On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll discuss "Argument from Miracles for the Existence of God, Part 2" live with listeners. The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Thursday, 4 June 2015. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.

Moral Standards for Public Figures

Webcast Q&A: 21 August 2011, Question 1

I answered a question on moral standards for public figures on 21 August 2011. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.

Should public figures be held to higher moral standards? Public figures – like actors, politicians, and athletes – are often lambasted in the media for committing commonplace wrongs like dishonesty and hypocrisy. Is that fair? If Michelle Obama is an outspoken opponent of childhood obesity and lists the things my children and I shouldn't eat, is she a hypocrite for publicly indulging in junk food? Should I not value Tiger Woods as a professional golfer with exceptional talent because he screwed around on his wife?

My Answer, In Brief: Heroes can and ought to be sought and recognized, but when such people reveal themselves to be less than heroic, that warrants moral judgment and may affect your enjoyment and admiration of the person.

Tags: Ethics, Fame, Judgment, Justice, Moral Wrongs, Politics, Privacy


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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. 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 radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.

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