Sep 282015

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on the future of the United States, the value of vulnerability, cheating to get a job back, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 27 September 2015

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Podcast Segments: 27 September 2015

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


My News of the Week: I’ve been getting my life in order and preparing for the closure of Philosophy in Action.

Question 1: The Future of the United States

Question: Is the United States finished as a free country? Lately, I have seen a lot of people in my circles claim that the United States as a free country is dead and done, that tyranny advances each day and it’s not isolated, it’s everywhere. These are mostly reactions to articles reporting seeming home invasions by police, the FBI’s forensic hair match scandal, and other government abuses. The common claim is that the United States now has an inherently corrupt justice system where policemen can end the lives of citizens with impunity and get away with it. My inner skeptic makes me feel that, while this is evidence of a lot of bad things that shouldn’t be tolerated, the reaction itself seems disproportionate. While there are systemic problems, I have the impression that it is not all-pervasive and not hopeless. Then again, that could be also my inner optimist trying to tell myself that things are not as bad as they first appear. What is your take on the current climate of the United States? Do you think it is as finished as others claim it is? What kind of tools could you recommend for someone to use in gauging the state of the country more accurately?

My Answer, In Brief: America is not going to hell in a handbasket, and people who predict that based on philosophy are blowing smoke. To combat this view in yourself, stop consuming negative news and seek out the positive.

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

Question 2: The Value of Vulnerability

Question: Is vulnerability of value? In a recent blog post, you stated “…I’m opting for a ‘vulnerability through strength’ and ‘strength through vulnerability’ route…” Could you please explain this idea? Why is vulnerability something that should be cultivated in the first place? It doesn’t seem compatible with rational egoism, given that “vulnerability” and “weakness” are often used interchangeably.

My Answer, In Brief: The capacity and willingness to be vulnerable is a moral amplifier, not a virtue. It’s extremely important to deep and meaningful relationships, and it’s not mere weakness.

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

Question 3: Cheating to Get a Job Back

Question: Should I cheat the system to get my job back? For my main source of income, I work as a virtual call center agent through a freelance company that hires people as independent contractors rather than employees. I don’t love the job, but the flexibility it provides is vital to my way of life and pursuit of my central purpose. The arrangement is totally impersonal; nobody at the company that provides the work knows any of the workers; one pretty much just signs up, submits to a background check, and starts working. I recently got fired from the job for violating a company policy that I thought was unimportant. One you get fired, you can’t work through them again. However, there are several ways I could do the job again. One is to create an account using my dad’s identity with his permission and have him pay me the wages. The other is to get a new social security number by faking the theft of my own identity, (which I would do without stealing any money from anyone). Once I get a new social security number, I could create a new account and continue undetected. I don’t want to be dishonest, but I don’t want to change my way of life either. What are the moral and practical implications of what I’m considering?

My Answer, In Brief: It would be morally wrong and practically dangerous to attempt to regain your job by “cheating the system.” Instead, accept that you screwed up and find a new job.

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

Rapid Fire Questions


  • What key qualities should a job seeker search for in prospective employers?
  • Why are zombie apocalypse movies and television shows so popular? Does the trend have any philosophical significance?
  • Is a person morally responsible for the actions that he performs under duress?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years, Diana?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 51:44
  • Duration: 15:41
  • 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: 1:07:25

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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  • ThesisHelp.Net

    Great! Thanks for sharing this.

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