Feb 182013
 

On Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on the value of marriage, antibiotic resistance in a free society, concern for attractiveness to others, semi-automatic handguns, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

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Podcast: Marriage, Antibiotic Resistance, Guns, and More

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Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

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

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: I’ve been inundated with house repairs, plus working on some other small projects. If you plan to attend, please register for SnowCon sooner rather than later!

Question 1: The Value of Marriage (3:25)

In this segment, I answered a question on the value of marriage.

What is the value of marriage? How is it different from living with a romantic partner in a committed relationship? Is marriage only a legal matter? Or does it have some personal or social benefit?

My Answer, In Brief: The explicit, considered, and public commitment of a marriage offers major legal, business, social, and personal benefits over and above merely living together.

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

Question 2: Antibiotic Resistance in a Free Society (21:13)

In this segment, I answered a question on antibiotic resistance in a free society.

How would antibiotic resistance be handled in a free society? Bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics by exposure to low doses of antibiotics. Such low doses may come from misuse of antibiotics, for example when taken to combat a cold or flu (which are viral infection against which antibiotics do nothing) or by not completing the full course as prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are indeed awesome drugs which have saved millions of lives. But resistant bacteria pose a serious health problem, often causing serious and difficult-to-treat illness in third parties. What would be the proper way to address this problem in a free society?

My Answer, In Brief: In a free society, the development of antibiotics would not be hampered by the FDA, and private efforts could be made to minimize infections and promote proper use of antibiotics. The thorny legal question is whether the routine use of antibiotics in livestock, which contributes greatly to antibiotic resistance, constitutes a tort.

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

Question 3: Concern for Attractiveness to Others (38:21)

In this segment, I answered a question on concern for attractiveness to others.

Should you care whether other people find you attractive? I’ve heard some people say they don’t care what other people think of their physical appearance: they only care about their own judgment. To care, they say, is second-handed. Is that right? It is wrong to be pleased when someone compliments you on your clothes or hair?

My Answer, In Brief: A person can and should be concerned about his appearance and attractiveness to others, but only in a way that respects his own first-hand judgment of the facts.

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Question 4: Semi-Automatic Handguns (51:24)

In this segment, I answered a question on semi-automatic handguns.

Are semi-automatic handguns more dangerous than revolvers? In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, many of my friends claimed that semi-automatic firearms should be banned. They think that people should only be permitted to own revolvers. What are the differences between these two kinds of handguns? Do those differences matter to public policy debates about gun rights and gun control?

My Answer, In Brief: In their basic functionality, semi-automatic handguns identical to revolvers. To demonize semi-automatics can only be based on ignorance.

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Tags: Firearms, Politics, Rights, Self-Defense

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:04:06)

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

  • Is a new school of philosophy required to classify Objectivism? Without such a classification won’t people continue to confuse Objectivism itself with a whole new open ended school?
  • Given that women will now be in combat, should the draft be extended to women?

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

Conclusion (1:07:15)

Be sure to check out my blog NoodleFood and to submit and vote on questions for upcoming episodes.

About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher!

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