On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on the validity of gay marriage, the is-ought gap, the aftermath of a friendship, mixing politics and romance, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 7 April 2013

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Podcast Segments: 7 April 2013

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

Introduction

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Question 1: The Validity of Gay Marriage

Question: Is “gay marriage” a valid form of marriage? Many people oppose gay marriage on the grounds that marriage is essentially religious, that procreation is central to marriage, or “traditional marriage” should be respected. Should gay unions be considered a valid form of marriage, legally or socially? Might civil unions be an acceptable alternative?

My Answer, In Brief: The various quasi-secular arguments against gay marriage fail, badly. Gay marriage is a matter of rights, and people ought to support it.

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

Question 2: The Is-Ought Gap

Question: What is the solution to the is-ought problem? David Hume famously claimed that statements about what ought to be cannot be derived from statements about what is the case. Does that mean that ethics is impossible? Can the gap be bridged, and if so, how?

My Answer, In Brief: The is-ought problem was solved by Ayn Rand’s identification of life as a person’s ultimate goal: the facts have normative implications when combined with goals.

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

Question 3: The Aftermath of a Friendship

Question: What’s the proper response to the dissolution of a friendship within a social group? I loved your your May 6th, 2012 discussion of “unforgivable acts,” and I have a follow-up question. Now – after cutting my losses with a best friend, after years of giving second chances, talking with him repeatedly, and determining that there’s no more basis for a friendship – how do I judge mutual friends of ours? Some of them think that my actions weren’t justified. Some resent me for breaking up a group of friends. Many want me to either make up with this person or tolerate him at gatherings. Is this reaction by these mutual friends fair? How should I respond to them?

My Answer, In Brief: Often, such problems have no easy solution, but you’ll be better off if you explain as much as you can of the facts and your feelings, set reasonable limits as to interaction with this former friend, and work to keep up the friendships.

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

Question 4: Mixing Politics and Romance

Question: Can people with divergent political views enjoy a good romantic relationship? Some of my liberal friends won’t date conservatives, and some of my conservative friends are horrified at the thought of dating a liberal. Is that reasonable? Since I’m in favor of free markets, should I only date other advocates of free markets? Can people with very different political views enjoy a good romantic relationship?

My Answer, In Brief: A person’s politics does not constitute the fundamental values important for a good romance, but often conversations about politics can reveal those values.

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • Who’s your favorite psychopath?
  • Why do people still want to be moral when their morality is not in their own interest? Doesn’t morality for its own sake turn the concept itself into a hyped up cardboard badge?
  • Is there a philosophical difference between losing and regaining consciousnesses and being taken apart and reconstructed by some scifi teleporter if one existed?

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  • Start Time: 49:43
  • Duration: 10:56
  • 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: 1:00:40


About Philosophy in Action Radio

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

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