Apr 062015
 

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

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


Whole Podcast: 5 April 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 5 April 2015

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

Introduction

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

Question 1: Personality Theory and Ethics

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

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Euthanizing a Pet

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

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Listen or Download:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

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

Listen or Download:

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

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:03:36


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


Apr 022015
 

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

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


Podcast Preview: 2 April 2015

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

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

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

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

Listen or Download:


Purchase the Podcast

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

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

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


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

 

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

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


Whole Podcast: 29 March 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 29 March 2015

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

Introduction

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

Question 1: Claims of Rights to Food and Shelter

Question: Do people have a right to food and shelter? I recently had a conversation with a Facebook friend who stated that food and shelter are more than necessities, they are rights. I posed the question, “How does one exercise their right to food and shelter?” No one answered the question, so I would like to pose it here. Most food in this country is grown by farmers and sold fresh, or processed in a factory for sale. If food is a “right,” does anyone without the means to buy these products have an inherent right to take what they need without any remuneration to the farmer or the manufacturer? The same applies to shelter. How does one exercise their “right” to shelter without a means to earn it? We have a right to free speech, and a right to vote. One is exercised by speaking your mind on a subject without fear of government reprisal, and the other is exercised by voting during elections. We have the right to practice whatever religion we want or none at all. The press has the right to print or say whatever they want. Any “right” to food or shelter would have to operate differently. So are food and shelter a “right”? What would that mean in practice?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Extreme Cases

Question: Do moral principles break down in extreme cases? When faced with bizarre hypotheticals, advocates of rational egoism often assert that such scenarios would never happen. This seems to be dodging the question. It’s said that conventional understandings of physics break down at microscopic and extremely grand-scale levels. Does morality follow a similar pattern? For example, what if a small society of people stranded on an island faced a shortage of clean water, and a single individual who owned all access to clean water refused to sell it? Is that really impossible? Doesn’t that show that the principle of individual rights breaks down in extreme cases?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: Being Helpful to a Disliked Co-Worker

Question: Should I do something nice for a coworker I dislike? There’s a lady at work that I dislike. My conflict with her is primarily merely a conflict of personality. I find her defensive, passive-aggressive, and awkward to the point of rudeness. I am also not very impressed with her work products, but that rarely has a direct impact on me – except when I’m asked to review them – as is the fact that she only seems to work for about six hours every day. Indirectly, of course, her eccentricities and poor work quality cast our team in a very poor light and could eventually serve as a reason to dissolve or lay off our team. It’s a mystery as to why she hasn’t been fired. But I’m not her manager. In a meeting earlier today, she made a remark that she thought she was being excluded from important meetings that are relevant to her work. The truth is that she’s not being actively excluded from these meetings, but rather everything is happening so fast and the meetings aren’t always planned, so it’s really just not possible to include her in those meetings. She would probably be heartened to understand better how these events take place in our company. (She’s rather new, and I am very tenured.) She might feel better about her position and she might become less defensive about things if she had a better understanding of the organizational mechanics here. But I strongly dislike her and would prefer that she seek other employment. Should I be kind and explain those mechanics or not?

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

Listen or Download:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

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

Listen or Download:

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

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:02:46


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on major branches of philosophy, displaying the confederate flag, taxpayer-funded abortions, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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


Whole Podcast: 15 March 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 15 March 2015

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

Introduction

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

Question 1: Major Branches of Philosophy

Question: What are the major branches of philosophy? Ayn Rand claimed that philosophy consisted of five major branches – metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and esthetics. Is that right? If so, why are those the five major branches? Are they comprehensive in some way? Why not include philosophy of science, logic, philosophy of mind, and so on?

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

Listen or Download:

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

Question 2: Displaying the Confederate Flag

Question: Is displaying the Confederate flag racist? I’ve been told by southerners that displaying the flag of the Confederate States amounts to a display of “southern pride.” I think it amounts to a display of racism, given the history of the south. That flag was used in a time when the agricultural economy of the southern states relied on slave labor. Many southern states seceded from the Union, largely because of their nefarious interests in preserving slavery. The Confederate flag represents these states and their ideology. Hence, I think it’s morally questionable (at least) to display it. I don’t think the south should take pride in or honor the Confederacy. Am I right or wrong in my thinking? What should I think of people who choose to display the Confederate flag?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

Question: Should taxpayer-funded abortions be opposed? In Victoria, Australia, we have fairly good laws on abortion and there are almost no legal or social barriers to access. However, we also have a very generous public health care system which means that most if not all of the costs of an abortion will be covered by the public. Is there something especially wrong with publicly funded abortion that advocates of individual rights should be concerned with or is it morally equivalent to the immorality of forcing others to pay for less controversial treatment such as dental surgery? Does the cultural context influence how a free-market advocate should approach this topic? While the majority of the community supports the current laws, there seem to be signs of an anti-abortion faction developing in the Liberal Party (the conservatives). I wouldn’t want to have opposition to publicly-funded abortions result in any kind of ban on abortions. So should publicly funded abortions be opposed or not?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

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

Listen or Download:

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

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 59:48


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


 

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

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


Whole Podcast: 8 March 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 8 March 2015

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

Introduction

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

Question 1: Fractional Reserve Banking, Fraud, and Deception

Question: Does fraud require deliberate deception? Some libertarians, most notably Walter Block, have tried to argue that fraud does not require deliberate deception. For example, argues Block, if I tried to sell you a square circle, and I believed that square circles existed, and so did you, and you agreed to the transaction, then, since square circles do not actually exist, this would still count as fraud, even though no deliberate deception has taken place. Block has used this argument to indict fractional reserve banking, by arguing that it still counts as fraud even though all parties are knowingly consenting. Is he talking rationalist nonsense?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: People Unworthy of the Truth

Question: Are some people unworthy of the truth? “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it,” said Mark Twain in his Notebooks. Is that true? Does that justify lying or withholding information?

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

Listen or Download:

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

Question 3: Deception in a Business Partner

Question: How can I decide whether a business associate has crossed the line? I am part of a very specialized marketing co-op group. Businesses provide samples to the marketer, who then sells them at his own profit, to the tune of thousands of dollars a month. The marketer also does many web promotions and a monthly set of videos to promote the makers of these samples. This business has worked well in sending customers my way in the past. However, a few months ago, the marketer threatened to call the whole thing off for a month, claiming there were not enough samples to sell. So all the businesses rallied and sent in more. Two weeks later the marketer posted publicly that his spouse’s hours had been cut the month before, and he was strapped for cash. This apparent dishonesty turned me off from using the service for many months. When I finally sent in samples again, I found that the same thing is still happening: the marketer is threatening to call off the promotion for the month if more samples are not sent in. Does this kind of behavior warrant dropping this business tool from my arsenal? Or am I just reacting emotionally?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

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

Listen or Download:

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

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 56:30


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


Mar 022015
 

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

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


Whole Podcast: 1 March 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 1 March 2015

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been busy riding, including jumping for the first time since my concussion. Also, I’ve uploaded the final versions of the questions to Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Question 1: The Nature of Character

Question: What is the nature of character? What is meant by a person’s “character”? Is that broader than moral character? What is the relationship between character (moral and otherwise) and personality? Are they distinct? Do they overlap?

My Answer, In Brief: Character is the sum total of fundamental principles, dispositions, emotions, and other elements of a person’s psychology that govern his actions. Moral character and personality are aspects of character.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Revenge Porn

Question: Should revenge porn be illegal? Apparently, it is increasingly common after a break-up for a person to share sexual pictures or videos of his/her former lover that were taken while in the relationship. Some people think that sharing sexual images intended to be kept private should be illegal, while others argue that such “revenge porn” is protected speech. Which view is right? Should the consent of all parties be required for the posting of sexual imagery?

My Answer, In Brief: Posting revenge porn violates the conditions under which the sex video was made. The law should take cognizance of that, and a person should be able to sue for damages.

Listen or Download:

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

Question 3: Coming Out as an Atheist

Question: How can I avoid coming out as an atheist to my boyfriend’s parents? I’m gay and my long-time, live-in boyfriend recently came out to his parents. They are older and pretty religious, but they are doing their best to be accepting of our relationship. However, my boyfriend says that they believe that I am changing him for the worse in that he has not been as communicative and open with them because he didn’t come out to them sooner and has not been sharing the progression of our relationship with them. (The whole concept of being in the closet seems completely alien to them.) But they do know our relationship is serious, so they have invited us to spend the holidays with them in order to get to know me better. My boyfriend says that they will insist that we attend church with them and has asked that I not tell them that I’m an atheist right away. I’ve explained to him that I am not going to lie about anything, but I am not sure how to remain true to my convictions without making things more difficult for my boyfriend and upsetting his parents. What are your suggestions for making the Christmas holidays pleasant while maintaining my integrity?

My Answer, In Brief: You should tend to your own moral integrity by refusing to deceive your boyfriend’s parents, even while aiming for them to get to know you and trust you before they find out about your atheism. You should not pressure your boyfriend, but allow him to navigate his own relationship with his parents as he sees fit, even if that means making mistakes.

Listen or Download:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • What color is this dress?
  • How do you deal with situations where you cannot discuss something despite having a great deal of knowledge on that topic, due to non-disclosure agreements? Should you simply not discuss those topics?
  • Is it morally okay to pirate recent episodes of a TV show that is not yet legally available in your country? Does it make a difference if you plan to buy the DVDs when they come out?

Listen or Download:

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

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:04:45


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


 

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

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


Whole Podcast: 22 February 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 22 February 2015

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

Introduction

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

Question 1: Forcing People to Govern

Question: Could unwilling people be compelled to govern? Imagine a situation in which no-one – not a single person – wants to work for the government. This would create a state of anarchy by default because government requires people to govern. Since the existence of a government is necessary for the protection of individual rights via the subordination of society to objective moral law, would compelling some people to govern be necessary and proper?

My Answer, In Brief: If you want people to work for the government, you need to pay them sufficient money to do so. Forcing people to govern would violate their rights, and be a recipe for them violating the rights of others.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Vaccinating for Herd Immunity

Question: Do parents have a moral duty to vaccinate their children to improve “herd immunity”? My doctor is currently making the case for my son (age 12) getting the Gardasil/HPV vaccination, arguing that even though HPV won’t really harm him, he could become a carrier and spread HPV to women he has sex with at some time in the future, and thereby harm them. I don’t think he has a duty to become one of the “immunized herd” (referring to the idea of “herd immunity” regarding vaccines) and therefore I am not inclined to have him vaccinated against HPV. Should he choose to do so at a later time, he is free to make that decision. Does my son – or do I as a parent – have an obligation to vaccinate purely to promote “herd immunity”? If not in this case, where there is a clear issue of undergoing the vaccination primarily for the sake of risk to others, then what about in other cases of vaccines? Does a person have an obligation to society in general to become part of the immunized herd, even if taking a vaccination is probably at low risk to that person’s health?

My Answer, In Brief: A person does not have any obligation to undergo medical treatments purely for the sake of herd immunity. People should vaccinate themselves and their children when doing so benefits themselves and loved ones.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: Minimizing Interruptions at Work

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

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

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:10:48


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


Feb 162015
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on developing resilience, nuisance limits for new technology, spouses sharing activities, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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


Whole Podcast: 15 February 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 15 February 2015

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

Introduction

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

Question 1: Developing Resilience

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

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Nuisance Limits for New Technology

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

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: Spouses Sharing Activities

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

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

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

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 1:00:03
  • Duration: 10:41
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:10:45


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


Feb 092015
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on choosing between egoism and altruism, changing jobs quickly, the morality of boycotts, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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


Whole Podcast: 8 February 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 8 February 2015

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been settling into my life with the horses in Aiken, South Carolina. That has been going swimmingly!

Question 1: Choosing Between Egoism and Altruism

Question: Are egoism and altruism mutually exclusive? Most people have a common-sense view of ethics. They think that a person should spend lots of time pursuing his own goals and happiness. They also think that a person should sometimes set aside such pursuits to help others. Basically, on this view, a person can be an egoist and an altruist, and that he should be a little of both. Yet I’ve heard that egoism and altruism are two wholly incompatible moral theories too. So what’s right or wrong about the common-sense view?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Changing Jobs Quickly

Question: Is it immoral or unwise to accept a better job soon after starting a different one? I am ready to change jobs. I could probably move to another role within my company pretty quickly and easily and continue to move my career forward, but I could make more money and get better experience outside of my company. Outside job hunts can be lengthy and full of disappointments and all the while I would have to work at a job that is, frankly, killing my soul. I think it’s pretty clear that – if I accept a new job in my company and immediately turn around and give notice to go somewhere else – I run a high risk of burning bridges with key contacts at my current company. But would it be unethical in some way to do that? When you accept a job are you making a tacit promise to work there for some period of time? If so, what’s the minimum amount of time?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: The Morality of Boycotts

Question: It is moral to advocate for the boycott of a business? Over the holidays, my brother and I discussed cases in which businesses are compelled by government to provide services against their will. For example, the Colorado courts demanded that a bakery make cakes for gay couples or face fines. We agreed that the business should be left free to operate as they see fit, absent violating anyone’s actual rights, and reap the rewards or penalties from their choice. Where we diverged was on the moral status of the business owner and whether the bakery deserved to be boycotted. In my view, the decision of the owner of the Colorado bakery was immoral: they were being irrational, discriminating by non-essentials. My brother disagreed. Moreover, my brother opposed any advocacy of a boycott, seeing this as a call for force to be applied against the owner. This would be wrong, in his view, but he would be fine with suggesting that people patronize a different store. Ultimately, I found that I could not adequately explain why I think people might actively and openly oppose wrong acts by businesses, even if those acts don’t violate rights. So what justifies such boycotts, if anything?

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

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

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

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 1:07:48
  • Duration: 5:15
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:13:04


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


Podcast #332: Rapid Fire Extravaganza

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

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on all sorts of topics from the Rapid Fire Queue. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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


Whole Podcast: 29 January 2015

Listen or Download:

Remember the Tip Jar!

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


Podcast Segments: 29 January 2015

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been frantically preparing to depart for Aiken, which happens in the wee hours of Friday morning!

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

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

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 2:44
  • Duration: 1:01:53
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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

Conclusion

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

  • Start Time: 1:04:38


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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


Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha