New Questions in the Queue

 Posted by on 2 January 2013 at 8:00 am  Question Queue
Jan 022013

As you know, on Sunday morning’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I answer four questions chosen in advance from the Question Queue. Here are the most recent additions to that queue. Please vote for the ones that you’re most interested in hearing me answer! You can also review and vote on all pending questions sorted by date or sorted by popularity.

Also, I’m perfectly willing to be bribed to answer a question of particular interest to you pronto. So if you’re a regular contributor to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar, I can answer your desired question as soon as possible. (The question must already be in the queue, so if you’ve not done so already, submit it. Just e-mail me at to make arrangements.

Now, without further ado, the most recent questions added to The Queue:

If a married couple wouldn’t marry again, should they split?

Many married couples seem to stay together due to inertia, not because they truly value each other. My view is that if a couple wouldn’t marry again, they should get divorced. Is that too high a bar in marriage?

Can people with divergent political views enjoy a good romantic relationship?

Some of my liberal friends won’t date conservatives, and some of my conservative friends are horrified at the thought of dating a liberal. Is that reasonable? Since I’m in favor of free markets, should I only date other advocates of free markets? Can people with very different political views enjoy a good romantic relationship?

Should a person try to “win friends and influence people”?

In the classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie offers a wide range of advice on how to get what you want from other people. Some of this seems manipulative or second-handed, but is that right? Is the advice in the book of genuine value to a rational egoist seeking honest trade with others?

Is “The Golden Rule” a valid and useful principle of ethics?

In past podcasts, you’ve mentioned that you consider “The Golden Rule” – meaning, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – as flawed. What are some of the problems with this rule? Does it have any value?

Can marriage be self-interested?

How is marriage possible in a life of uncompromising self-interest? Most people describe marriage as requiring compromise, sacrifice, and concession. Is that right? How can a person approach marriage differently in order to live a fulfilling and self-interested married life?

Can the debates over gay marriage be solved by new terminology?

I’d like to propose that the acrimonious arguments over gay marriage be solved by the following compromise. In our laws, we could replace the term “marriage” with “uniage”, such that we would have three subcategories of uniage: marriage between one man and one woman, “andriage” between two men, and “fembriage” between two women. This way, people could know and understand exactly which combination of genders we are talking about in any covenant union, and the people who defend what’s been the traditional definition of marriage still get to keep it, while the government would begin to have equal laws based on two people being united in any of these covenants, not just in the opposite-sex combination. Is this worth a try?

Should politicians refrain from making religious appeals and claims?

The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom says that ” … all men shall be free to profess, and … to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, … their civil capacities.” Is that right? As a corollary, should politicians be free to express and act on their religious views, so long as others are free to do the same? I ask because many secularists seem to wish to banish religion from politics entirely, to the point of wanting to deny some religious people freedom of speech and the right to vote.

Is the beginning of “personhood” a subjective opinion?

In my view, the age at which we feel a human being should be granted the status of “personhood” is not a simple matter of religion, but of individual conscience. Scientifically, there are infinite graduated stages of development during and after pregnancy. Just as there is no exact age for determining the beginning of adulthood, I don’t think there can be an exact point for determining when personhood should begin. It is equally subjective whether someone is religious or not, and all views are basically equal on this. Do you agree? Also, given that subjectivity, would granting personhood to the unborn be acceptable if the law made a generous provision for “self-defense” for the mother based on even a fear of danger to herself or her own well-being?

Is an armed society a civil or uncivil society?

Author Robert Heinlein famously said that “An armed society is a polite society.” Many liberals, however, fear an armed society as barbaric and violent. Is widespread ownership and/or carry of arms a positive or a negative feature of a society?

To submit a question, use this form. I prefer questions focused on some concrete real-life problem, as opposed to merely theoretical or political questions. I review and edit all questions before they’re posted. (Alas, IdeaInformer doesn’t display any kind of confirmation page when you submit a question.)

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