On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on body acceptance, the reliability of memory, the meaning of induction, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 16 March 2014

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Podcast Segments: 16 March 2014

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


My News of the Week: I’ve been busy getting my life back to normal after TahoeCon, Aiken, and SnowCon. Alas, now I have a cold. Greg is on vacation, so he’s only here virtually.

Question 1: Body Acceptance

Question: Is “body acceptance” rational and healthy – or dangerous? Many people are divided on the issue of accepting one’s body for whatever it is. Some think that a person should be proud to be “healthy at any size” (or even just a larger-than-average size). Others say that such views perpetuate unhealthy lifestyles and destroy standards of beauty and health, perhaps out of envy. What is a rational view of body acceptance? Is “fat shaming” or “fit shaming” ever acceptable? More generally, what are the boundaries of morally acceptable comments on such matters between acquaintances, friends, and strangers?

My Answer, In Brief: The call for “body acceptance” is not about egalitarian hatred of beauty or health. Rather, it’s goal is to challenge our culture’s focus on outward appearance – rather than health, strength, and skills – by accepting the current state of our body and appreciating its virtues.

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

Question 2: The Reliability of Memory

Question: Is memory trustworthy? Memory is often described as being highly fallible and even malleable. Is that true? If so, what are the implications of that for claims about the objectivity and reliability of knowledge? What are the implications for daily life? Should we trust our experiences when we can’t be trusted to remember them?

My Answer, In Brief: Memory is fallible in various known ways, but that doesn’t undermine claims of knowledge. Rather, it’s a reason to exercise caution when relying on memory and to use external records.

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

Question 3: The Meaning of Induction

Question: What does the term “inductive” mean? What is the distinction (if any) between some claim being “inductive” versus (1) ad hoc, (2) non-systematic, (3) disintegrated, (4) anecdotal, and (5) empirical? Basically, what is the proper meaning of the term “inductive”?

My Answer, In Brief: Induction is the process of logical inference from more particular to more abstract knowledge. It is essential to all reasoning.

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

Rapid Fire Questions


  • Are strip clubs moral? Should men or women (whether married, dating, or single) frequent them? Is it wrong to work for one?
  • Will separating school and state will lead to a more religious, ignorant, and economically poor population?
  • What is the value of novelty?
  • Have Ayn Rand’s claims about concept-formation in “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology” in children been validated by developmental psychology?
  • Apart from Ayn Rand and Aristotle, which philosophers have written good and/or interesting works on aesthetics?
  • 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?
  • What would you do if, in the Trolley Problem, Paul was the solo person on the track?

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  • Start Time: 44:29
  • Duration: 14:23
  • 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: 58:52

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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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