Ruth Chang on Hard Choices

 Posted by on 27 August 2014 at 10:00 am  Epistemology, Ethics, Values
Aug 272014
 

On Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I’ll answer a question about Ruth Chang’s TED Talk on Hard Choices. The question is:

How can a person make better hard choices? How to make hard choices was the subject of a recent TED talk from philosopher Ruth Chang. Her thesis is that hard choices are not about finding the better option between alternatives. Choices are hard when there is no better option. Hard choices require you to define the kind of person you want to be. You have to take a stand for your choice, and then you can find reasons for being the kind of person who makes that choice. Her views really speak to me. In your view, what makes a choice hard? How should a person make hard choices?

Yesterday, I listened to the TED Talk, and I really like it! I’ll summarize the talk on Sunday’s episode, but I’d still recommend taking a listen in advance:

For Ruth Chang’s academic work, check out her selected publications.

 

On Thursday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I’ll interview educator Kelly Elmore about “Why Growth Mindsets Matter.” This episode of internet radio airs at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Thursday, 28 August 2014, in our live studio. If you can’t listen live, you’ll find the podcast on the episode’s archive page.

Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success offers a new perspective on learning. People with a “fixed mindsets” believe that traits like intelligence or social skills are fixed and cannot be changed much. People with “growth mindsets” believe that humans have the potential to change the traits they possess and constantly learn and improve. As a part of the research for her dissertation, Kelly Elmore has explored the psychological research conducted by Dweck and other cognitive psychologists that led to Dweck’s development of the concept of “mindsets.” In this interview, she’ll explain what mindsets are and the research behind them, as well as discuss how to apply these ideas to improve our lives.

Kelly Elmore is working on her PhD in rhetoric and composition at Georgia State University, teaching freshman composition, helping her 10 year old daughter educate herself, and working with students from 8-18 on writing, Latin, grammar, and rhetoric at a local homeschool co-op. Kelly is in the planning stages of writing her dissertation, which will focus on Carol Dweck’s concept of mindset and its relevance to writing. She also cooks (homemade mayo, anyone?) and practices yoga and mindfulness. She doesn’t have spare time because she fills it all up with values, happiness, and breathing in and out.

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat.

The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Kelly Elmore on Why Growth Mindsets Matter. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in this topic!

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

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Americans Taste Exotic Asian Food

 Posted by on 25 August 2014 at 2:00 pm  Culture, Food, Funny
Aug 252014
 

This is hysterical — Americans Taste Exotic Asian Food:

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on changing personality traits, debating Christian versus Objectivist ethics, conning jerks and blowhards, 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.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

Podcast: Reclaiming Personality, Debating Ethics, Conning Jerks

Listen or Download:

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 my answers to individual questions from this episode below.

Introduction (0:00)

My News of the Week: This week, I raised just over $2,000 in pledges for Ari Armstrong’s and my new paper in defense of abortion rights. Also, I’ve finished up the final edits for the print version of Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Question 1: Changing Personality Traits (4:25)

In this segment, I answered a question on changing personality traits.

Can I reclaim lost personality traits? When I was a kid (probably until the age of about 12 or 13), my personality had a strong ‘I’ element (as in the DISC model I). I was fun, energetic and confident. I was willing to express myself openly (and loudly) and do silly things for the sake of laughs. When I went to high school, I was bullied heavily. I became much more quiet and withdrawn. The C element of my personality took over, and the I element all but disappeared. Now as an adult, I would like to be able to “reclaim” my lost personality. I am generally a shy and withdrawn person, and I long for the energy and enthusiasm that I once had. Is it possible to reclaim my lost personality? If so, how?

My Answer, In Brief: The limits of personality change are unclear – and likely vary between individuals. You can make efforts to cultivate your personality in a particular direction, however, and you might as well try!

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 2: Debating Christian Versus Objectivist Ethics (31:52)

In this segment, I answered a question on debating Christian versus Objectivist ethics.

Why is the Objectivist ethics superior to Christian ethics? I was recently invited to participate in a live student debate at a local church on the topic, “Who Was the Better Moral Philosopher: Ayn Rand or Jesus?”. The audience will be mostly Christian or neutral: there will only be a handful of people familiar with Objectivism present. What points would you make if you were to speak to an audience of interested laypeople on this topic? What subjects might be best to avoid? What aspects of Jesus’ ethics might be good to highlight as flaws? What resources – other than the primary sources – might you suggest on this topic?

My Answer, In Brief: Be an ambassador for rationality in this debate. Don’t try to disprove Christian ethics or disparage Christianity. Instead, aim to educate people about what the Objectivist ethics is and show its very practical virtues.

Listen or Download:

Links:

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

Question 3: Conning Jerks and Blowhards (1:04:04)

In this segment, I answered a question on conning jerks and blowhards.

Is it wrong to con jerks and blowhards? I know that dishonesty is wrong, but conning jerks and blowhards out of their money (as seen here) seems like justice at its best. So is it wrong?

My Answer, In Brief: Conning jerks and blowhards makes for delightful fiction, but it’s bad practice in real life. You risk blowback – or worse, corrupting your own character.

Listen or Download:

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

Conclusion (1:18:07)

Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!


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 Thursday 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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Activism Recap

 Posted by on 24 August 2014 at 4:00 pm  Activism Recap
Aug 242014
 

This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine):

Follow FIRM on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on Politics without God, the blog of the Coalition for Secular Government:

Follow the Coalition for Secular Government on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on The Blog of The Objective Standard:

Follow The Objective Standard on Facebook and Twitter.


This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo:

Follow Modern Paleo on Facebook and Twitter.

Excellence Takes Time

 Posted by on 23 August 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Personal, Sports
Aug 232014
 

I like this:

About 10 years ago, I sat down with Phillip Dutton and asked him what I could do to be more competitive. The first thing he told me was to “never underestimate how long it took me to get mentally strong enough to be this good.” He didn’t say I needed better horses, more lessons or more money. None of those things hurt, but they will not take the place of mental strength. I think other sports focus more on this than eventing, but we need to realize how integral it is to our success.

Personally, I feel like I’m gaining experience in all the varieties of mistakes that I can make every time I compete. I figure that so long as I’m making new mistakes, all is well. Also, once I start competing Phantom, I’m going to have to make a whole new slew of mistakes, just because she’s so different from Lila.

So when I get impatient with myself, as I often do, I need to remind myself, “never underestimate how long it took me to get experienced enough to be this good.”

The Racial Double Standard

 Posted by on 22 August 2014 at 11:00 am  Justice, Law, Police, Racism, Rights
Aug 222014
 

When I was an undergrad at Washington University in St. Louis, I worked as a server in a restaurant in Clayton. (Clayton is a very upscale business part of town.)

The head cook was a very good (black) man, albeit with a very checkered past. He’d served time for attempted murder: fellow drug dealers went after his pregnant wife, and he fully intended to kill them in retaliation. However, in prison, he’d gone straight. When I knew him, he was a great kitchen manager, he worked crazy-long hours, and he was a devoted father. He also worked hard to keep the younger (black) kitchen staff on the straight and narrow and out of trouble with the law. He was the kind of guy that I’d trust with my life, without hesitation.

One night, he told me that if he was driving home alone — or with another black person in the car — he’d get home without incident. However, if he was giving a ride to one of the (white, female) servers, he’d be sure to be pulled over by the cops and questioned.

Can you imagine living with that?

I’m used to going about my business without interference from the police — unless I’m speeding or whatnot. If I’m pulled over, I can expect to be on my way in a few minutes — perhaps with a ticket but without being questioned about my private business, let alone searched. That’s not the case for too many people, I think.

 

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on reclaiming lost personality traits, debating Christian versus Objectivist ethics, conning jerks and blowhards, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 24 August 2014, in our live studio. If you can’t listen live, you’ll find the podcast on the episode’s archive page.

This week’s questions are:

  • Question 1: Reclaiming Lost Personality Traits: Can I reclaim lost personality traits? When I was a kid (probably until the age of about 12 or 13), my personality had a strong ‘I’ element (as in the DISC model I). I was fun, energetic and confident. I was willing to express myself openly (and loudly) and do silly things for the sake of laughs. When I went to high school, I was bullied heavily. I became much more quiet and withdrawn. The C element of my personality took over, and the I element all but disappeared. Now as an adult, I would like to be able to “reclaim” my lost personality. I am generally a shy and withdrawn person, and I long for the energy and enthusiasm that I once had. Is it possible to reclaim my lost personality? If so, how?
  • Question 2: Debating Christian Versus Objectivist Ethics: Why is Ayn Rand’s ethics better than that of Jesus? I was recently invited to participate in a live student debate at a local church on the topic, “Who Was the Better Moral Philosopher: Ayn Rand or Jesus?”. The audience will be mostly Christian or neutral: there will only be a handful of people familiar with Objectivism present. What points would you make if you were to speak to an audience of interested laypeople on this topic? What subjects might be best to avoid? What aspects of Jesus’ ethics might be good to highlight as flaws? What resources – other than the primary sources – might you suggest on this topic?
  • Question 3: Conning Jerks and Blowhards: Is it wrong to con jerks and blowhards? I know that dishonesty is wrong, but conning jerks and blowhards out of their money (as seen here) seems like justice at its best. So is it wrong?

After that, we’ll tackle some impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat.

The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Reclaiming Personality, Debating Ethics, Conning Jerks. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics!

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

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For Wednesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a podcast on “Moral Conflicts and the Virtue of Justice.” That podcast is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below.

Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

As we live our lives, some people will harm us by their moral wrongs and honest errors, and we may commit such wrongs and errors ourselves. Objective moral judgment is an essential part of the rational response to such events. Yet circumstances often call for more than judgment: sometimes, forgiveness and redemption come into play. In this lecture given to ATLOSCon in 2012, I explored the nature, function, and limits of forgiveness and redemption in relation to the virtue of justice. Then we applied that understanding to common examples of wrongs and errors.

Listen or Download:

Topics:

  • The nature and importance of moral conflicts
  • Example moral conflicts
  • Fantasy-based responses to moral conflicts
  • Fact-based responses to moral conflicts
  • The virtue of justice
  • The context of the relationship
  • Evaluating the actions at the root of a conflict
  • Dealing with the aftermath of a conflict

Links:

Tags:


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 Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That’s because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

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Crazy!

 Posted by on 20 August 2014 at 2:00 pm  Crazy Emails, Funny
Aug 202014
 

I thought I’d do a roundup of crazy that I’ve seen in NoodleFood and Facebook comments, just for your amusement. Here’s a recent comment on this blog post… as if I agree with Kant?!? Or something, who knows. (I always appreciate these kinds of apologies too.)

Here’s another… and yeah, don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

And then we have these gems:

Oh, and I love how this dude goes from subjectivism to EMPHATIC DOGMATISM in a heartbeat:

Don’t ever change, crazy people of the internet!

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha