Productivity, Animal Abuse, Apathy, and More
Webcast Q&A: 28 November 2010
I answered questions on productivity versus productiveness, abuse of animals, the redemption of Michael Vick, Facebook friending policy, fighting apathy, cultural equality, and more on 28 November 2010. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
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Segments: 28 November 2010
Question: What is the difference (if any) between 'productiveness' and 'productivity'? People often seem to use the terms interchangeably, but are they the same?
Answer, In Brief: Productivity concerns a person's achievement of his goals effectively and efficiently, whereas productiveness is the virtue of creating the material values required to sustain one's life. Morality requires productiveness, but not maximal productivity.
Question: Are people who abuse their pets immoral? Or: Should we think ill of someone for neglecting or abusing their pets? If so, why?
Answer, In Brief: A person's treatment of his pets reveals his character, for better or worse.
Question: How should we judge NFL quarterback Michael Vick? As an animal lover, I was appalled when the NFL allowed Michael Vick to play pro football again after his dog-fighting episodes. But now that he's doing well, part of me wants to cheer for him, telling myself that he's a "reformed man who deserves a second chance". Is that rational of me? How do we know if someone has truly turned over a new leaf morally after prior bad acts?
Answer, In Brief: Michael Vick seems to have made true steps in the direction of moral reform, and his amazing performance this season seems to be a product of that.
Question: What's a reasonable friending policy for Facebook? I've been getting more Facebook friend requests from people I don't know lately. Should I accept or refuse them?
Answer, In Brief: Adopt a Facebook friending policy that fits with your purpose in using social media.
Question: How do I fight apathy? How should one go about controlling their emotional response to things better? I have found that a lot of things in life have made me far more apathetic towards life; how should I go about turning this around?
Answer, In Brief: Overcoming any unwanted emotion requires introspection, thought, and action – over and over again.
Question: Are all cultures equal? How can you prohibit or restrict anyone's cultural norms or say they're better or worse than our culture? Is there an objective barometer by which this can be achieved?
Answer, In Brief: The proper standard for all moral judgments – whether of individuals or cultures – is human life and happiness.
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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.
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.
I can be reached via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.