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)

Pride, Living Together, Child Support, Looters, and More

Webcast Q&A: 19 June 2011

I answered questions on the virtue of pride, living together outside marriage, child support from unwilling fathers, profiting from the ignorance of others, deflating bragging looters, political bipartisanship, and more on 19 June 2011. 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: I've been working on plans for this webcast, as well as my updates to Explore Atlas Shrugged. Also, I finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.


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Segments: 19 June 2011


Question 1: The Virtue of Pride

Question: What is the virtue of pride? To me, pride just seems like a feeling – a sense of satisfaction with oneself. So it seems bizarre to speak of pride as a virtue, as if it's something that you do. So what does it mean to say that pride is a virtue – and how is that different from self-esteem?

Answer, In Brief: The virtue of pride is related to idea of "taking pride in one's work" – meaning consistently living up to the standard of excellence. In addition to cultivating moral character, pride is the basis for the indispensable value of self-esteem.

Tags: Character, Emotions, Ethics, Pride, Self-Esteem

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Question 2: Living Together Outside Marriage

Question: What do you think of a couple living together outside marriage? Do you think that a romantic couple living together without being married is moral and/or wise? Does the stage of the relationship matter, including whether they plan to marry or not? Does living together before marriage result in a happier or more enduring marriage?

Answer, In Brief: While living together outside marriage can promote a romantic relationship, if done mostly for convenience or without a clear purpose, it can be damaging. In particular, it can prolong an unworthy relationship or delay marriage.

Tags: Dating, Ethics, Marriage, Romance, Sex

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Question 3: Child Support from Unwilling Fathers

Question: Should a man unwilling to be a father have to pay child support? Suppose that a man and a woman have sex, and the woman becomes pregnant – even though the couple used contraception based on a shared and expressed desire not to have children. If the woman decides to raise the baby, should she be able to collect child support from the man? What if they'd never discussed the possibility of pregnancy? What if they didn't use any form of birth control?

Answer, In Brief: Men should become fathers by choice, just as women should become mothers by choice.

Tags: Abortion, Children, Child Support, Fatherhood, Finances, Law, Parenting, Pregnancy, Rights

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Question 4: Profiting from the Ignorance of Others

Question: Is it moral to take advantage of another person's ignorance? Suppose that I drop by a yard sale to see whatever is up for grabs. While rummaging through the junk for which the owners no longer see a reason to keep, I catch sight of an item which I know to be extremely rare and valuable. Would it be moral for me to pay the low asking price, then resell the item at auction for a much higher price, knowing that the owners are clueless about its value?

Answer, In Brief: It's perfectly moral to profit in huge ways from voluntary and honest transactions: the seller is responsible for ensuring that his prices reflect market value.

Tags: Arbitrage, Business, Capitalism, Ethics, Honesty

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Question 5: Deflating Bragging Looters

Question: What is the best way to handle "proud" looters? What is the safest and most effective way to deal with the people who ignorantly brag about the fact that they are free-loaders on others, including using government programs and "public" funds?

Answer, In Brief: Instead of expressing anger at scammers, I recommend cold and pointed disapproval.

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

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Question 6: Political Bipartisanship

Question: What do you think of political bipartisanship? Is it a good think or just an idealogical vacuum?

Answer, In Brief: Given that neither Democrats nor Republicans respect rights, political bipartisanship will likely only spawn some horrible plan to strip us of our rights. For our short-term survival, we need gridlock.

Tags: Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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Conclusion (44:31)

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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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