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Irrational People, ObamaCare, Criticism, and More

Radio Q&A: 3 June 2012

I answered questions on responding to irrational discussion tactics, what to do if ObamaCare is upheld, taking criticism well, United States as a Christian nation, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on 3 June 2012. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download the podcast below.

Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.

My News of the Week: I've been relaxing after the hectic fun of ATLOSCon 2012, and I went on a big friendly de-friending spree on Facebook.

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Segments: 3 June 2012


Question 1: Responding to Irrational Discussion Tactics (4:19)

Question: How should a person respond to another's irrational discussion tactics? What should one do when engaged in an intellectual conversation with someone where you're trying to advance your ideas, but the other person has irrational, or even outright dishonest conversation techniques? Such techniques include frequent interruption, talking over you, giving arbitrary time limits for answers before arbitrarily ending the conversation or moving on, and so forth. All of these tactics make it difficult to fully explicate your position or even get full sentences out. In a one-on-one, unobserved conversation, I know it's obvious that one should simply not deal with this person, for they're obviously not listening if they utilize these habits so regularly and frequently. So my main concern is in those cases when you happen to be talking to an irrational conversationalist where other people are observing, such as in a classroom or meeting where you might want to continue the conversation in hopes of reaching the audience instead. In such cases, what should one do?

Answer, In Brief: Don't assume that the other person is being irrational or dishonest, as the problem could be more benign, such as a clash of styles. Try to solve the problem together, and if that's not possible, then state your objection and extract yourself from the conversation.

Tags: Communication, Ethics, Honesty, Personality, Psychology, Rationality

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Question 2: What To Do If ObamaCare Is Upheld (18:59)

Question: What should we do if the Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare? The Supreme Court of the United States will be determining the constitutionality of ObamaCare in a matter of weeks. While it is likely that at least part of it will be struck down, the court might uphold some or all of it. If that happens, what should liberty-loving Americans do? Would we have any recourse? Would it be time to break out the pitchforks and torches?

Answer, In Brief: 2012 will be our last chance to stop ObamaCare. If it's upheld by the Supreme Court, you might want to consider voting for Romney, then loudly demanding its repeal. Even if it's not repealed, you can and should take steps to protect yourself personally.

Tags: Elections, Health, Medicine, Politics

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Question 3: Taking Criticism Well (33:20)

Question: How can a person learn to take criticism well? Some people don't take kindly to criticism, even if offered in a benevolent and constructive way. Why are some people intolerant of criticism? Why is that a problem? How can such people learn to take criticism better? How can others deal with someone overly sensitive to criticism without compromise or dishonesty?

Answer, In Brief: Taking criticism well requires seeing criticism as an opportunity to correct problems, rather than as an attack on yourself as a person. If a person is highly sensitive to criticism, you can attempt to soften the blow, so long as they're willing to face facts.

Tags: Communication, Justice, Rationality, Self-Improvement

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Question 4: United States as a Christian Nation (49:53)

Question: Is the United States a Christian nation? People often claim that the United States is "a Christian nation." What do people mean by that? Why does it matter? Is it true or not?

Answer, In Brief: The US is not a Christian nation in any meaningful way. The nation was not founded on Christian principles, and religion is not compatible with free markets or individual rights.

Tags: Capitalism, Christianity, Law, Politics, Religion, United States

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:04:10)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • How is gathering information about another without their consent (i.e. privacy invasion), absent any trespass or breach of contract, an initiation of physical force?

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Conclusion (1:08:11)

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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. 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 radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and most Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or chat about a topic of interest.

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