On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on "the friend zone", making hard choices, judges exercising discretion, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 31 August 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.

Spanking, Parenting, Cheating, and More

Radio Q&A: 24 June 2012

I answered questions on corporal punishment of kids, parenting as a central purpose, compartmentalized cheating, something greater than yourself, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on 24 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'm on vacation, and alas, that affects the audio quality for the worse.

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Segments: 24 June 2012


Question 1: Corporal Punishment of Kids (2:39)

Question: Is corporal punishment of children ever proper? The 2011 video of Judge William Adams beating his daughter raises the question of whether it's ever necessary or proper to physically discipline children. Does the age of the child matter, particularly given that you can't reason with younger children? Does the amount of force used matter? When does physical punishment violate the child's rights?

Answer, In Brief: To force obedience on your weak and dependent children by violence is immoral and impractical.

Tags: Adult Children, Children, Corporal Punishment, Ethics, Honesty, Independence, Parenting, Punishment, Rights, Violence

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Question 2: Parenting as a Central Purpose (27:47)

Question: Can parenting be a central purpose in life? Many people think that only a career can serve as a person's central purpose. They think that a central purpose must be remunerative, and that it can't be merely temporary. Is that right? Can parenting be a person's central purpose, even if only for a few years?

Answer, In Brief: The notion of "central purpose" seems to be misused by many Objectivists: it refers to a person's productive work, not a specific theme thereof. Parenting is a productive activity, and it can be a person's primary productive activity.

Tags: Career, Central Purpose, Children, Family, Objectivism, Parenting, Purpose

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Question 3: Compartmentalized Cheating (37:44)

Question: Is it true that, "if you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner"? A few months ago, a Republican presidential candidate said of Newt Gingrich, "if you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner." Leaving aside the specifics of any particular politician's personal life, is the broader principle accurate? If you knew that someone cheated on his wife, does that mean he should be regarded as an untrustworthy for a business partnership? Or as morally unfit to be your doctor? Or as unfit to be an elected official?

Answer, In Brief: Depending on the person's motive for the affair, the cheating might be compartmentalized or infect other areas of his life.

Tags: Business, Character, Compartmentalization, Ethics, Honesty, Marriage

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Question 4: Something Greater than Yourself (44:27)

Question: Doesn't everyone need to be a part of something greater than themselves? Most people want to be involved with some cause greater than themselves – whether God, their community, the state, the environment. Doesn't everyone need that to help steer them in life? Or do you think that's unnecessary or even wrong?

Answer, In Brief: A person doesn't need a cause greater than himself: he needs to value his own life, find inspiration in the great deeds of others, and accomplish great things himself.

Tags: Central Purpose, Ethics, Life, Purpose

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Rapid Fire Questions (54:17)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Should the exclusionary rule be abolished?
  • Are companies morally responsible for the working conditions of their suppliers?
  • Is a sex offender registry just and proper?

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Conclusion (1:05:34)

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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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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