Forgiveness, Life's Meaning, Online IP, and More
Webcast Q&A: 6 May 2012
I answered questions on forgiving yourself, unforgivable acts, the meaning of life, respecting intellectual property online, and more on 6 May 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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Segments: 6 May 2012
Question: Should we forgive ourselves? How can a person free himself from guilt over past errors and wrongs, particularly irrationality? Should such a person forgive himself – and if so, what does that entail?
Answer, In Brief: The idea of "forgiving yourself" is somewhat metaphorical, but it's useful for applying objective moral standards to yourself when recovering from a wrongdoing.
Question: Can an ordinary person do something unforgivable? Could a friend act in a way that would make rational forgiveness impossible? Might a person do something so hurtful or unfair that you couldn't ever trust them again? In such cases, how should the person wronged acted towards the unforgivable person?
Answer, In Brief: People can do truly unforgivable things, particularly when they betray the fundamental basis of the relationship.
Question: Does life have a purpose or meaning? Religious people say that God gives their lives meaning, purpose, and direction. Other people find meaning in doing good for others or society as a whole. As an atheist and egoist, what do you think the purpose of life is? Does it have any inherent meaning – or should a person arbitrarily decide its meaning? And shouldn't a person think that something is more important than himself and his own petty concerns?
Answer, In Brief: A person who fully values himself will reject the idea of an externally-imposed purpose, but instead identify and pursue his own central purpose by reason.
Question: Is downloading music from YouTube a violation of intellectual property rights? Given that content creators can remove YouTube videos that violate their intellectual property rights, is it wrong to assume that they consent to the posting if they've not asked to remove it? It is wrong to watch or share clips that seem to be uploaded without permission? It is wrong to download music from YouTube for my own personal use, whether uploaded by the creator or someone else?
Answer, In Brief: It's often difficult to judge whether online intellectual property is legitimate or not. Use common sense to judge whether likely legitimate or not, and don't attempt to sneak out of paying.
Rapid Fire Questions (57:56)
- Could you give an example of a central purpose?
- Is it morally okay to associate with a religious charity if you believe in its secular mission?
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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.