Aug 252014
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on changing personality traits, debating Christian versus Objectivist ethics, conning jerks and blowhards, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 24 August 2014

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Podcast Segments: 24 August 2014

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: This week, I raised just over $2,000 in pledges for Ari Armstrong’s and my new paper in defense of abortion rights. Also, I’ve finished up the final edits for the print version of Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Question 1: Changing Personality Traits

Question: Can I reclaim lost personality traits? When I was a kid (probably until the age of about 12 or 13), my personality had a strong ‘I’ element (as in the DISC model I). I was fun, energetic and confident. I was willing to express myself openly (and loudly) and do silly things for the sake of laughs. When I went to high school, I was bullied heavily. I became much more quiet and withdrawn. The C element of my personality took over, and the I element all but disappeared. Now as an adult, I would like to be able to “reclaim” my lost personality. I am generally a shy and withdrawn person, and I long for the energy and enthusiasm that I once had. Is it possible to reclaim my lost personality? If so, how?

My Answer, In Brief: The limits of personality change are unclear – and likely vary between individuals. You can make efforts to cultivate your personality in a particular direction, however, and you might as well try!

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

Question 2: Debating Christian Versus Objectivist Ethics

Question: Why is the Objectivist ethics superior to Christian ethics? I was recently invited to participate in a live student debate at a local church on the topic, “Who Was the Better Moral Philosopher: Ayn Rand or Jesus?”. The audience will be mostly Christian or neutral: there will only be a handful of people familiar with Objectivism present. What points would you make if you were to speak to an audience of interested laypeople on this topic? What subjects might be best to avoid? What aspects of Jesus’ ethics might be good to highlight as flaws? What resources – other than the primary sources – might you suggest on this topic?

My Answer, In Brief: Be an ambassador for rationality in this debate. Don’t try to disprove Christian ethics or disparage Christianity. Instead, aim to educate people about what the Objectivist ethics is and show its very practical virtues.

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

Question 3: Conning Jerks and Blowhards

Question: Is it wrong to con jerks and blowhards? I know that dishonesty is wrong, but conning jerks and blowhards out of their money (as seen here) seems like justice at its best. So is it wrong?

My Answer, In Brief: Conning jerks and blowhards makes for delightful fiction, but it’s bad practice in real life. You risk blowback – or worse, corrupting your own character.

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To comment on this question or my answer, 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: 1:18:07


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