On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on limited government, enjoying the moment, 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: Limited Government, Enjoying the Moment, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been busy laying out the book of study questions for Explore Atlas Shrugged!

Question 1: Limited Government (4:01)

In this segment, I answered a question on limited government.

Should the government of a free society be permitted to do more than just protect rights? If the proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights, why shouldn’t a government of a free society do other, additional things as long as it does them without violating anyone’s rights? If courts, police, and military could be publicly financed without the use of force, couldn’t roads and schools? Is there some reason besides reliance on taxation why these sorts of government programs would be wrong?

My Answer, In Brief: The sole job of the government of a free society is to protect rights. A proper government should refuse to take on any other projects – not merely because that’s impractical and inefficient, but also because that’s a danger to it’s purpose of protecting rights.

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Question 2: Enjoying the Moment (21:32)

In this segment, I answered a question on enjoying the moment.

How can I convince myself that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence? Whatever subject I study, I think about all the other subjects I’m not studying. Whatever work I’m doing, I think about all the other work I’m not getting done. Whatever book I’m reading, I think about all the other books I could be reading. I want to do everything, and I want to do all of it right now. How can I convince myself to be happy with what I’m actually doing and able to do? How can I stop this perpetual cycle of boredom and longing for change?

My Answer, In Brief: A happy and successful person needs to be able to concentrate on the task at hand and be present in the moment. To achieve that, you can work on developing better cognitive habits and seek therapy if needed.

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Rapid Fire Questions (41:51)

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

  • Why was belief in “the paranormal” so mainstream and respectable in the 1970s? Was it due to the sense of life of the general culture?
  • What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
  • What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
  • Should a rights-respecting absolute monarch be opposed or overthrown?
  • How true is the statement that “we see what we want to see”?
  • Is a savvy negotiator who leverages his superior skills over an opponent to obtain the best possible deal for himself acting on the principle of predation rather than trade?

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Conclusion (1:03:26)

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on psychological egoism, take two, the purpose of Atlas Shrugged, limiting another’s generosity, 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: Psychological Egoism, Atlas Shrugged, Generosity, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been busy working on Explore Atlas Shrugged!

Question 1: Psychological Egoism, Take Two (2:40)

In this segment, I answered a question on psychological egoism, take two.

Isn’t everyone selfish? If you dig deep enough, everyone seems to act in their own interests. I work because that’s easier than being a welfare queen. But a college student might cave to his parents about his choice of career because that’s easier than standing up for himself. Even the nun who seems to sacrifice everything is doing what she enjoys most and thinks best by her own religious standards. So isn’t true altruism impossible? Isn’t everyone selfish?

My Answer, In Brief: Psychological egoism conflates a person’s motivations for action with his self-interest – and declares that all actions are self-interested because they’re all motivated. That’s false: actions are motivated, but they may be motivated by self-sacrifice.

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Question 2: The Purpose of Atlas Shrugged (17:36)

In this segment, I answered a question on the purpose of Atlas Shrugged.

Was Atlas Shrugged written to save America? Recently, I ran across this comment on the internet: “”Saving America wasn’t the point of Atlas Shrugged, that’s not the happily ever after it proposes in the end. It chronicles the main characters getting over that misguided mission and why.” Two questions come to mind: (1) What was Ayn Rand’s purpose in writing Atlas Shrugged? And (2) Do you think that being inspired to “save America” after reading Atlas Shrugged is misguided?

My Answer, In Brief: The heroes of Atlas Shrugged aim to save America via their strike. However, Ayn Rand’s purpose in writing the novel was literary, not didactic.

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Question 3: Limiting Another’s Generosity (25:53)

In this segment, I answered a question on limiting another’s generosity.

How much generosity is too much? Generosity seems like a trait that would fit well into your theory of moral amplifiers. But how does one best deal with someone who is being overly generous? I recently relocated to a new city and one of my coworkers with whom I am friendly has really gone above and beyond trying to help me get settled. She is constantly offering to help, lend me things, or even give me things to make life easier. I appreciate her offers and turn down many of them as politely as I can. But I struggle to find the right balance of accepting her generosity in due proportion to our friendship. She seems to be fairly wealthy, so I don’t think her offers are sacrificial in any way, my issue is that we are friends, but not close enough friends to justify the incessant barrage of motherly offerings. Through consistent communication about what I am willing to accept and what I won’t – and also owing to actually getting settled in the new city – she’s backed off a bit. More broadly, how would you recommend dealing with this sort of problem? How can a person make sure not to make this mistake of being overly generous?

My Answer, In Brief: The problem in this case isn’t so much one of excess generosity, but rather boundary-crossing. Be cautious, and err on the side of refusing offered favors.

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Rapid Fire Questions (40:20)

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

  • Can an individual work for the government and retain their integrity?
  • How should one respond to a sexual partner who is turned on by forceful situations?
  • Apart from Rand and Nietzsche, what other philosophies have staunchly defended ‘this-worldliness’?
  • Is it possible to show deference to your superiors without being humble and submissive?
  • What do you think about the TV series “Parks and Recreation” and particularly about the character of Ron Swanson? Isn’t that a smart depiction of both government bureaucracy and libertarians?
  • How should we view the American tourists held captive by North Korea?
  • Do you think it’s possible to permanently change your personality by acting in a certain way?
  • Is it second handed that I refuse to tell people my favorite writer is Ayn Rand? I’m just fed up with having to explain to people that liking Ayn Rand doesn’t automatically make me an awful person.

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Conclusion (1:04:32)

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed physician and activist Dr. Paul Hsieh about “Understanding the Three Languages of Politics.” The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Dr. Paul Hsieh on Understanding the Three Languages of Politics

How many times have you been in political discussions with friends where you find you’re talking past one another? You’ll make points they consider irrelevant, whereas they’ll focus on issues you consider nonessential. Such problems can be overcome, at least in part, using Arnold Kling’s concept of the “Three Languages of Politics.” Paul Hsieh will explain how freedom advocates (e.g., Objectivists and better libertarians), conservatives, and liberals tend to use three vastly different metaphors in political discussions, which can create unintentional misunderstandings and miscommunications. He will also discuss how to frame discussion points so they better resonate with those speaking the other “languages” without compromising on principles.

Dr. Paul Hsieh is a physician in practice in South Denver. He is the co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM). He has written scores of columns, mostly on health care policy, as well as articles for The Objective Standard. He blogs offbeat tech news at GeekPress.

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Topics:

  • About the “three languages of politics”
  • The differences in the three languages
  • The difference that the three languages make
  • Examples of the three languages
  • Conflict between camps
  • Alliances between camps
  • Political argument between camps
  • The debates over the Hobby Lobby decision
  • Using the three languages to become more persuasive
  • Caveats and cautions
  • Three take-home points

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That’s because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

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NoodleCast #291: Rapid Fire Extravaganza

 Posted by on 27 June 2014 at 10:00 am  NoodleCast
Jun 272014
 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on all sorts of topics from the Rapid Fire Queue with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Rapid Fire Extravaganza

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve finally resumed work on Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Rapid Fire Questions (4:48)

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

  • Why do you think that marriage contracts should be enforced by the state? Wouldn’t private arbitration be a better option?
  • Why do you think so few people question the consensus of the culture on ethics? (People tend to form their own political views, but very few people seem to form their own ethical views.)
  • Is magnanimity a virtue or a moral amplifier?
  • What on earth is ‘queer theory’? Why, as a gay man, do I find it deeply troubling?
  • What is “good taste”? Is it objective?
  • Why is infinity incompatible with identity? Why couldn’t infinite size, for example, be part of the nature of an entity?
  • Is a bird in the hand better than two in the bush? Doesn’t this maxim encourage mediocrity and laziness?
  • Does it make sense for Objectivists to use “Who is John Galt?” as a slogan? It seems to me that this is what people in the novel said when they could not see what was wrong with the world.
  • Is it true that thought and speech are limited by historical context?
  • Are there quick ways to identify crazy people? I think I’m pretty okay myself as long as I take my medication.
  • Is there any value to childhood ‘innocence’? Or is that just a product of Christianity?
  • Does Buddhism qualify as a form of nihilism, since Buddhists believe that morality consists in rejecting all your desires, and clearing your mind, so that you become ‘one with the universe’ i.e. dead?
  • I’ve heard that Kant included some good elements in his philosophy to make the rest of his ideas palatable. What were those things?
  • Would you agree that Rand’s philosophy is a sort of reconciliation of Aristotle with the existentialists?
  • Is it advisable for citizens in a pure capitalist society to create a “social safety net” comparable to what exists in welfare states, but through voluntary charity?
  • What is bourgeois morality, and should we approve of it?
  • What about the Negative Income Tax, which is sort of what Milton Friedman proposed, or the idea of a “guaranteed income” that would replace welfare?
  • What is “a sense of duty” and how can I get rid of it?
  • Ayn Rand thought that plot was the most important element in literature. I would say however that an aesthetic based on virtue ethics dictates that characters ought to be more important. What do you think?
  • If you could have a superpower, what superpower would you choose?

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Conclusion (1:08:27)

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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Jun 232014
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on one thought too many in egoism, drunk driving in a free society, dogs versus private property, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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

Podcast: Egoism, Drunk Driving, Curbing Dogs, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I visited my parents in the Black Hills of South Dakota earlier this week, and now I’m back to work!

Question 1: One Thought Too Many in Egoism (2:32)

In this segment, I answered a question on one thought too many in egoism.

Does egoism suffer from “one thought too many”? Bernard Williams argues that utilitarianism suffers from a problem of inappropriate motivation in which a person has “one thought too many” before acting morally. So, for example, a good utilitarian must calculate whether the general welfare is served by saving a drowning child before jumping into the water. A truly good person, in contrast, simply jumps into the water to save the child without that calculation. Wouldn’t this same objection apply to even rational, benevolent egoism? Or are those extra thoughts between situation and action actually rational?

My Answer, In Brief: Egoism might seem to suffer from the “one thought too many” problem, but that problem disappears when we realize that the egoist can and should genuinely and deeply care about other people in his life.

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Question 2: Drunk Driving in a Free Society (23:26)

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

Should driving drunk be illegal in a free society? Should the government of a free society forbid and punish people for activities potentially harmful to others when they’ve impaired their judgment via drugs or alcohol? Basically, should driving or shooting a firearm while drunk be illegal? Or should such decisions be left entirely to the discretion of private property owners? Also, given that the government owns the roads today, are laws against drunk driving unjust?

My Answer, In Brief: In a free society, drunk driving would be considered civil and criminal negligence – and drunk driving derbys would not be legally possible on ordinary roads.

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

Question 3: Dogs Versus Private Property (40:41)

In this segment, I answered a question on dogs versus private property.

Do dog owners violate rights by allowing their dogs to poop on others’ lawns? I live in a residential urban area along with many dog owners. On a daily basis, I observe those dog owners allowing their dogs to defecate on other peoples’ lawns. I view this action as a trespass and violation of property rights, whether or not they pick up afterward. (For those who believe that picking up after your dog mitigates the trespass, would you let your child play on that spot afterward?) I don’t believe that property owners should have to create fences, hedges, or other structures to prevent this trespass. On several occasions, I have asked owners not to let their dogs poop on the front lawn of our apartment. I have received various responses from polite acquiescence to incredulousness. Many dog owners seem to feel a sense of entitlement about using others’ property without permission. Isn’t that wrong? Would you agree that it is the sole responsibility of the animal owners to care for their pets without violating the rights of the people around them? What, if any, recourse would property owners have in a free society against blatant repeat offenders of this principle?

My Answer, In Brief: Property rights must be understood within a context of social conventions. If a property owner wishes for something other than the default, then they must take steps to make that clear to others. Here, a “curb your dog” sign is all that is necessary, but such is the province of the owner of your apartment complex.

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Rapid Fire Questions (58:57)

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

  • Do you believe in American exceptionalism?
  • What is dignity? Is it second-handed to care about dignity?
  • What’s wrong with caveat emptor?

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

Conclusion (1:05:43)

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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Jun 202014
 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I chatted about “Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Three” with listeners. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Chat on Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Three

What does Thomas Nagel’s control condition for moral responsibility really mean? Does it set an impossible standard? Have others noticed and capitalized on this problem? I answered these questions and more in this discussion of Chapter Three of my book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

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Topics:

  • About this chapter
  • Nagel’s assumptions about control
  • Commentary on Nagel’s views of control

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That’s because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on “stand your ground” laws, advice to new Objectivists, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Stand Your Ground Laws, New Objectivists, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I competed in another three-phase event on Lila yesterday. Now I’m off to visit my parents as they RV around South Dakota.

Question 1: “Stand Your Ground” Laws (3:46)

In this segment, I answered a question on “stand your ground” laws.

Are “stand your ground” self-defense laws proper? Should a potential crime victim in reasonable fear of of his life be required to attempt to withdraw from a confrontation when possible? Or is it proper to allow him to “stand his ground” and use a firearm to kill the assailant?

My Answer, In Brief: The right to self-defense is not unlimited. A person has a minimal duty to retreat when in public setting – provided that such retreat is easy, obvious, and safe.

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Question 2: Advice to New Objectivists (19:22)

In this segment, I answered a question on advice to new Objectivists.

What advice would you give to a new Objectivist? At ATLOSCon, you led a discussion on “What I Wish I’d Known as a New Objectivist.” Personally, I wish I could tell younger self that the term “selfish” doesn’t mean the “screw everyone else, I’m getting mine” behavior that most people think it means. Other people will use the term that way, and trying to correct them is an uphill battle not worth fighting. I’d tell my younger self to just use a long-winded circumlocution to get the point across. What other kinds of obstacles do people new to Objectivism commonly encounter? What advice would you give to new Objectivists to help them recognize and overcome those obstacles?

My Answer, In Brief: People new to Objectivism – particularly young people – tend to make certain common kinds of errors. They can be avoided, and more experienced Objectivists can help the newer Objectivists with that.

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Rapid Fire Questions (58:22)

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

  • What is the opposite of egalitarianism? Elitism? Differentialism? Hierarchism? Justice?
  • Is it ever just to ‘make an example’ of a criminal?
  • Would you ever consider doing a TED lecture? If so, what would it be about?

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Conclusion (1:02:33)

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on overcoming an abusive childhood, proposals to ban Muslim immigration, correcting a cashier’s mistake, 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: Disabled Children, Muslim Immigrants, Cashier’s Mistake, and More

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

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: My new horse Phantom arrived on Monday, and I’ve been having a whole lot of fun playing with her!

Question 1: Overcoming an Abusive Childhood (2:54)

In this segment, I answered a question on overcoming an abusive childhood.

How can a disabled person overcome a toxic childhood? I am a fifty-one-year-old woman with several neurological disabilities, and I would have liked to have been reared as a human being. Instead, I was frequently informed (usually by my mother) that I was a “retarded, subhuman spectacle” – a “vegetable,” a “handicapped monstrosity,” a “travesty of a human being.” It was daily made plain to me that I was being reared purely out of my parents’ sense of duty, so as not to burden other people with my existence. It was likewise continually made clear to me that, whenever anyone played with me or tried to become acquainted with me, they did this purely out of an imposed sense of a duty to do so: for instance, because they were following a parent’s or teacher’s commands in order to avoid being punished for avoiding me. My disabilities (dyspraxia, dysgraphia, and severe Asperger’s among some others) are not physically visible. However, their effects on my behavior led to my being perceived as retarded despite a tested IQ above 150. (This tested overall IQ, in turn, was although scores on three of the subtests were in the 80-90 range.) By that standard, at least – the objective standard of lacking some reasoning power – I am a handicapped human being. As you know, Ayn Rand points out that no child ought to be exposed to “the tragic spectacle of a handicapped human being.” How should this principle have been carried out with regard to me, as a child? Further, the consequences for me of growing up in this way include an immense fear of other people, and a feeling (which I have been unable to change or vanquish) that I am indeed subhuman and should be rejected by anyone I admire, anyone worth dealing with. This feeling persists despite what I rationally consider to be productive adult achievement in the personal and professional realms. So how can I best undo the damage that has been done to my sense of life by my situation itself (being a handicapped human being, and recognizing this) and by how I was reared (which was at least partly a consequence of what I was and am)?

My Answer, In Brief: The treatment that you suffered from parents and teachers in your childhood was deeply wrong and unjust. You should continue to struggle against feelings of unworthiness – and to reject the idea that you are in any way responsible for the abuse of your childhood.

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Question 2: Proposals to Ban Muslim Immigration (26:47)

In this segment, I answered a question on proposals to ban Muslim immigration.

Does the lack of respect for rights among some Muslim immigrants justify banning all Muslim immigrants? Sometimes, I hear people say that immigrants from Muslim countries are so illiberal (in the classical sense) that they ought to banned from entering the United States and Western Europe. The anti-immigrationists say that when people from Muslim countries are allowed to reside in the West, such immigrants remain committed to political Islam, honor-kill their own daughters, rape native-born women, and plot to impose sharia law on the West through “stealth jihad.” Is the illiberalism of some (or even many) Muslim immigrants grounds for limiting immigration from Muslim countries? What is the proper response to this problem?

My Answer, In Brief: Muslims are a diverse group of people, just like every other immigrant group. They are not a unique or special threat to the rights of Americans. Terrorists and criminals should be excluded when possible – and prosecuted if they commit crimes in the United States.

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Question 3: Correcting a Cashier’s Mistake (49:57)

In this segment, I answered a question on correcting a cashier’s mistake.

Is it wrong to remain silent when a cashier makes a mistake in your favor? At a popular department store, I wanted to buy two items for $2.94 each and condoms for $14.00. The cashier was about my grandmother’s age. She scanned the $2.94 items three times and said the total was $8.82. I knew the price wasn’t right, but I didn’t want to say to the elderly woman, “Excuse me, but you didn’t scan my condoms.” I got a good deal, but I think that was somewhat immoral on my part. Is that right? What should I have done?

My Answer, In Brief: As a matter of protecting your own moral character, you should have overcome your embarrassment to correct the cashier’s mistake. You could have done so discreetly, and even now, you should correct the mistake if you can do so easily.

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Rapid Fire Questions (59:46)

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

  • Did Christianity introduce the concept of individualism?
  • If statism is in fact slowly taking over, why do socialists not seem to realise this? Most socialists seem to believe that they are fighting a losing battle against neoliberalism and global capitalism.

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Conclusion (1:09:02)

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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Jun 062014
 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I chatted about “Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Two” with listeners. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Chat on Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Two

What are some of the common proposed solutions to the problem of moral luck? How and why do they fail? I will answer these questions and more in this live discussion of Chapter Two of my book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

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Topics:

  • Review and about the proposed solutions
  • The Epistemic Solution
  • The Equalization Solution
  • The Identity Solution
  • The Modern Compatibilist Solution
  • The Character-Based Compatibilist Solution
  • The Moral Praise Without Moral Blame Solution
  • The Agency as Illusion Solution

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That’s because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on creating a stylized life, legal dueling, permission versus forgiveness, and more with Arthur Zey. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Stylized Life, Legal Dueling, Asking Permission, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’m broadcasting live from ATLOSCon!

Question 1: Creating a Stylized Life (2:22)

In this segment, I answered a question on creating a stylized life.

Should a person seek to create a stylized life? In “The Romantic Manifesto,” Ayn Rand said that “An artist does not fake reality – he stylizes it. He selects those aspects of existence which he regards as metaphysically significant – and by isolating and stressing them, by omitting the insignificant and accidental, he presents his view of existence.” Should a person try to stylize his own life, such as by deliberately cultivating a consistent personal aesthetic? Should he aim to make every aspect of his life reflect his values, eliminating the rest? Would that make for a more integrated and meaningful life or might that be dangerous or undesirable in some way?

My Answer, In Brief: Stylizing your life can be thought of as developing your personal values and style, which is fabulous. However, it might mean seeking an impossibly perfect Platonic ideal – or worse, disowning yourself for sake of living up to image in own mind or to please others. That’s a disaster – and reason enough to shy away from thinking about creating a “stylized life.”

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Question 2: Legal Dueling (24:25)

In this segment, I answered a question on legal dueling.

Should dueling and other consensual fights be legal? In your September 5th, 2012 interview with Dr. Eric Daniels, you discussed some of America’s violent past traditions, including the practice of dueling. While I have no intention of challenging my rivals to mortal combat, I cannot see why this practice should be illegal. The same might be said of less lethal modern variants such as bar fights, schoolyard fights, and other situations where violence is entered into with the mutual consent of both parties. Should such consensual violence be forbidden by law in a free society – not just for children but perhaps for adults too? If so, what justifies allowing more ritualized forms of combat, such as mixed-martial arts fighting, boxing, or even football?

My Answer, In Brief: Duelling cannot be completely forbidden or completely permitted because a duel may be fully consensual or not. Instead, measures must be taken to ensure consent, but if that’s not clear after the fact, the winner might be justly prosecuted for murder.

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Question 3: Permission Versus Forgiveness (43:44)

In this segment, I answered a question on permission versus forgiveness.

Should people ask for permission or ask for forgiveness when breaking the rules? People often say that “it’s better to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission” when excusing their own rule-breaking. I hate the phrase, but I can’t put my finger on what’s so objectionable about it. So what does the phrase mean? Is it right or wrong? If it’s true for some organizations, doesn’t that indicate that the organization’s rules or policies are somehow bass-ackwards?

My Answer, In Brief: You need not slavishly follow irrational rules, but you do need to act in a way that’s respectful of others and their property. Too often, asking for forgiveness rather than permission is not that.

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:01:15)

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

  • Have you heard about Harry Binswanger’s new treatise on epistemology?
  • How do individual rights apply to conjoined twins? Do they count as separate individuals? Is this similar to how a baby does not count as individual until after it is born?
  • Should it be against the law to incite violence? Given that the incitement itself does not violate anyone’s rights, doesn’t that assume that the hearers lack free will?
  • Is the placebo effect an incidence of ‘useful evasion’? Is it immoral to use placebos?
  • On an earlier show, you professed your love for David Hume. Would you care to elaborate?

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

Conclusion (1:11:50)

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


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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

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