monitor yourself as you work.

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Question 2: Claims of White Privilege (36:17)

In this segment, I answered a question on claims of white privilege.

What is the individualist response to claims about “white privilege”? In May 2013, you published a blog post entitled “Personal Motives for Benevolence” where you introduced the idea that prejudice is often formed by favoritism and not overt bigotry. Clearly, such favoritism can be based on race too. So what is the proper and just response to claims of “white privilege” – such as found in the article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh?

My Answer, In Brief: Talk of “white privilege” is often saturated with collectivism and other false assumptions. However, the phenomena of in-group privilege is a very real and important influence on social behavior, due to our natural affinity for people similar to us. However, we must ensure that such doesn’t render our actions – and particularly not the criminal justice system – unjust.

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:08:31)

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

  • If the universe has always existed, does that make it an actual infinity?
  • Why do the philosophical skeptics, who claim that even skepticism could be wrong, seem to be the ones least willing to entertain any argument that concludes that such is the case?

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Conclusion (1:16:24)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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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Dec 232013
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on explaining egoistic benevolence, 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: Explaining Egoistic Benevolence 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been preparing for Christmas, SnowCon Tahoe, and SnowCon!

Question 1: Explaining Egoistic Benevolence (4:39)

In this segment, I answered a question on explaining egoistic benevolence.

How can we better explain how helping others can be egoistic? In your October 7, 2013 radio show, you observed that people often don’t understand how acting kindly and generously towards friends is self-interested. Instead, they think that being benevolent toward anyone is “other-regarding” and hence, altruistic. How can we egoists untangle this seeming conflict for people?

My Answer, In Brief: Egoists must do a better job of explaining that egoism — properly understood — is not manipulative, mercenary, predatory, or criminal. To see that, people need to understand egoism versus altruism in big-picture terms, as well as show how and why relationships with others can and should be win-wins.

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Rapid Fire Questions (56:54)

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

  • Is there a limit to compartmentalization?
  • Is it morally okay to lie at birthdays and Christmas for the sake of a surprise?
  • Do those who abstain from voting still have the right to criticize the current administration?
  • What kind of countermeasures can be taken against the hijacking of science – as seen with global warming – in the future?
  • How can a person become more optimistic that rational ideas will be the norm of the future?

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Conclusion (1:08:29)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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 public shamings, problems with an aggressive dog, photography as 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: Public Shamings, Aggressive Dogs, Photography, 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I had a fabulous birthday this week! Many thanks to the reviewers of my new book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. If you’ve read it, please review it on Amazon! Also, I’m running two special offers in December: a code for $5 off the paperback and $25 for signed copy. Alos, if you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, my podcast on Finding Good Prospects for Romance and Friendship is available for half price – just $10 – through the end of December.

Question 1: Public Shamings (5:17)

In this segment, I answered a question on public shamings.

Are public shamings morally justifiable? I often read of judges handing down sentences designed to humiliate the offender, such as standing at a busy intersection wearing a sandwich board apologizing for their offense. Many people favor these kinds of punishments in lieu of jail time because they consume less resources of the penal system. They may be more effective too. Does that justify such shamings? Moreover, what’s the morality of similar shamings by parents and businesses? A bodega in my neighborhood posts surveillance camera footage of shoplifters, usually with some snarky comment about their theft. I find this practice amusing, but is that moral? Is it akin to vigilantism?

My Answer, In Brief: Public shaming for petty crimes can help protect the community, deter crime, incent reparations, and empower the victim – particularly when done by the victim.

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Question 2: Problems with an Aggressive Dog (22:58)

In this segment, I answered a question on problems with an aggressive dog.

What should a person do about a neighbor’s aggressive dog? My husband was attacked (but barely injured) by a neighbor’s dog. No one else was in the room at the time. Our children often play at this person’s house, and the dog has always been friendly in the past. How do you suggest handling the situation? Should we allow our children to play with the dog, as we always have in the past? What should the owner do about the dog?

My Answer, In Brief: An aggressive dog is dangerous, so you need to have a calm but frank conversation with the owner, set limits for your family, and teach everyone about dealing with strange dogs.

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Question 3: Photography as Art (39:46)

In this segment, I answered a question on photography as art.

Does photography qualify as art? I’ve always viewed photography as a legitimate form of art. However, many people I disagree: Ayn Rand argued that it’s a technical rather than a creative skill. However, I regard photography as a technical and creative skill, just like painting. So does photography qualify as art? If not, does that mean that photography doesn’t have value – or has less value than proper art forms like painting? If photography has value nonetheless, what is the source of that value?

My Answer, In Brief: In my view, photography is not, strictly speaking, art because it’s not wholly the creation of the artist in the way that painting is. However, that doesn’t imply anything about the value of photography, which is often considerable.

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Rapid Fire Questions (58:27)

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

  • If a professional football player suffers a career-ending injury in the 1st of a 3-year contract, should he give the money back for the years he doesn’t play?
  • What do you think of the comparison between the NBC drama Dracula and Atlas Shrugged?What should a person do when they see others treating people unjustly, e.g. by making fun of fat people?
  • Are schoolyard bullies motivated by the death premise?

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Conclusion (1:08:20)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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 Objectivism versus secular humanism, moral judgment of European colonizers, the right time to declare love, 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: Secular Humanism, European Colonizers, Declaring Love, 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: Many thanks to the reviewers of my new book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. If you’ve read it, please review it on Amazon! Also, I’m running two special offers in December: a code for $5 off the paperback and $25 for signed copy. Also, I’ve made good progress on my updates to Explore Atlas Shrugged, as I just finished Session 10!

Question 1: Objectivism Versus Secular Humanism (4:14)

In this segment, I answered a question on Objectivism versus secular humanism.

What are the similarities and differences between Objectivism and secular humanism? Objectivism and secular humanism are two secular worldviews. What are their basic points? Are they hopelessly at odds? Or do they share some or even many attributes?

My Answer, In Brief: Secular humanism is an attempt to meld secularism with altruistic and collectivist ethics, plus leftist politics. It’s not a coherent philosophy – or well-grounded in facts. I urge secular humanists to honestly consider at Ayn Rand’s philosophy as an alternative.

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Question 2: Moral Judgment of European Colonizers (22:32)

In this segment, I answered a question on moral judgment of European colonizers.

How should European colonizers be judged for their treatment of Native Americans? Some people, especially conservatives, give blanket praise to Columbus and European colonizers, notwithstanding their conquest and displacement of native populations. Those Native Americans are sometimes denigrated as ignorant, brutal, and/or lacking any concept of property – and hence, as unworthy of the protection of rights. Many others consider the Native Americans either noble savages or at least the rightful owners of the land. They condemn European colonization as unethical conquest or even genocide. Are either of those approaches correct? What counts as a fair judgment of European colonizers in their behavior toward Native Americans? How should European colonizers have treated native persons?

My Answer, In Brief: The common views of colonization – from many on the left and right – are sadly mistaken in their moral judgments and political claims. Conflict was inevitable, but greater justice and decency was certainly possible.

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Question 3: The Right Time to Declare Love (48:43)

In this segment, I answered a question on the right time to declare love.

When should a person declare his love for another? What is an appropriate amount of time to wait before saying “I love you” in a new relationship? New relationships often start out strong, but then the feelings of eros dissipate after a few months. When you meet someone who you share the same values and ideals (and you are super-attracted to him or her) when should you say those three little words?

My Answer, In Brief: Love is not a binary state, and saying “I love you” isn’t magic. Nonetheless, such can be done wrongly or badly – or to honestly deepen the intimacy and connection in a relationship.

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:01:48)

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

  • Is downloading Anthem moral, given that Ayn Rand lost her copyright to the work by accident?
  • Is it wrong to hate all the pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness every October?
  • Is an age of sexual consent below the age of majority – say 16 – proper?

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

Conclusion (1:09:13)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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 rational suicide, deep-down atheism, responsibility for another’s medical emergencies, education in a free society, 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: Suicide, Atheism, Irrational People, Rational Education, 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve been busy updating the sessions of Explore Atlas Shrugged, fixing the authors on NoodleFood posts with regex magic, and adding Chase QuickPay and Square options for Tip Jar. I’ll make a special announcement later today or tomorrow about special signed copies of my new book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, which will be available only in December.

Question 1: Rational Suicide (6:39)

In this segment, I answered a question on rational suicide.

When would suicide be rational? What conditions make suicide a proper choice? Are there situations other than a terminal illness or living in a dictatorship – such as the inability to achieve sufficient values to lead a happy life – that justify the act of suicide?

My Answer, In Brief: In some cases – when life has become intolerable suffering – suicide can be a rational choice. Evil and mistake is possible, however – and that’s tragic for everyone, although in different ways.

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Question 2: Deep-Down Atheism (21:12)

In this segment, I answered a question on deep-down atheism.

How can I convince myself, deep-down, that God does not exist? I was raised Catholic, although I was never deeply religious. Now, many years later, a friend is showing me Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. I can see its benefits, but my religious upbringing still lingers in the back of my head. So part of me still thinks that God exists, even though I don’t really believe that any longer. It was just engrained in me from such a young age that I can’t seem to let it go. Can I change that? If so, how?

My Answer, In Brief: As with any other leftover emotional or cognitive habit, you need to resolve any lingering doubts, remind yourself of the relevant facts, and never act in ways that you know to be wrong. With time, you’ll find that your mind fully embraces your conscious convictions.

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Question 3: Responsibility for Another’s Medical Emergencies (35:56)

In this segment, I answered a question on responsibility for another’s medical emergencies.

Is it wrong to walk away from a person who suffers from repeated medical emergencies due to their own irresponsibility? Over a year ago, I was the tenant of a type-1 diabetic who refused to eat properly. As a result, I regularly had to call the ambulance for her, as she would allow her blood-sugar to drop to dangerous levels, such that she couldn’t think or move for herself. She never learned anything from these experiences. She never put emergency food within reach, for example. So a few days or weeks later, I would have to call the ambulance again. I believe that I was being forced – literally – to take care of her. I feared that I’d face manslaughter or other criminal charges if I left her alone in that state. Would it have been morally proper for me to leave her in that state without any advance warning? Should that be legally permissible?

My Answer, In Brief: Your roommate is absolutely wrong to be so irresponsible, yet while you are her roommate, you cannot simply ignore her medical emergencies. You might have a “duty to rescue” in criminal and/or tort law, and you do have a moral obligation to render basic assistance. You should do the minimum required – and find a new place to live, pronto!

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Question 4: Education in a Free Society (46:14)

In this segment, I answered a question on education in a free society.

What would a rational educational system look like in a free society? Everyone knows that government education is flawed in many ways. Many private schools aren’t terribly different from public schools in their basic format and teachings. How might a school based on rational principles function? What would it teach – and by what style? Apart from questions of funding, how would it differ from current government schools?

My Answer, In Brief: Free-market education would result in far more options in format, curriculum, teaching methods, and price for education, far more concern for offering value to parents and students, and hopefully, more respect for the individuality of children.

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

Rapid Fire Questions (1:04:27)

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

  • Do you think it’s very backward that the Religious Right admires it when someone suffering who wants to die but instead struggles to live, whereas people who are happy and healthy are expected to sacrifice?
  • Is it wrong to give copies of Ayn Rand’s novels as gifts to my nephews and nieces, when their parents haven’t read her books and would likely object to her anti-religious views?
  • If you were in the Matrix, would you have taken the blue pill or the red pill?
  • Are there any ethical problems with the Hippocratic Oath? Did Paul have any worries taking it?

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

Conclusion (1:11:07)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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 positive change in Islam, self-esteem and appearance, 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: Change in Islam, Appearance and Self-Esteem, 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been working on various programming projects – including getting all my old podcasts posted. That’s taking more work than I expected.

Question 1: Positive Change in Islam (2:35)

In this segment, I answered a question on positive change in Islam.

Can Islam change for the better? Many critics of Islam claim that the religion is inherently totalitarian, violent, and repressive – and hence, that change for the better is utterly impossible. An Islamic reformation or enlightenment will never happen, they say. Is that true? More generally, what are the limits of a religion’s ties to its own scriptures?

My Answer, In Brief: As in every other religion, Muslims are not bound to the barbaric elements of Islamic texts. Islam can change – and hopefully will, for the better.

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

Question 2: Self-Esteem and Appearance (29:30)

In this segment, I answered a question on self-esteem and appearance.

How is a person’s appearance related to self-esteem? Should a rational person care much about his body – including height, weight, musculature, beauty, and so on? Is that second-handed somehow? How much effort should a person exert to make himself look the way he wants to look? Should a person’s looks affect his self-esteem?

My Answer, In Brief: A person should care about his body, but he ought to focus more on being healthy, capable, happy, and confident than on satisfying any cultural ideal of beauty.

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

Rapid Fire Questions (56:46)

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

  • Given that it’s inapt to say taxation is slavery, would it still be a mistake to say that compulsory taxation is ‘partial enslavement’ or ‘a less severe form of slavery’?
  • Is there any validity to the primary/secondary quality distinction?
  • Should a person use the term “black” or “African-American”?
  • Why do socialists want equality of outcome?

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

Conclusion (1:09:11)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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 free will and moral responsibility, values destroyed by statism, leaving an inmate boyfriend, privacy in marriage, 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: Moral Responsibility, Statism’s Wreckage, Privacy in Marriage, 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 individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I completed and posted the podcast of the reading of Chapter One of Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

Question 1: Free Will and Moral Responsibility (3:38)

In this segment, I answered a question on free will and moral responsibility.

What is the relationship between free will and moral responsibility? To me, the concept of free will found in debates about determinism seems different from the concept of free will relevant to questions of moral responsibility. The former is a metaphysical concept, and a person either has free will or not. The latter is a psychological concept, and it seems to be a matter of degree based on nature and nurture. However, psychological free will seems to presuppose metaphysical free will. Is that right? What is the relationship between free will and moral responsibility?

My Answer, In Brief: There is just one concept of free will, and moral responsibility is impossible without free will.

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

Question 2: Values Destroyed by Statism (19:37)

In this segment, I answered a question on values destroyed by statism.

What are the most significant values destroyed by statism? In other words, what values would be available to us – or more available – in a laissez-faire, rational society that are limited or unavailable to us today? What are some of the major (and perhaps under-appreciated) values destroyed or precluded by government overreach? To put the question another way: How would a proper government improve our lives?

My Answer, In Brief: The values lost by statism are many and various, both economically and culturally. A good life is still possible in our mixed economy, but life could be so much better in a free society.

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

Question 3: Leaving an Inmate Boyfriend (39:39)

In this segment, I answered a question on leaving an inmate boyfriend.

Should I leave my inmate boyfriend? I am in a dilemma. My current boyfriend is in prison serving a six year sentence. He has been away for a year and a half. It took over two years for the legal matters to be settled and for him to finally get a sentence. This is also my first ever boyfriend and I am already 26. Is it wrong for me to want to move on with my life? After he gets out (if no appeal is granted) he will be forced into a very limited lifestyle being on a sex offender list. I keep thinking about trying to make new friends and what I should and should not disclose to them. Right now, I live with his parents and work with his mother. I feel like I am cornered and am drowning in this huge mess. I want my own life, but with zero support and friends I am terrified of the risk. Do I stick it out? Or do I suck it up and leave him, my home, and my job?

My Answer, In Brief: You’re certainly not obliged to stay with your boyfriend, and based on your comments here, you should seriously consider leaving him. Mostly, however, you need to rouse the courage to establish yourself as an independent and self-sufficient person.

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Question 4: Privacy in Marriage (50:03)

In this segment, I answered a question on privacy in marriage.

Are spouses entitled to privacy with each other? My wife thinks that she should have access to all my online accounts, including my email. I don’t have any secrets from her, and my email doesn’t contain anything scandalous. Still, I don’t want her prying into my conversations, and I don’t see that she has any reason to do so. I’ve never given her any reason to distrust me. Aren’t I entitled to some privacy in my marriage?

My Answer, In Brief: As a matter of trust in and respect for the spouse, a person should respect the privacy of his spouse’s emails and other communications.

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

Rapid Fire Questions (1:02:10)

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

  • Socialists often talk of the upper classes ‘controlling’ things, like private education or health care, and deliberately excluding the lower classes–do you think this phenomenon exists to any extent?
  • Is gender just a social construct?

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

Conclusion (1:05:38)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

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 Wednesday 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

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