Career, Patriotism, AI, Chick-Fil-A, and More
Webcast Q&A: 12 February 2012
I answered questions on liking but not loving your career, patriotism as a virtue, artificial intelligence, boycotting Chick-Fil-A, and more on 12 February 2012. 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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My News of the Week: Yesterday, I spoke on the foundations of rights and then a panel at a Liberty on the Rocks / Koch Foundation Workshop. I'll be giving a "Think!" lecture at CU Boulder on March 6th on moral perfection in Ayn Rand and Aristotle. SnowCon plans are well underway. I'm going to be moving NoodleFood to Philosophy in Action. Now I'm off to visit my sister, her husband, and their baby for few days! Busy me!
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Segments: 12 February 2012
Question: What should I do if I have a good job but not burning professional ambition? I have a good job that pays well. I perform my job well to the best of my ability. But I don't feel about it the same way that Howard Roark felt about the field of architecture in The Fountainhead or that Dagny felt about the railroad business in Atlas Shrugged. I don't hate my job – I do enjoy the work and the people I work with. But it's not my burning passion. On a scale of 1-to-10, my paying job (and the overall field) is a 7, but I also have various non-paying outside hobbies and activities that are more of a 8 or 9 for me. Should I try to cultivate a strong passion for my paying job? Or look for a different line of work? Or ramp up my pursuit of various hobbies and outside activities that give me greater satisfaction on the side?
Answer, In Brief: A person's work should serve his life, and sometimes that means choosing the one career that you're wildly passionate about, and sometimes that means choosing a career that you enjoy, but that enables you to pursue other values.
Question: Is patriotism a virtue? Is patriotism towards America a virtue? Should a person "love America" – or is that just jingoistic nationalism?
Answer, In Brief: The value of loyalty depends on who you're loyal to, and the value of patriotism depends on the nature of the country that you support, particularly its respect for individual rights.
Question: Is artificial intelligence possible? Can consciousness be created on a purely logical system such as a computer? Might consciousness and even free will somehow "emerge" out of a purely logical system? Also, what do you think of the "Turing Test" as a test of intelligence?
Answer, In Brief: The question is a scientific one, and it cannot be answered yet.
Question: Should people boycott Chick-Fil-A for its hostility to gays? The fast food chain Chick-Fil-A is well-known for its promotion of Christian values. In recent years, the company has actively worked against gay marriage, in alliance with other organizations promoting the imposition of biblical commands by law. More generally, the company is hostile to same-sex couples. Given that Chick-Fil-A uses money from customers and shareholders to promote theocracy and other rights-violations, should people condemn and boycott the chain?
Answer, In Brief: If a company takes a stand on some cultural or political issue, then potential customers can and should judge them on that basis. In some cases, a boycott is the right choice.
Rapid Fire Questions (48:47)
- Are there any other Objectivist podcasts you would recommend?
- What should the US's policy toward Israel be?
- What do you think of Obamacare/contraception controversy?
- How much weight should be given to a candidate's words versus his past actions?
- What do you think of Bruce Springsteen, given that he's thrown his weight behind some liberal causes but he was also very idealistic for most of his career?
- Is it wrong to use abortion as "birth control"?
- What is the paleo diet? Is it roast beast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? What are the health benefits?
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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.