On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on self-interest in marriage, atheists attending religious ceremonies, multigenerational space travel, drugs as treatment for mental illness, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 28 April 2013

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Podcast Segments: 28 April 2013

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been finalizing the layout of my soon-forthcoming book, Responsibility and Luck (a.k.a. my dissertation), and now I’m doing the final review of the text and layouy, creating the index, and planning the podcast series. The book will be available in a week or two!

Question 1: Self-Interest in Marriage

Question: Can marriage be self-interested? Most people describe marriage as requiring compromise, sacrifice, and concession. Is that right? Is a happy and fulfilling marriage possible where each person pursues his or her own values, without such compromise, sacrifice, or concession? Is some different approach to marriage required?

My Answer, In Brief: Marriage need not and should not be sacrificial. A happy marriage is egoistic: each person pursues his own self-interest, including by being respectful and accommodating of his/her spouse.

Listen or Download:

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

Question 2: Atheists Attending Religious Ceremonies

Question: Is it wrong for an atheist to refuse to attend a sibling’s religious ceremony? I’ve decided not to attend the religious ceremony of my younger sister’s upcoming Bat Mitzvah. I’m an atheist, and while I don’t think attending would be immoral, I don’t want to support any kind of religiosity or connection to religion. Other family members have criticized me for that decision, saying that I should support my sister and not pressure her into agreeing with my own views. Should I attend? If not, how should I handle the family dynamics?

My Answer, In Brief: Other things being equal, the morality of attending a religious ceremony depends on the morality and religiosity of the ceremony. Here, attendance is optional, and you should explain your reasons to your sister kindly, and tell your family to mind their own business.

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

Question 3: Multigenerational Space Travel

Question: Is multigenerational space travel immoral? According to a panel at SETICon 2012, the designs for multi-generational space ships are already in the works. Are there ethical problems with people bearing children who will never see Earth, and likely never set foot on a planet? Would they be robbed of any ability to determine their own fate? Or is it a moot point since had the circumstances been different, they might not have ever been born at all?

My Answer, In Brief: Children are not entitled to the best that Earth has to offer. They are entitled to have real lives, lived in freedom. That would be tricky to implement in space, but possible.

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Links:

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

Question 4: Drugs as Treatment for Mental Illness

Question: Is taking antidepressants and other prescribed drugs for mental problems a form of evasion? I’m new to the philosophy of Objectivism, and I’ve seen that it’s rapidly helping cure the last parts of a depression I went through last year. I started taking Adderal about eight months ago, and it has helped tremendously. But I wonder: Does taking these drugs or other antidepressants conflict with the principle that a person should never evade reality?

My Answer, In Brief: Some people seem to need need for antidepressants and other drugs to achieve normal mental functioning or restore themselves to that – and to use them in those cases is entirely proper and not evasion.

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Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • Do Objectivists hold each other to higher standards?
  • Is it mystical to name your pets after wizards?
  • Do spouses have an expectation of privacy?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 57:18
  • Duration: 7:07
  • 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: 1:04:25


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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