Jan 282013
 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on the nature of addiction, unions for government employees, materialism in marriage, mandatory child support, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 27 January 2013

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Podcast Segments: 27 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 enjoying the National Western Stock Show with my parents and Paul, then getting back to work.

Question 1: The Nature of Addiction

Question: Is addiction a genuine phenomena? Can a person become dependent on alcohol or drugs to the point that he cannot prevent himself from consuming it, except perhaps by a supreme effort of will? Is such addiction physiological – or just a matter of bad habits of thought and action? Similarly, can a person be addicted to certain foods (such as sugar or wheat) or certain activities (like gambling or pornography)? If so, what does that mean? If a person is addicted to something, is the cure to abstain from it forever?

My Answer, In Brief: Drug and alcohol abuse and dependence are very serious problems, yet the standard disease model whereby a person cannot control his use of drugs or alcohol is wrong.

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

Question 2: Unions for Government Employees

Question: Should government employees be permitted to unionize? In your 16 December 2012 discussion of “right to work” laws, you said that business owners should have the right to refuse to hire union members (or to fire them). How would that work for government employees? In a free society, could legislators (or departments) forbid government workers from being union members? Could they require union membership?

My Answer, In Brief: The role of unions for government employees can and ought to be set by the voters and/or legislators, but a smart policy would permit such unions to exist, but forbid any collective bargaining or any form of closed shop.

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

Question 3: Materialism in Marriage

Question: Are materialistic couples less likely to have a lasting relationship? A recent study by Brigham Young University claims to show that concern for money causes stress in a relationship and that people who love money tend to be more impersonal and less passionate towards their loved ones. Is that right? Does it reveal some defect with a morality of worldly values?

My Answer, In Brief: The study in question was flawed – as is the standard distinction between “materialism” and “non-materialism.” People should recognize the importance of both material and spiritual values in their pursuit of the best that this world (i.e. the only world) has to offer.

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

Question 4: Mandatory Child Support

Question: Isn’t mandated child support basically just welfare for needy children? What is the moral difference between compelling parents to support their children and compelling all people to support the needy in society? Many critics of the welfare state believe that parents should be compelled to support their children with basic levels of physical sustenance and education, such that failing to provide these constitutes violating children’s rights. But how is that different from compelling people to support other needy or vulnerable people? Is the blood relationship what creates the obligation to support the child – and if so, how?

My Answer, In Brief: The obligations of parents to care for their children are not based on need or blood, but rather the voluntary assumption of that responsibility.

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

Rapid Fire Questions

Questions:

  • You said that Ayn Rand got a few things wrong on Aristotle. Which things?
  • Why do many people talk about nihilism as if it’s a type of depression?
  • Are there any works you’d recommend that in your opinion proof the legitimacy of transsexuality?
  • Do you consider yourself primarily a philosopher?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 1:00:07
  • Duration: 6:44
  • 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: 1:06:51


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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