Sep 162013

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on identifying a central purpose, Immanuel Kant on sex, becoming an educated voter, atheists patronizing religious businesses, 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 September 2013

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 September 2013

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


My News of the Week: I’ve been busy editing my forthcoming book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. We’ve only gotten a few inches of rain, but Colorado has been devastated by flooding of biblical proportions. If you want to help, here’s how.

Question 1: Identifying a Central Purpose

Question: How can I identify my own central purpose? I understand the importance of a central purpose to organize my values and pursuits. However, I’m not sure how to identify what my central purpose is. What if I have a few major pursuits, but none dominates the others? What if my career is in flux – or not yet settled? Also, how concrete or abstract should my central purpose be?

My Answer, In Brief: A person’s central purpose is not any kind of divine calling, but rather a cultivated career. Often, a person can identify a theme to his work that’s helpful to guiding his decision-making about future endeavors.

Listen or Download:


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

Question 2: Immanuel Kant on Sex

Question: What are Immanuel Kant’s views on sex? In your June 30th, 2013 discussion of studying philosophy in academia, you said that Immanuel Kant has some very distinctive and revealing views about marriage, sex, and masturbation. What are they? What do they reveal about this ethics? Have they been influential in academia or the culture?

My Answer, In Brief: Kant’s views on sex are horrific – and they reveal the true meaning of his Categorical Imperative, as well as his willingness to fabricate arguments to reach his desired conclusions.

Listen or Download:


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

Question 3: Becoming an Educated Voter

Question: How should I educate myself so that I can cast informed votes in elections? I’m 25, and I’ve never voted in any local, state, or national election. I have good reason for that, I think: I’ve never been able to educate myself sufficiently on the candidates to be certain of who to vote for. Also, as a marketing student with a passion for advertising and public relations, I don’t think I could vote until I’d seen the inside of a campaign team as a member of it, so that I have a personal understanding of how much the candidate presented is real or idealized. I know that that is unrealistic, because I wouldn’t know which candidate to work for. Instead of that, what steps could I take to inform myself, without consuming too much time, so that I could vote in the next presidential election?

My Answer, In Brief: A person ought to educate himself before voting, and that’s relatively easy to do with a bit of research into the candidate’s positions and record.

Listen or Download:


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

Question 4: Atheists Patronizing Religious Businesses

Question: Is it wrong for an atheist to patronize religious businesses? Is it an endorsement of religion or failure of integrity for an atheist to buy goods or services from a religious business, such as hiring an explicitly religious (and advertised as such) plumber or joining the local YMCA?

My Answer, In Brief: Most people are religious, and they’re good trading partners. However, when a person injects his religion into his business, that’s increasing the likelihood of unwanted proselytizing, as well as seeming to endorse his religiosity. In that case, find another person to do business with, if possible.

Listen or Download:

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

Rapid Fire Questions


  • About the trolley problem, wouldn’t flipping the switch still legally make you a murderer?
  • What is the best argument to stop me from telling people on the internet they are wrong? I know it won’t go anywhere, but I still feel an urge to point it out.
  • Can silly poop jokes or other forms of very silly pointless humor be a central purpose in life? Can silliness in general be a central purpose?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 1:00:40
  • Duration: 4:26
  • Download: MP3 Segment

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


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: 1:05:07

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