Jun 072011
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on the process of forgiveness, visiting home for the holidays, to recycle or not, pharmacies selling homeopathic remedies, Objectivism and psychology, doctors prescribing placebos, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 5 June 2011

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Podcast Segments: 5 June 2011

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been recovering from AtlosCon this week, plus making some plans for upgrades to the webcast. Next week, I’ll resume work on my updates to Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Question 1: The Process of Forgiveness

Question: What is the proper process of forgiveness? In your March 6th episode, you spoke about forgiveness from the perspective of the person wronged. However, imagine that you’re the person who has done wrong to someone else, thereby harming him. What should you do now? How can you prove to that person that you’re not as bad as you seemed at that time? What should you do if the other person isn’t willing to hear you out?

My Answer, In Brief: Although errors and wrongs differ in significant ways – ranging from honest ignorance to willful evasion – the basic process is always (1) identify what happened, (2) make amends as necessary, and (3) ensure no repetition, if possible.

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

Question 2: Visiting Home for the Holidays

Question: Am I obliged to visit my family for the holidays? I’m in my mid-20s. My family expects me to return home for the holidays, i.e. for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I dislike the trouble of traveling during that hectic time. (I live across the country.) Also, I dislike the chaotic bustle at my parents’ home during the holidays. I feel like I never get to spend meaningful time with anyone, and I’m stuck with people I can barely tolerate. I’d prefer to visit family I like at other times in the year. However, my parents would be extremely angry with me if I refused to come home during the holidays. They’d probably attempt to make me feel guilty for ruining their holidays. Should I just give in to their wishes? If not, how can I make them accept that I’d rather visit at some other time?

My Answer, In Brief: A person ought always pursue his own happiness, including during the holidays. That might require making plans apart from family and visiting at other times, even in face of much opposition.

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

Question 3: To Recycle or Not

Question: Should I recycle? When I don’t have to go out of my way to recycle – if both bins are right in front of me, say – should I? And what if I am sharing an apartment with someone who will fish recyclables out of the trash and put them in the recycling bin? Are there cases where one should just recycle in order to avoid confrontations at home or work?

My Answer, In Brief: The fervor to recycle raw materials from consumer goods is based on a series of myths about its costs and benefits, but when faced with requests or mandates to recycle, a person ought to do what’s most convenient, without infringing on the rights of others.

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

Question 4: Pharmacies Selling Homeopathic Remedies

Question: Should pharmacies sell homeopathic remedies next to real medicines? For example, Cobroxin with Asian Cobra Venom 4x HPUS is sometimes sold next to acetaminophen (or Tylenol). Calms Forte’s non-drowsy sleeping pills are often displayed next to diphenhydramine (the generic for Benadryl or Tylenol p.m.). James Randi, a magician in his 80′s, took 30 of these sleeping pills with no effect. Basically, these homeopathic alternatives are nothing more than expensive water. So is it wrong for pharmacies to sell them as if they were effective medicine?

My Answer, In Brief: Homeopathy is pure pseudo-science, and pharmacies ought not sell it at all. But if they do, the posted warnings ought to be very, very clear about what’s not being bought, namely medicine.

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

Question 5: Objectivism and Psychology

Question: Does Objectivism need a psychology? The philosophy of Objectivism does not address the domain of human psychology as a distinct and significant category. Does that make it incomplete? If so, is that important?

My Answer, In Brief: Objectivism is a philosophy, not the sum of all knowledge. Psychology is and ought to be respected as a separate discipline.

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

Question 6: Doctors Prescribing Placebos

Question: Is it ethical for a psychiatrist (or other doctor) to prescribe placebos? This question arose as a result of this article: The power of placebos. While the alleged benefits of placebos mentioned in the article can be argued, my question is: To the extent a placebo is beneficial to a patient, is the doctor justified in prescribing it to him? Of course, the doctor cannot reveal to the patient at the time of prescription since it nullifies the effect of the placebo.

My Answer, In Brief: The placebo effect is genuine, in that the mind can stimulate healing even without effective medicines. Doctors might prescribe them with some general consent of their patients, particularly if the alternatives risk significant side-effects or other harms.

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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: 1:13:03


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