Apr 232012

On Sunday, 22 April 2012, I broadcast a new episode of my live Philosophy in Action Webcast, where I answer questions on the application of rational principles to the challenges of living a virtuous, happy, and free life in a live, hour-long webcast. The webcast is broadcast live every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. In the webcast, I broadcast on video, Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers is on audio, and the audience is in a text chat.

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We hope that you’ll join the live webcast, because that’s more lively and engaging than the podcast. People talk merrily in the text chat while watching the webcast. Greg and I enjoy the immediate feedback of a live audience – the funny quips, serious comments, and follow-up questions. So please join the live webcast when you can!

The Podcast: Episode: 22 April 2012

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    Duration: 1:03:06
Download the Episode Subscribe to the Feed The Segments: Episode: 22 April 2012

The following segments are marked as chapters in the M4A version of the podcast. Thanks to Tammy Perkins for helping compile the show notes!

Introduction (0:00)

I’ve been mopping up from NoodleFood’s move to Philosophy in Action, and I sent out the first Philosophy in Action Newsletter. This week, I’ll be experimenting with Philosophy in Action on BlogTalkRadio! This first radio call-in show will be on Wednesday April 25th at 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT / 7 pm MT / 6 pm PT. Its theme will be “Getting More Done.”

Question 1: Obligation, Responsibility, and Duty (4:03)

What is the difference between obligation, responsibility, and duty? Often, people use these terms interchangeably. What’s difference between them, if any?

My Answer, In Brief: Obligations and responsibilities can be true and powerful — if based on person’s own choices. Duties are claims of obligation deriving solely from the say-so of some authority, and that’s why they are invalid.


Question 2: Stockpiling Medication (14:06)

Is it wrong to stockpile medication now in the event of an economic crash in the future? We are concerned that increasing economic troubles will raise the prices of some prescription and over-the-counter medications, and make them hard to find in the future. Is it okay to start a stockpile of some medications (most of which have a long shelf-life)? In the case of prescription medications, is it okay to exaggerate to our doctors or play “musical pharmacies” in order to obtain more medication?

My Answer, In Brief: Stockpiling medication in case of an emergency is a very good idea, but don’t undermine your relationship with your doctor by lying about your medical condition.


Question 3: Poking Fun at Friends’ Ideas Online (24:05)

Is poking fun at people’s ideas on social media rude, offensive, or otherwise wrong? For example, is it proper to make jokes about Jesus, Obama, or environmentalism on Facebook – knowing that some of your Facebook friends are Christians, Democrats, or environmentalists? Should those people be offended? Should a person limit himself to serious arguments?

My Answer, In Brief: Facebook and other online media are like a large cocktail party with everyone talking. Don’t rush around looking for arguments, but rather seek out positive values.

Question 4: Encouraging Friends to Be More Purposeful (39:21)

How can I encourage my friends to be more purposeful and passionate? I have been certain about my life’s purpose – in terms of what career and personal creative works I’d like to pursue – from a young age. I’ve had friends who are above-average in their academic and career work, and who explore various hobbies, but they do not pursue those activities with eager passion. They say that they “do not know what they want out of life” and have not “found their calling.” What is at the root of uncertainty about one’s purpose? Is there a moral breach involved? How can I motivate, encourage, and inspire my friends?

My Answer, In Brief: Be sure that your advice would be welcome to your friends — and that you don’t fall into the trap of assuming that everyone should be like you.


Rapid Fire Questions (48:08)

In this segment, I answered a variety of questions off-the-cuff. The questions were:

  • What do you think of Earth Day?
  • Is it moral to use a program that blocks website advertisements?
  • Please clarify your position on the morality of using the goods and services stolen from Canadian taxpayers.
  • Is it irrational to feel worse about a disaster if there are people of your own nationality among the victims (assuming they’re all strangers)?
  • Do you think that the government will attempt to crack down on free speech on the internet anytime soon – and if so, how?
Conclusion (1:02:06)

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