Jan 212013

I broadcast a new episode of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday, 20 January 2013, answering questions on solutions to widespread racism, recommended works of Aristotle, veto power over abortion, staying in a marriage, and more. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to or download the audio podcast (or segments thereof) any time. You’ll find the podcast on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: 20 January 2013: Racism, Aristotle, Abortion, Marriage, and More

My News of the Week: I’ve been having fun while my parents are visiting, plus working on the content and design of my soon-to-be-published dissertation.

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

Question 1: Solutions to Widespread Racism (2:10)

In this segment, I answered a question on solutions to widespread racism.

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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Tags: Activism, Capitalism, Culture, Discrimination, Economics, Ethics, Free Society, History, Law, Race, Racism

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

Question 2: Recommended Works of Aristotle (30:21)

In this segment, I answered a question on recommended works of Aristotle.

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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Tags: Aristotle, Philosophy

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

Question 3: Veto Power over Abortion (46:56)

In this segment, I answered a question on veto power over abortion.

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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Tags: Abortion, Children, Ethics, Fatherhood, Pregnancy, Rights

Relevant Links:

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

Question 4: Staying in a Marriage (56:07)

In this segment, I answered a question on staying in a marriage.

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.

Listen or Download:

Tags: Children, Communication, Marriage, Romance

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

Rapid Fire Questions (1:02:12)

In this segment, I answered questions impromptu. The questions were:

  • 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:

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.

Conclusion (1:07:07)

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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:


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

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