Jan 312011
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on unequal incomes in marriage, men and women as friends, unpaid-for college classes, stealing from a thief, causality and free will, cultural pride, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 30 January 2011

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Podcast Segments: 30 January 2011

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: Let’s get started!

Question 1: Unequal Incomes in Marriage

Question: Is it moral to have a sugarmomma or sugardaddy? My fiancee and I both have demanding careers, but she earns several times more than I. How should a married couple with very different incomes share income and/or expenses? If we agree to split household expenses evenly, my lower income is a significant constraint on her enjoyment, e.g., she can’t buy an expensive house because I can’t afford half of it. On the other hand, if we split expenses unevenly or if we treat all income as pooled, it seems that I’m benefiting lavishly from things I didn’t produce. Is it moral for me to enjoy an expensive hobby which I couldn’t have afforded on my own? I’d love to hear more about how you and Paul manage income and expenses, and especially what ethical principles apply.

My Answer, In Brief: Money shared by two productive people in marriage is not unearned, but part of integration of two lives into single whole. Whatever their incomes and expenses, spouses need openly settle on ways to fairly structure their finances.

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

Question 2: Men and Women as Friends

Question: Can men and women be “just friends”? (This is a follow-up to the discussion on infidelity from January 23rd.) Where is the line crossed from friendship to something more intimate that would be a threat to a committed relationship? Is it fair for me to expect a romantic partner to keep his female friends at a distance?

My Answer, In Brief: Yes, men and women can be just friends. However, a person must adopt certain policies of thought and action to prevent some friendships from developing an undercurrent of sexual interest.

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

Question 3: Unpaid-For College Classes

Question: Is it wrong to cheat a partly government funded institution? There are a couple of classes I would enjoy sitting in on at my university. They are large, and I would not be noticed. Would it be wrong to go without paying for them? I wouldn’t do this with a private college, nor would I have qualms about a completely government funded school. But colleges are partly privately paid for. Would it be immoral for me to get some of that value without paying?

My Answer, In Brief: Regardless of whether the university is government-funded or not, a person should not sneak around but rather openly ask to join (or audit) classes.

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

Question 4: Stealing from a Thief

Question: Would it be wrong to steal from a thief? If an individual were placed in a position where they could steal from a con-man or a common burglar, and they did, would their decision to steal from a thief be moral or immoral and why?

My Answer, In Brief: To steal from a thief is to reject the value of objective law, not to mention court a world of trouble.

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

Question 5: Causality and Free Will

Question: How are causality and free will compatible? If my mind is an effect of my brain, and my brain is a complex physical system which operates in a deterministic way, doesn’t that mean that my thoughts and actions are ultimately determined, too? What is wrong with the popular notions of causality and free will that make them appear incompatible?

My Answer, In Brief: The deterministic premises underlying this question are false. If understood properly, causality and free will need not conflict.

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

Question 6: Cultural Pride

Question: Is it wrong to be proud of or obtain your pride from your culture, family and ancestors? Is it correct to have pride in one’s culture, family and ancestors? For example in Samoan society a Pe’a is a traditional male Samoan tattoo. According to my friend the pe’a tells him that the wearer has pride in their culture, their family and their ancestors. It is not just a physical marking but an indicator of his/her soul according to him.

My Answer, In Brief: Pride, whether as virtue or feeling, must be selective and based on your own choices and achievements. To speak of “pride in one’s culture” is to distort the term beyond all sensible meaning.

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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: 1:01:56


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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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