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)

Introversion and Extroversion, Circumcision, Lobbying, and More

Webcast Q&A: 28 August 2011

I answered questions on the validity of introversion and extroversion, circumcision and religious freedom, lobbying as a career, working for a statist company, and more on 28 August 2011. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. 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: This week, I spoke at the Colorado Springs SkeptiCamp, and next week, I'll be speaking on Family, Rational and Otherwise at the Chicago Objectivist Society's Weekend Conference.


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Segments: 28 August 2011


Question 1: The Validity of Introversion and Extroversion

Question: Are "introversion" and "extroversion" valid as psychological types? Sometimes people classify themselves and others as "introverts" and "extroverts." What does that mean? Is the distinction valid and useful? Why or why not?

Answer, In Brief: Know thyself! A person should know his base personality traits, so that he can manage himself and his life better.

Tags: Ethics, Extroversion, Introversion, Personality, Psychology

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Question 2: Circumcision and Religious Freedom

Question: Should circumcision be banned? Residents of San Francisco were supposed to vote on a ballot measure that would have banned circumcision, except in cases of medical necessity. (It was struck from the ballot by a judge due to conflicts with state law.) Since circumcision is an millennia-old religious rite for Jews and regarded as essential to their covenant with God, would a ban on circumcision violate the principle of freedom of religion?

Answer, In Brief: Routine circumcision of baby boys is a violation of rights, and a religious motivation does not change that.

Tags: Circumcision, Ethics, Judaism, Parenting, Politics, Religion

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Question 3: Lobbying as a Career

Question: Can lobbying be a proper career choice? Lobbying involves asking for various kind of favors from the government. Is that a profession that someone who values free markets should avoid like the plague?

Answer, In Brief: A person can lobby for free markets and individual rights with integrity – and to do so is good!

Tags: Career, Ethics, Government, Integrity, Politics

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Question 4: Working for a Statist Company

Question: Is it immoral to work for a company that uses government to eliminate or hamper the competition? For example, if a company has brought antitrust lawsuits against its competitors, should you refuse to work for them?

Answer, In Brief: In most cases, ordinary employees are not responsible for the political activities of companies that they work for. Sanction and responsibility requires a closer connection to the actions in question.

Tags: Business, Career, Ethics, Government, Politics

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Rapid Fire Questions (51:28)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Do we need an Objectivist K-Street team?
  • Is it wrong to work for Halliburton or another company dependent on government?
  • Do you know how or if "right-brained/left-brained" tendencies fit in with personality theory?
  • When it comes to personality traits, doesn't the attitude of 'nature to be commanded must be obeyed' contradict the principle that 'man is a being of self-made soul'?
  • Should the government mandate vaccination of children?

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Conclusion (1:02:09)

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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