On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on free will and moral responsibility, values destroyed by statism, leaving an inmate boyfriend, privacy in marriage, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Moral Responsibility, Statism’s Wreckage, Privacy in Marriage, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Question 4: Privacy in Marriage (50:03)

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

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

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

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:02:10)

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

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

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Conclusion (1:05:38)

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

About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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Nov 152013
 

I just posted a reading of Chapter One of Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame as a podcast for Philosophy in Action Radio. It 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: Podcast on “Reading of Responsibility & Luck, Chapter One”

In this podcast, I read Chapter One of my new book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. Chapter One introduces Thomas Nagel’s problem of moral luck, then surveys the three major types of moral luck – resultant moral luck, circumstantial moral luck, and constitutive moral luck. The problem of moral luck is not merely some small problem in ethics. It threatens to undermine any and all moral praise and blame of persons. It also provides the foundation for John Rawls’ arguments for an egalitarian political order. This chapter concludes by surveying the book as a whole, chapter by chapter. Chapter One is also freely available as a PDF.

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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 winning friends and influencing people, accepting government welfare, mercenary essay contest writing, government scientists in a free society, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Social Influence, Accepting Welfare, Government Scientists, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been busy recording a reading of Chapter One of my new book Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, which has been remarkably painful. I’ve also been re-listening to all of Jane Austen’s novels at a rapid pace!

Question 1: Winning Friends and Influencing People (4:07)

In this segment, I answered a question on winning friends and influencing people.

Should a person try to “win friends and influence people”? In the classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie offers a wide range of advice on how to get what you want from other people. Some of this seems manipulative or second-handed, but is that right? Is the advice in the book of genuine value to a rational egoist seeking honest trade with others?

My Answer, In Brief: How to Win Friends and Influence People is a mixed work in so many ways. Yet its basic advice on treating other people with genuine interest and respect can be of great value for people concerned to work and play well with others.

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

Question 2: Accepting Government Welfare (23:44)

In this segment, I answered a question on accepting government welfare.

Should a person without other options accept welfare from the government? I’ve had generalized anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember. I live in Sweden, and my government has so many labor regulations that no business can hire me, and charities don’t exist to help me. Is it wrong, in such a case, to accept government assistance? I don’t have any savings, and it seems like my only other options are criminal activity and suicide.

My Answer, In Brief: A moral person without the ability to support himself can accept government welfare in the short term, but the long-term goal must be to create a meaningful, purposeful, and self-sufficient (as much as possible) life for oneself.

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

Question 3: Mercenary Essay Contest Writing (32:48)

In this segment, I answered a question on mercenary essay contest writing.

Is it wrong to write essays I don’t believe to win contest money? I am a current university student with severe financial limitations. I’ve found that one of my best assets is my knack for writing a solid, persuasive essay. Recently, I’ve come across a trove of very generous scholarship essay contests. I feel confident that I could write a solid essay for most of them. The problem is that the majority are funded by organizations whose values I don’t support. Specifically, I’d have to write essays in favor of social and political policies with which I disagree. Would it be moral for me to enter these writing competitions? If I did, would I just be demonstrating my writing ability – or misleading the sponsor into thinking that I agree with what I’ve written?

My Answer, In Brief: Writing false essays for contest money means promoting wrong ideas, plus eroding your own character and reputation. No amount of cash is worth that!

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

Question 4: Government Scientists in a Free Society (48:30)

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

Would the government of a free society employ scientists? In a fully free society, would there be any scientists employed full-time by the government for police, legislative, or judicial services? If not, how would judges obtain the necessary scientific knowledge to make proper rulings in the court cases that would replace today’s environmental and other regulations? Might scientists be hired by the government of a free society for the military or other purposes?

My Answer, In Brief: In a free society, the government’s sole function would be to protect rights. In some few areas, that would require employing scientists, but most science should be privatized,

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

Rapid Fire Questions (59:25)

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

  • Does the credible testimonies of pilots, military personnel, and other non-yahoos about UFO encounters justify not dismissing the subject?
  • Would it be good for public health if people could be held civilly liable for transmitting their serious diseases? For instance, if I gave someone an STD, what if that person could sue me for transmitting that STD?
  • Is knowledge power?

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

Conclusion (1:08:19)

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

About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on the speed of free market reforms, the role of empathy in morality, 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: Free Market Reforms, Empathy and Morality, and More

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: Monday’s talk on “Why Personality Matters in Politics… But Not in the Way You Think” at Liberty on the Rocks – Flatirons was a blast. Lila and I went foxhunting (really, coyote chasing) on Wednesday. I’ve made good progress updating my scripts to accomodate old and new podcasts.

Question 1: The Speed of Free Market Reforms (4:33)

In this segment, I answered a question on the speed of free market reforms.

Should free-market reforms be gradual or instantaneous? Many advocates of free markets concede that reforms toward capitalism should be gradual. For example, Yaron Brook said recently about abolishing Social Security, “There is no way to eliminate it tomorrow. There is no way to eliminate it… cold turkey.” But why not? What’s wrong with the “cold turkey” approach? Is the concern simply that the only way to get people to accept reforms is to make them slowly? Or would it be somehow unjust to cut off people’s entitlements suddenly, given that they’ve come to depend on them?

My Answer, In Brief: If Americans were supportive, many free market reforms could and should be immediate. However, gradual reforms are wise in some cases, and welfare programs for people without the capacity to support themselves should be phased out gradually – for moral and practical reasons.

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Question 2: The Role of Empathy in Morality (34:33)

In this segment, I answered a question on the role of empathy in morality.

What is the relationship between empathy and morality? Must a person possess a strong sense of empathy to be moral? Is empathy an important quality of character or moral emotion – or the most important? What’s the role of empathy in a rational person’s life?

My Answer, In Brief: Feelings of empathy are morally neutral. A person faces various moral challenges and pitfalls, whether he feels empathy strongly and often or not. Morality – as concerns others – requires grasping perspective of others (among other things), and acting in decent and just way toward them.

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Rapid Fire Questions (55:15)

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

  • Would sidewalks be privately owned in a free society? If so, would I have to pay to walk out of my front door?
  • Why do religions seem to get special treatment over secular world views?
  • Oscar Wilde argued we should surround ourselves with beautiful things so as to make our lives as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Do you think this is good advice for a rational person?

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Conclusion (1:04:59)

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

About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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On Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on revealing a checkered past, racist names of sports teams, property owners prohibiting firearms, explaining Facebook unfriendings, 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: Checkered Pasts, Racist Names, Gun Rights, and More

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

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been busy promoting my new book Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. (It’s available in paperback, Kindle, Nook editions.) I’ve been busy working on posting old pre-radio podcasts, as well as lectures from the past few years.

Question 1: Revealing a Checkered Past (4:39)

In this segment, I answered a question on revealing a checkered past.

How forthcoming should I be with new people I meet about my checkered past? My past is not a source of pride for me. Over four years ago, I read “Atlas Shrugged.” That book altered the radical change I was already bringing into my life for the better. I’ve recently begun meeting other fans of Ayn Rand in real life, and I dislike discussing my white-trash, moocher-esque history with these new acquaintances. (At the time, I was between 17 and 20 years old.) If I shared my past with these people, I think they might judge me harshly and cut ties with me, given that they don’t know me well. However, given my past, I have a clearer understanding of the irrational, twisted, cruel, and nasty nature of people who choose to live like leeches off of other human beings. I think that sharing these experiences with others can be a source of strength to them. (I don’t want others to stumble into these poor decisions when they could do better!) So how much of my past should I share with other people, and how should I share it?

My Answer, In Brief: A person should be proud of overcoming past mistakes, particularly the moral growing pains of late teens and early 20s, not ashamed. Share that history selectively and discreetly with other people. Good people will value you more for what you’ve made of yourself today.

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Question 2: Racist Names of Sports Teams (17:05)

In this segment, I answered a question on racist names of sports teams.

Should sports teams with racist names change them? Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins has vowed never to the team’s name, insisting that it stands for bravery. I’ve read conflicting reports about polls of Native Americans. Some are offended, and some don’t care. It appears that D.C. area politicians and various academics looking to make names for themselves are leading the charge to change the name, and they seem to have much to gain thereby. Personally, I am not offended by the name, but I wouldn’t go onto a reservation and address the people there as “redskins.” While the name may be racist and offensive to some, is that a sufficient reason to change it?

My Answer, In Brief: The term “redskin” is a racial epithet, yet it’s not used in an offensive way by the Washington Redskins. Given that team’s use of the name doesn’t promote racism or bullying, the name shouldn’t be changed as any kind of moral imperative. However, that doesn’t mean that the name should be staunchly defended either. Moral fervor on this issue is seriously misplaced.

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Question 3: Property Owners Prohibiting Firearms (33:40)

In this segment, I answered a question on property owners prohibiting firearms.

Should a person respect signs prohibiting guns in certain areas? Some businesses and government offices announce that firearms are prohibited in the building, yet no screening is conducted to ensure that firearms are excluded. In such “pretend gun-free zones,” law-abiding people will disarm, while criminals and other dangerous or careless people will not. Is this a violation of a person’s right to self-defense? Should people refuse to disarm in face of such signs?

My Answer, In Brief: A person’s right to self-defense is not violated when a property owner forbids guns on his property. The property owner is entitled to set the terms for his property, and if others don’t approve, they can stay away.

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Question 4: Explaining Facebook Unfriendings (43:36)

In this segment, I answered a question on explaining Facebook unfriendings.

Does a person owe others an explanation for unfriending them on Facebook? I’m “friends” with many people on Facebook who I can’t stand and with whom I would never willingly spend time in real life. I’ve purged many Facebook friends I didn’t really know and/or who’ve contributed nothing of value to my life, all for the better. Now I am considering whether to unfriend former lovers and one-time real life friends from my youth for a host of insurmountable reasons – for example, our politics don’t jive, I’m annoyed by seeing endless photos of their pets, and so on. Odds are I will never have any dealings with these people again, mostly because I don’t want to. Do I owe them an explanation for the unfriending?

My Answer, In Brief: It’s perfectly fine to unfriend people on Facebook when you’re not interested in keeping up with them, yet you need not and should not be mean about it.

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

Rapid Fire Questions (51:11)

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

  • Don’t Americans have the right and the obligation to limit immigration to protect our political values from corruption?
  • What’s wrong with the nihilistic argument that life is meaningless because death is inevitable?
  • Emotions are rooted in prior value judgments. So could the Myers-Briggs Thinking versus Feeling axis be analogous to compiled vs interpreted programing?
  • On an earlier show, you said that Daniel Dennett was evil and dishonest. Could you elaborate?
  • Skulls on clothes and accessories are fun motifs to wear. But isn’t wearing them stating that you value death instead of life? Why would I like them?

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

Conclusion (1:06:19)

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

About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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Oct 242013
 

On Wednesday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed Dr. Paul Hsieh about “Highlights from the Personality Theory Workshop.” 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: Paul Hsieh about “Highlights from the Personality Theory Workshop”

In early October, I gathered a few close friends in Atlanta to discuss the ins and outs of personality theory. We focused on various theories of personality, as well as the effects of personality differences at work, in parenting, in personal relations, and in activism. In this episode, my husband Paul and I will share the highlights.

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 op-eds, 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 Personality Workshop
  • Our interest in personality theory
  • The Myers-Briggs types
  • Strengths and Weaknesses of Myers-Briggs
  • The DiSC Types
  • DiSC in communication
  • The Five Factor Model and its problems
  • Sensitivity
  • Major take-home points learned

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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 Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on the social effects of economic inequality, favoritism for the genetically engineered, the value of the Ten Commandments, 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: Inequality, Genetic Engineering, Ten Commandments, and More

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

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: My new book Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame is now available in paperback, Kindle, Nook editions. I’ll speak at Liberty on the Rocks – Flatirons on Monday, Oct 28th on “Why Personality Matters in Politics… But Not in the Way You Think.”

Question 1: The Social Effects of Economic Inequality (4:00)

In this segment, I answered a question on the social effects of economic inequality.

Is an egalitarian society a better society? In his 2009 book “The Spirit Level,” Richard Wilkinson argues that income inequality has a broad range of negative effects on society. According to the summary on Wikipedia, “It claims that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.” Are these egalitarian arguments wrong? If so, what’s the best approach to refuting them?

My Answer, In Brief: While Richard Wilkinson’s statistics are intriguing, the fact is that mere inequality cannot be the root cause of social ills. Undoubtedly, the his collectivist proposal to compel greater equality for the good of society is neither a moral nor a practical solution to any social problems.

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

Question 2: Favoritism for the Genetically Engineered (25:13)

In this segment, I answered a question on favoritism for the genetically engineered.

Once some children are genetically engineered, wouldn’t discrimination against natural children be inevitable? Assume that humanity has advanced to the technological capacities of the movie “Gattaca,” where the best possible genes for each child could be (and mostly would be) chosen before implantation of the embryo. In that case, how could society prevent discrimination against people who were conceived naturally? Those chosen genes would include genes for determination, the desire to learn, motivation, and more, such that engineered people would always win out based on merit. The movie “Gattaca” shows a natural child rising above his engineered counterparts because of his great determination and spirit. The movie’s tagline is even “there is no gene for the human spirit.” But if there is such a thing as a human spirit, then there surely must be a gene for it. So would discrimination against natural children be inevitable? If so, would it be unjust?

My Answer, In Brief: Due to free will, genes do not determine the course and character of a person’s life. However, the genetically engineered would have advantages, but that doesn’t mean that they’d always be preferred in a free market or that natural-born people wouldn’t have an opportunity to work and live well.

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Question 3: The Value of the Ten Commandments (40:47)

In this segment, I answered a question on the value of the Ten Commandments.

Are the Ten Commandments of value to an atheist? Are the Ten Commandments a useful guide to living a good life, even for people who are not Jewish or Christian? Should a rational person look to religious scriptures for ethical guidance?

My Answer, In Brief: To an atheist, the Ten Commandments are a set of arbitrary dogmas without any value in themselves. Even those that are “correct” must be grasped as principles based on the facts of reality, not accepted from authority.

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:02:02)

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

  • Do you think Kant’s view of bastard children grew out of his religiosity?
  • You’ve said before that you don’t think sexual orientation is innate, as this would require innate concepts of male and female. If so, how does sexual orientation work in non-human species?
  • John Aglialoro (the producer of the Atlas Shrugged movies) apparently plans to include a scene in Part 3 in which Dagny Taggart talks to a priest. The first two movies weren’t anything to write home about, but is this enough reason to boycott Part 3 completely?

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

Conclusion (1:08:05)

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

About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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On Wednesday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed peanut allergy mom Jenn Casey about “Living Safely with Food Allergies (Part 2).” 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: Jenn Casey about “Living Safely with Food Allergies (Part 2)”

Many Americans have food allergies to common foods such as peanuts, dairy, and eggs. Some of those allergies are so serious as to be life-threatening. Jenn Casey’s son has a life-threatening peanut allergy, diagnosed when he was a toddler. What must people diagnosed with such allergies do to protect themselves from accidental ingestion? How can parents keep their children with such allergies safe? How should other people in their lives – such as family, friends, and teachers – do to protect them from harm? What should schools, clubs, and other organizations do? This episode is Part Two of Two. Be sure to listen to Part One.

Jenn Casey is a homeschooling mom to three hilarious kids, wife, small business owner, CrossFit athlete and coach, Positive Discipline educator, sometime blogger, puppy trainer, reluctant 5K runner, urban-chicken-raising wannabe, amateur gardener, humor dabbler, serious Beatles enthusiast, longtime Objectivist, economics nerd, even bigger operations management nerd, Sauvignon Blanc lover, bourbon appreciator, and President of ATLOS.

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Topics:

  • Comfort zones, again
  • Educating friends and family
  • Vistors and rules
  • Talking to kids at different ages
  • Allowing foods to the non-allergic kids
  • Conflict over comfort zones with spouses
  • Extended family not respecting comfort zones
  • Problems with other kids, including bullying
  • Unpleasant and ignorant comments
  • Accommodations in schools
  • The limited value of food labels
  • Questions for food producers and restaurants
  • Peanuts on airlines
  • The value of doctors and other support
  • The biggest challenge of food allergies
  • Preventing food allergies
  • Silver linings

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NoodleCast #250: Rapid Fire Extravaganza

 Posted by on 14 October 2013 at 8:00 am  NoodleCast
Oct 142013
 

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

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: It’s my 250th podcast! Wow! I’ll be competing this weekend in another three-phase event on my horse Lila. The print version of Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame is delayed due to a problem with the cover, but the Kindle version is available on Amazon.

Rapid Fire Questions (4:09)

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

  • In last Sunday’s show, you stated that psychological egoism has a relationship to determinism. The relationship isn’t obvious to me. As I interpreted the explanation of psychological egoism it seems that you are faced with options about how to behave and you deliberate, choose one, and whichever one you chose was the one you wanted. It’s not clear to me how that is determinism.
  • What do you think of the current mess in Washington?
  • Was Ted Cruz’s filibuster counterproductive?
  • Is it moral for an extreme introvert to derive pleasure from having internet friends, providing that they aren’t otherwise hermits? How do you morally have internet only friends?
  • Who is your favorite character from an Ayn Rand novel and why?
  • Was Dominique crazy?
  • When do you think its egoistic to stand up for oneself in response to a snide, sarcastic boss versus just ignoring him?
  • You are incredibly optimistic about our society as a whole. Philosophically, does that mean you disapprove of Preppers?
  • Is comparing our own times to “Atlas Shrugged” misleading, in that “Atlas Shrugged” eventually descends into civilization’s self-destruction and descent into civil war?
  • What should happen for you to consider emigrating?
  • Are parents overprotective of their kids these days? Or given how much worse the culture is compared to 20 years ago, are things actually more dangerous for kids?
  • Do you think children should be forced to socialize with other children if they don’t want to?
  • Would you watch a survival show that pitted socialists and libertarians against each other? How big a group would be necessarily to show a difference in their ideas?
  • Is the force involved in fraud partly the withholding someone else’s property?
  • Of Ayn Rand’s nonfiction, I find The Romantic Manifesto the most difficult. How can I read it without the temptation to throw it at the wall? What am I not getting?
  • Aren’t you part of “the Objectivist movement” just by advocating what you think is compatible with it? What about Objectivist Answers and Free Objectivist Books?
  • Do you think the negative reactions to Miley Cyrus twerking is a function of a puritanical suppression of female sexuality or an appropriate condemnation of self-degradation or something else?
  • You said that Obama is not a nihilist, but is an egalitarian. However, Dr. Peikoff argues in his book (as far as I understand) that egalitarianism is a form of nihilism in politics. Do you disagree?

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

Conclusion (56:12)

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

About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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On Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on free speech for corporations, psychological egoism, objecting to a professor’s views, deduction from axioms, 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: Rights of Corporations, Psychological Egoism, Socialist Professors, and More

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

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been in Atlanta, conducting a small, informal, and awesome personality theory workshop with friends.

Question 1: Free Speech for Corporations (3:51)

In this segment, I answered a question on free speech for corporations.

Do corporations have free speech rights? Many leftists (including left-libertarians) are vehemently opposed to the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision, which recognized that corporations have the right to speak in elections. Do corporations have rights? What would it mean for corporations not to have rights? Should corporations be considered “persons” under the law?

My Answer, In Brief: Corporations are just groups of people organized in a corporate form — and they retain all the rights of those people, including the right to free speech.

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

Question 2: Psychological Egoism (17:47)

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

Isn’t every action selfish, ultimately? Unless coerced, people act however they deem best at that moment. Even if that action is harmful to themselves, aren’t they acting selfishly, so as to satisfy their own desires? Even paragons of altruism act because they want to help people, please God, or save the environment: that’s what makes them happy. So isn’t true, deep-down altruism impossible?

My Answer, In Brief: Psychological egoism is a form of determinism: a person cannot but act egotistically. It’s completely incompatible with ethical egoism – and false.

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

Question 3: Objecting to a Professor’s Views (28:32)

In this segment, I answered a question on objecting to a professor’s views.

How strongly should a student object to a professor’s objectionable views? I am a senior undergraduate in a liberal arts major at a public university. I’m currently taking a class with the bleak subject matter of genocide. My blatantly socialist teacher presents her views in discussions of the Armenian genocide, the “genocide” in Soviet Russia, and the Holocaust. Often, she ignores the role of religion and flawed socialist policies. Also, she blames greed and capitalism to an unreasonable degree for the woes of the aforementioned countries. How should I respond to these objectionable claims of hers? How much should I try to undermine her wrongheaded views?

My Answer, In Brief: In all likelihood, you can approach this class such that you actually learn something – even if not about the topic, then perhaps about how to better understand and effectively argue against wrong views.

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

Question 4: Deduction from Axioms (14:55)

In this segment, I answered a question on deduction from axioms.

Is philosophy deduced from axioms? Often, I hear people claim that philosophy – particularly Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism – is deduced from axioms. Is that right? Personally, I don’t see how that can be: How can anything be deduced from “existence exists”? But in that case, what’s the purpose of the axioms?

My Answer, In Brief: The axioms are not premises for deduction in philosophy. They are fundamental concepts, implicit in all awareness of existence.

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

Rapid Fire Questions (58:08)

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

  • Did you correct the otherwise-good professor who mischaracterized the Objectivist ethics as psychological egoism?
  • Should children always be expected to address adults (such as teachers or friends of their parents) in a formal way–Mr., Mrs., etc.? When in doubt, should the default be formal over informal?
  • What is your opinion of punkin’ chunkin’?

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

Conclusion (1:12:58)

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

About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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

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