Jan 212013
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on solutions to widespread racism, recommended works of Aristotle, veto power over abortion, staying in a marriage, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 20 January 2013

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Podcast Segments: 20 January 2013

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

Introduction

My News of the Week: I’ve been having fun while my parents are visiting, plus working on the content and design of Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

Question 1: Solutions to Widespread Racism

Question: Should the government intervene when widespread racism makes life impossible for some people? Given that the effect of strictly respecting the rights of private property owners in the South was that blacks could not find accommodations, health care, transportation, food, and other basic necessities of life, shouldn’t the government have intervened? Didn’t civil rights legislation help eliminate racism – and wasn’t that a good thing – even if that meant violating the right to property of racists?

My Answer, In Brief: Severe and widespread racism can only survive when enforced by government. As such, the solution to such racism is the elimination of the government’s violations of rights based on race. That will radically change a culture in and of itself. To attempt to do more – particularly to ban racism in private transactions – violates the rights of innocent people and sets a terrible precedent.

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Links:

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

Question 2: Recommended Works of Aristotle

Question: What works of Aristotle do you recommend reading? As a layperson interested in philosophy, I’d like to educate myself on the philosophy of Aristotle. I’m particularly interested in developing a better understanding of epistemology and metaphysics. What works should I read, and where should I start? Do you recommend any secondary sources?

My Answer, In Brief: Aristotle is difficult but rewarding reading. Choose your readings based on your interests, and be very selective about any secondary sources.

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Links:

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

Question 3: Veto Power over Abortion

Question: Should a man be able to prevent his pregnant girlfriend from aborting his baby? Sometimes, a man will get his girlfriend pregnant accidentally, and they disagree about what should be done. If the man wants the woman to carry the pregnancy to term, whether to give up the baby for adoption or him take sole custody, while the woman wants to get an abortion, should he be able to prevent her? It’s his baby, shouldn’t he have some say?

My Answer, In Brief: The right to abortion is not based on any property right in the fetus. Rather, the right to abortion is based on a woman’s right to her own body, including the fact that the embryo or fetus is not a person. The man might object, but he has no moral or legal right to interfere.

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Links:

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

Question 4: Staying in a Marriage

Question: 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?

My Answer, In Brief: A married couple probably should divorce if they wouldn’t marry again, provided that the romance is truly dead.

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • Which house in Hogwarts would you be sorted into?
  • What do you think of Lance Armstrong’s confession to doping?
  • How do the “open system” advocates reconcile the fact that the Ayn Rand Institute and supporters of it are producing new philosophical content?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 1:02:12
  • Duration: 4:55
  • 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: 1:07:07


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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  • Anthony

    Cycling is far from the only occupation where to be an elite, you have to cheat.

  • James

    There’s an argument to be made that ALL professional athletes are cheating:

    http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/StupidSports.HTM

    The most relevant text is at the bottom, under “Lance Armstrong and Cheating”, though I recommend reading the whole thing.

   
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