Mar 262012
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on unfriendly disputes in online communities, the problem of too many commitments, talking about selfishness, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 25 March 2012

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Podcast Segments: 25 March 2012

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I was busy with SnowCon this past week… and my mother is coming to visit this week!

Question 1: Unfriendly Disputes in Online Communities

Question: Why are disputes so belligerent in online communities? I’ve noticed that people get into very loud and heated disputes online, whereas that doesn’t seem to happen in local communities. Disputes in local communities tend to be less frequent, less belligerent, and last for a shorter time – even when some people end up hating each other and refusing to have anything to do with each other in the end. Why is that? Also, why do people who are closest with each other (whether close friends, dating, or married) seem to agree more on hot-button issues? Are people more willing to reject a stranger’s arguments than those of a friend? Is that an error?

My Answer, In Brief: Conflicts with other people are inevitable in life. Online conflicts are often more belligerent, due to the differences between online and in-person communication. People should try to manage online conflicts in a sane way, with respect for facts about the limitations of the medium.

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

Question 2: The Problem of Too Many Commitments

Question: How can I manage my projects better? Too often, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer volume of projects on my agenda. Because I’m overcommitted, I’ll miss important deadlines or allow some projects to be delayed into oblivion. Other times, my work is rushed and sloppy. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I become paralyzed, and then I don’t get any work done. What can I do to manage my various work and home projects better, so that I keep making progress on what really matters to me?

My Answer, In Brief: If you tend to take on more projects than you can manage well, then you need to work on being more realistic and more selective. Otherwise, you’re just making false promises.

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Links:

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

Question 3: Talking About Selfishness

Question: Should I use the term “selfish” in conversation without explanation? According to Ayn Rand, selfishness means acting for your own long-range life and happiness, and that’s moral and proper. Yet most people think that selfishness means brutalizing other people, lying and cheating to satisfy your desires, or at least acting like an insensitive jerk. Should I avoid using the term unless I can explain what I mean by it? And how can I best explain its proper meaning?

My Answer, In Brief: When speaking to other people, make sure that you’re actually communicating what you mean to them. Most often, that will require explaining what you mean by “selfishness” or using another term.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • In today’s political climate, should one bother running for office anymore?
  • Are some people born with more self-control than others? How can those of us lacking in self-control develop a more disciplined lifestyle?
  • Would selling yourself into slavery require regarding yourself as property – or just agreeing to do whatever your master commands?
  • Do you have a must-read book list (like Oprah)?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 56:40
  • Duration: 5:49
  • Download: MP3 Segment

To comment on these questions or my answers, 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: 1:02:29


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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