Love, Bisexuality, Asking Someone Out, and More
Webcast Q&A: 20 March 2011
I answered questions on the nature of love, unrequited love, bisexuality and relationships with men and women, hypotheticals in ethics, recommending the upcoming Atlas Shrugged movie, asking a person out, and more on 20 March 2011. 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: 20 March 2011
Question: What is love? How would you distinguish between romantic love and the love of close friendship? What is the difference between infatuation and love? How can a rational person know when he or she is "in love"?
Answer, In Brief: For a person to be in love with another person does not just concern the strength of the emotional attachment, but also the nature of the relationship and depth of knowledge of the other person.
Question: How does one best deal with unrequited love? I am most interested in this from the perspective of someone who harbors feelings for a friend. In particular, how do you "move on"? When I have been in this situation, I have found it difficult to be interested in others I'm trying to date when so "hung up". Is it necessary to distance oneself from the object of one's affection, even if it means to some extent giving up a life-enhancing friendship? What if one would rather remain single than diminish the friendship? Can that be a rational choice? If so, for how long? Does the answer change if the initial rejection was not unequivocal, but based on some possibly temporary circumstances (like a current relationship)?
Answer, In Brief: While much depends on the particular circumstances, the crucial question is whether the friendship can be maintained as a friendship despite the love-interest or not – or whether feelings of angst or jealousy are simply so strong as to require a break.
Question: If one is bisexual and derives different values from relationships/sex with men than with women, is it proper to maintain concurrent relationships with both? Assume here, that if such an individual were to forsake having a relationship or sex with either gender, he/she would feel like something is missing and would long for the other.
Answer, In Brief: It's not possible, in my view, to maintain a deep and meaningful sexual relationship with more than one person. So the answer to this dilemma seems to lie in introspection and perhaps experimentation.
Question: Are hypothetical scenarios useful in ethics? In your 27 February 2011 webcast, you talked about a hypothetical in which saving a stranger costs $200 and two hours of time. How can you know such details, except by stipulation? Aren't such hypotheticals useless because they're not the like the circumstances that people actually face, which usually involve lots of unknowns?
Answer, In Brief: Hypotheticals are useful in ethics provided that they are metaphysically and epistemically realistic.
Question: Assuming the Atlas Shrugged movie turns out to be decent, would it be immoral to recommend it to others since the movie is backed by a trustee of The Atlas Society?
Answer, In Brief: While the movie's connection to The Atlas Society is regrettable (see why), that connection is tenuous enough that recommending the movie cannot be construed as an endorsement thereof. However, the critical thing is that people recommend reading the book, not just watch the movie!
Question: How should one approach a girl one is interested in? How does one go about asking her on a date?
Answer, In Brief: Be straightforward: ask to spend some time together based on the nature of your interest (which should be more than mere looks).
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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.