Dec 112012
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on nihilism, radical honesty, poor effort in a terrible job, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 9 December 2012

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Podcast Segments: 9 December 2012

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been dealing with the multiple leaks, mold, and rotting wood Chez Hsieh. I’ve also made some progress on preparing my book Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame (a.k.a. my dissertation) for publication. On Wednesday, I had great interview with Dr. Doug McGuff on Strength Training Using Body by Science!

Question 1: Nihilism

Question: What is philosophic nihilism? Some people seem to be quick to apply the label “nihilistic” to a broad range of phenomena, particularly art and ideas. So how should the term be used? Can a philosophy be very harmful and destructive without it being nihilistic?

My Answer, In Brief: Nihilism explicitly embraces misery, futility, and meaninglessness as essential to the human condition. Unlike most destructive ideologies, nihilism doesn’t present any positive vision or hope for better, and that makes it much more explicitly evil.

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

Question 2: Radical Honesty

Question: Should people be ‘radically honest’? Psychotherapist Brad Blanton claims that people should be “radically honest” – meaning that they should say what they think all the time. Is that a life-serving policy – or simply an excuse for rudeness? For example, if my friend is telling me a story that I don’t care to hear, should I tell her of my disinterest? Would that foster a more authentic and valuable relationship? Should I try to gently signal my disinterest? Or should I try to cultivate some interest in her story? In other words, is tact a value – or a destructive form of pretense?

My Answer, In Brief: “Radical Honesty” is not a way to practice the virtue of honesty. It’s a destructive rule requiring a person to share every stray thought or feeling – meaning that a person must be a rude, creepy bore without any privacy.

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

Question 3: Poor Effort in a Terrible Job

Question: Is it wrong for a person to do less than his best at work? At work, I used to go above and beyond my basic obligations routinely. However, I was never recognized or rewarded for my superior performance. Instead, I was paid the same as those who barely functioned in their jobs. To this day, my employer uses only collective or team recognition; he does not appreciate individuals. Also, those who do poorly or make serious mistakes are not being disciplined, while those of us who work hard are given more duties. My response has been to lower my own work output. While I meet the minimum standards of my employment and still do far more than my equally paid coworkers, I am not performing nearly close to the level I could. Is that wrong of me? Should I do my best at work, even though my employer doesn’t seem to value that? Should I continue to suggest ideas for improvement – and perhaps work on them on the side, in secret, if ignored?

My Answer, In Brief: If your employer does not value your best, then you are not obliged to give it to him. Instead, do the work that you’re paid to do, and seek employment elsewhere.

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • How to you stop exchanging presents with people who you don’t really like to give to?
  • What do you do when a friend seems to be developing signs of mental illness?
  • What is the relationship between determinism and intrinsicism, particularly religion?
  • Why does America have a government-run postal service?
  • Would someone with super sensitive but unaided hearing have greater leniency in privacy violations?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 51:50
  • Duration: 12:18
  • 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: 1:04:09


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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