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)

Nudity, Regretting Work, Problem Neighbors, and More

Webcast Q&A: 25 September 2011

I answered questions on appropriate contexts for nudity, public nudity and rights, regretting time spent at work, addressing problems with neighbors, and more on 25 September 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: Like last week, I've been tending to Paul and programming the new web site for this webcast. Also, I created a Facebook page for Ayn Rand Fans for Gary Johnson.


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Segments: 25 September 2011


Question 1: Appropriate Contexts for Nudity

Question: What's the proper approach to nudity? Should we all be nude all the time? Should nudity be saved for your lover only? Should children see their parents naked? Should we have clothing-optional get-togethers with friends? Basically, what is your view of the proper contexts for nudity?

Answer, In Brief: A wide range of reasonable approaches to nudity with others are possible. However, be careful (1) not to sexualize non-sexual relationships, (2) to be polite to others, and (3) not to be motivated by bad ideology.

Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, Family, Family, Nudity, Parenting, Rights, Sex

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Question 2: Public Nudity and Rights

Question: Do restrictions on nudity and sex visible to others violate rights? While having a zestful online debate, someone claimed that Ayn Rand contradicts herself in claiming that public nudity should be censored. (See "Thought Control" in The Ayn Rand Letter.) Since sex is a beautiful act, why should people be protected from it? Could a ban on visible pornography or sex be a slippery slope to other intrusions by government?

Answer, In Brief: In a free society, nuisances would only pertain to their perceptual forms, not their conceptual content. Hence, sexual displays could not be banned for being sexual, even if offensive to some.

Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, Free Speech, Law, Nudity, Nuisances, Pornography, Rights, Sex

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Question 3: Regretting Time Spent at Work

Question: At death, should a person regret all the years spent at work? I often hear the saying, "No one ever laid on their death bed wishing they had spent more time in the office." What should a person think of that – and of the fact that so many people agree with it – in light of the virtue of productiveness?

Answer, In Brief: What should attitude toward work at end of life? It should be, "My work was meaningful. It made life interesting. It sustained me. It was worthy purpose." If that's not going to be your view, then make changes now!

Tags: Career, Death, Emotions, Productiveness, Work

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Question 4: Addressing Problems with Neighbors

Question: How do I ask my neighbor not to take liberties with my driveway? I work out of my office on the ground floor of our home overlooking the street with partial view of our driveway. Every day, several times a day, a neighbor uses our driveway as a turnaround instead of using the intersection one house down, or her own driveway. My big problem with this is that she is using our private property for public use. I also find this distracting when I'm working as every time she pulls into the driveway I think someone is visiting. I'm having a difficult time deciding how to approach this as I want to remain friendly with my neighbor, and don't want to come off as an unbearable jerk for just asking her not to use my property. How would you approach this situation?

Answer, In Brief: Talk to your neighbors in a clear, calm, and friendly way about the problem, and if that fails, implement for Plan B.

Tags: Communication, Conflict, Neighbors, Property, Relationships, Rights

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Rapid Fire Questions (54:10)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Would Roark have compromised his work if he had a family that could not be provided for by working in the quarry?
  • Should a person always want to live an extra 20, 50, or 100 years, assuming good health?
  • What do you think of the nudists' claim that semi-public nudity is an effective way to eliminate a negative body-image (as in the case of religious indoctrination)?

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Conclusion (1:01:10)

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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