Sep 072015

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Arthur Zey and I answered questions on workplace diversity, accusations of date rape, evaluating romantic prospects, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 6 September 2015

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Podcast Segments: 6 September 2015

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


My News of the Week: Next Sunday, I’ll be having an awful blast in the Tough Mudder, so there won’t be a live broadcast.

Question 1: Workplace Diversity

Question: Is the lack of racial and sexual diversity in the workplace a problem? Lately, there have been a lot of discussions about the lack of diversity in the tech industry. I have been asked to fill out surveys indicating my gender and race, which I politely refuse to complete. I don’t see how my sex or the color of my skin impacts my work as an engineer. Some companies promote diversity statistics on their blog and claim that they’re working to improve workplace diversity. In late July, Pinterest posted a similar blog entry and went even further by explicitly setting goals to hire women and people of “underrepresented ethnic backgrounds.” Is this lack of diversity a problem in an industry? If so, what kinds of measures should be used to address it?

My Answer, In Brief: The standard approach to “diversity” in the workplace is wrong and destructive to companies and potential employees. The problem of implicit bias based on race and sex is real, but more subtle and honest measures than “diversity hiring” are required to overcome that.

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

Question 2: Accusations of Date Rape

Question: What’s the proper response to an accusation of date rape in the absence of hard evidence? When faced with this kind of serious accusation within a social group, what is the proper judgment and course of action? If the accuser seems believable, should the accused be shunned or banned from the group? Should private warnings be given to group members? Does refusing to engage in any public discussion of the matter constitute silent assent to the crime? Or should judgment and action be reserved until further evidence comes to light?

My Answer, In Brief: In cases of accusation of rape, you shouldn’t just believe the accuser or the accused, but gather as much information as you can, and see if you can come to a definitive or even tentative conclusion. Then, you can figure out who ought to warn.

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

Question 3: Evaluating Romantic Prospects

Question: How can I efficiently evaluate potential romantic prospects? When introduced to a person – or out on a first or second date – it’s often difficult to evaluate that person quickly and fairly as a potential romantic prospect. What should I look for? What questions should I ask? What kinds of qualities – moral and psychological – should I regard as particularly important, for better or worse?

My Answer, In Brief: By identifying what’s important to you – and seeking out that information – you can efficiently and effectively sort through romantic prospects to find the better ones.

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To comment on this question or my answer, 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: 1:22:00

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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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