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)

Disclosures, Spouses, Advertising, and More

Radio Q&A: 27 May 2012

I answered questions on disclosing atheism to babysitters, outing yourself to bigots, spousal sabotage, skipping advertisements, and more on 27 May 2012. William E. Perry 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.

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Segments: 27 May 2012


Question 1: Disclosing Atheism to Babysitters

Question: Should I mention we are atheists when interviewing babysitters? I am looking for a babysitter. The question is: How do I handle the fact that many of the candidates will be very very strong Christians? Should I bring up the fact we are atheists right away or would that be creating an issue when there could be none? I definitely have to set some boundaries like "No praying with my children," but what is the appropriate way to handle it?

Answer, In Brief: If you don't want a conflict between your babysitter and your children over religion and other sensitive matters, you should talk to him or her in advance about it in a friendly, easygoing way.

Tags: Business, Children, Communication, Ethics, Honesty, Integrity, Parenting, Religion

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Question 2: Outing Yourself to Bigots

Question: Am I obliged to disclose that I am gay if I know that the person then wouldn't wish to do business with me? Let's say that I have a job that I enjoy, but I find out that my boss does not like gay people and would refuse to hire or would fire anyone that she knew was gay. Somehow, she doesn't know that I am, in fact, gay. Should I tell her knowing that she would want to fire me – a decision that I think is wrong, but nonetheless something she should be free to do? Assume that in every other regard I enjoy my work and job, and sharing her discriminatory view is by no means a requirement for my work.

Answer, In Brief: You're not under any obligation to out yourself to bigots, including at work. However, closets are uncomfortable places to live, and you should do what's needed to solve this problem as soon as possible.

Tags: Business, Communication, Ethics, Honesty, Integrity, LGBT, Privacy, Rationality, Religion, Work

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Question 3: Spousal Sabotage

Question: How can I stop my spouse from sabotaging my self-improvement? Over the course of my 15 years of marriage, I'd gained over 100 pounds. After feeling disgusted with myself for too long, I decided to change my habits. So I switched to a paleo-type diet and started lifting weights. So far, I've lost 40 pounds, as well as shed some health problems. My husband still eats what he pleases, and I don't pester him about that, although he needs to eat better too. However, he's constantly attempting to undermine my efforts – for example, by bringing home and encouraging me to eat doughnuts. I want him to celebrate and support my new-found success, but he seems to want me to be fat, unhealthy, and miserable. What should I do?

Answer, In Brief: Your husband sounds like he has some serious psychological problems that need to be addressed, whether by you two together or perhaps with a psychologist. Ultimately, you need to act for your own good, even if that requires divorce.

Tags: Communication, Diet, Ethics, Food, Habits, Health, Marriage, Nutrition, Paleo, Psychology

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Question 4: Skipping Advertisements

Question: Is it wrong to skip over advertisements? Many people use plug-ins that block advertisements on web sites, and many more people skip advertisements on television by recording shows with a DVR. Is this moral? Is it a failure to act as a trader?

Answer, In Brief: You're not under any obligation to consume advertising, even if that's the means of supporting some free offering to you.

Tags: Business, Ethics, Internet, Justice

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Rapid Fire Questions (47:22)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by William E. Perry impromptu. The questions were:
  • What do you say to a speaker at a conference if he asks you what you thought of his presentation and you really didn't like it?
  • Should you attend a conference if you have major philosophical problems with a speaker or several speakers?
  • Cloth diapers or throw-away diapers – does it matter?
  • Should a person rely on local health inspection signs, such as the A, B, C system that some cities use?
  • Why do you think that so many Christians of every generation believe that the Rapture will happen in their lifetimes?

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Conclusion (1:01:27)

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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