Friends and Fans — I have retired from my work as a public intellectual, so Philosophy in Action is on indefinite hiatus. Please check out the voluminous archive of free podcasts, as well as the premium audio content still available for sale. My two books — Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame and Explore Atlas Shrugged — are available for purchase too. Best wishes! — Diana Brickell (Hsieh)

Kindness, Career, Complainers, Adult Children, and More

Webcast Q&A: 31 October 2010

I answered questions on kindness to others, career versus family, terminal cancer and disability, chronic complainers, irresponsible adult children, maintaining civility online, and more on 31 October 2010. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.

The mission of Philosophy in Action is to spread rational principles for real life... far and wide. That's why the vast majority of my work is available to anyone, free of charge. I love doing the radio show, but each episode requires an investment of time, effort, and money to produce. So if you enjoy and value that work of mine, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, contributors can request that I answer questions from the queue pronto, and regular contributors enjoy free access to premium content and other goodies.

My News of the Week: Right now, these webcasts are very experimental, and this episode was my first in this format. Hence, it has lots of rough edges. Please lower your expectations accordingly!


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Segments: 31 October 2010


Question 1: Kindness to Others

Question: Is there a principle of Objectivism which justifies and requires kindness to other people (not necessarily going out of one's way, but treating others 'like human beings' and a basic level of respect), or is it just an issue of reciprocity?

Tags: Benevolence, Egoism, Ethics, Self-Interest

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Question 2: Career Versus Family

Question: I am a 20-something girl with ambitious career goals and a strong desire to have a family. How did you decide to pursue a career rather than having children? Do you have any advice about how to go about making the decision?

Tags: Career, Children, Family, Parenting, Work

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Question 3: Terminal Cancer and Disability

Question: I have a terminal illness (cancer) that's getting in the way of my daily life, which includes a full-time job and college. Is it moral to stop working and go on disability?

Tags: Ethics, Government, Health, Welfare, Work

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Question 4: Chronic Complainers

Question: What are your thoughts on people who complain about their problems but never pursue to solve them, or, worse, actively evade and ignore solutions that confront them? E.g. a student who complains about his budget but continues to spend irrationally.

Tags: Communication, Ethics, Judgment, Justice, Moral Wrongs

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Question 5: Irresponsible Adult Children

Question: How would you treat an adult child who wishes to move back home after a history of poor self-control and irresponsible choices?

Tags: Adult Children, Ethics, Family, Family, Judgment, Justice, Parenting, Rationality, Responsibility, Self-Control

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Question 6: Maintaining Civility Online

Question: Could you give or recommend a set of guidelines for blog/online discussion etiquette? How can someone maximize their benefit from online discussions and relationships?

Tags: Conflict, Ethics, Etiquette, Internet, Relationships, Social Media

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Conclusion (51:58)

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio! If you enjoyed this episode, please contribute to contribute to our tip jar.


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The vast majority of Philosophy in Action Radio – the live show and the podcast – is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because my mission is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as I do every week to thousands of listeners. I love producing the show, but each episode requires requires the investment of time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value my work, please contribute to the tip jar. I suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. In return, regular contributors enjoy free access to my premium content.

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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.

From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.

You can listen to these 362 podcasts by subscribing to the Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the podcast archive, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.

My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.

You can also read my blog NoodleFood and subscribe to its Blog RSS Feed.

I can be reached via e-mail to diana@philosophyinaction.com.

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