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)

Wrongdoers, Firings, Sacrifice, IP, and More

Radio Q&A: 20 May 2012

I answered questions on warning others about dangerous people, responding to an unjust firing, investment versus sacrifice, downloading music after hard drive failure, and more on 20 May 2012. 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: I'll be travelling, then broadcasting from ATLOSCon 2012 next week! Due to those travels, I won't be broadcasting a radio show on Wednesday evening.


Listen or Download


You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed:

Share This Episode


Segments: 20 May 2012


Question 1: Warning Others about Dangerous People

Question: Should you warn others about vicious people in your community? If you know a person to be dishonest, but that person is well-regarded in your community, should you tell others in that community what you know? Does it matter if the person is in a position of authority (perhaps over an organization's finances), such that he could do a whole lot of damage? What kinds of immorality would be serious enough to warrant warning others?

Answer, In Brief: If you know of a wolf in sheep's clothing threatening your values and your community, don't remain silent. You need to speak and act – but do that carefully.

Tags: Communication, Community, Cowardice, Ethics, Justice, Leadership

Listen or Download

Comments


Question 2: Responding to an Unjust Firing

Question: Should an employer have to explain and justify his firing of an employee? Should an employer be able to fire an employee for some alleged misconduct, even though the employer never bothered to verify the misconduct, nor asked the employee for his side of the story? For example, suppose that when the employee shows up for work he is simply told that he's been fired because someone made a complaint about him. The employee could easily prove the complaint to be false but the employer isn't concerned with proof or lack thereof. The employee's reputation in the eyes of possible future employers is damaged, even if the employer never discusses the firing with anyone else. In such a case, should the employee be able to sue for having been fired without proper cause?

Answer, In Brief: In a free society, absent a contract, employers are entitled to fire employees at will, including for unjust reasons or in unjust ways. An employee wrongfully fired should move on with his life, stating the facts about what happened as necessary to protect his reputation.

Tags: Business, Career, Defamation, Free Society, Justice, Law, Proof, Reputation, Responsibility, Rights, Torts, Work

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Question 3: Investment Versus Sacrifice

Question: What is the difference between "investment" and "sacrifice"? In your February 26, 2012 webcast, you indicated that you regard sacrifices as something very different from investments. But doesn't sacrifice just mean giving up something? In that case, don't investments in the future require sacrifice now? Or: What's the difference between sacrificing some ease and comfort for your goal versus investing time and work to achieve a goal?

Answer, In Brief: The term "sacrifice" is a confused mess that conflates loss for its own sake with loss for the sake of greater gain. A person ought to pursue his own life and happiness, which means pursuing investments, not sacrifices.

Tags: Egoism, Ethics, Moral Psychology, Motivation, Sacrifice, Self-Interest, Self-Sacrifice

Listen or Download

Comments


Question 4: Downloading Music After Hard Drive Failure

Question: Does respecting intellectual property require me to re-purchase my music collection lost due to hard drive failure? Over the years I have purchased quite a bit of digital music and have built quite a large library. Recently, due to a computer crash and lack of backup, a large segment of that library was erased. Since I paid for all of the music that was lost, I would like to restore it, whether by copying from my friends or by downloading illegal copies from the internet. But I am not entirely sure what I have the right to do based on my original purchases. What do you think?

Answer, In Brief: It's perfectly moral to obtain new copies of intellectual property that you've lost, but be careful about your choice of means: obtain the lost files from friends, not piracy-peddling web sites.

Tags: Ethics, Intellectual Property, Law, Rights, Technology

Listen or Download

Comments


Rapid Fire Questions (1:01:07)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • What's the proper meaning of the word "greedy"?

Listen or Download

Comments


Conclusion (1:05:58)

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.


Support Philosophy in Action

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.

Name:
Email:
 

Once you submit this form, you'll be automatically redirected to a page for payment. If you have any questions or further comments, please email me at diana@philosophyinaction.com.

Thank you for contributing to Philosophy in Action! You make our work possible every week, and we're so grateful for that!

If you enjoy Philosophy in Action, please help us spread the word about it! Tell your friends about upcoming broadcasts by forwarding our newsletter. Link to episodes or segments from our topics archive. Share our blog posts, podcasts, and events on Facebook and Twitter. Rate and review the podcast in iTunes (M4A and MP3). We appreciate any and all of that!


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.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar