On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on winning friends and influencing people, accepting government welfare, mercenary essay contest writing, government scientists in a free society, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 10 November 2013

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Podcast Segments: 10 November 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 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

Question: 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

Question: 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

Question: 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

Question: 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

Questions:

  • 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?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 59:25
  • Duration: 8:53
  • 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: 1:08:19


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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