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Expressing Love, Security Flaws, Happiness, and More

Radio Q&A: 22 July 2012

I answered questions on five love languages, the morality of exposing security flaws, the nature of happiness, the importance of a candidate's views on abortion, and more on 22 July 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: 22 July 2012


Question 1: Five Love Languages

Question: What do you think of the "Five Love Languages"? The basic idea of the "Five Love Languages" is that every person has "a primary way of expressing and interpreting love," and that "we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch." What do you think of this concept? Do you think that a person's "love language" might be connected to his personality traits?

Answer, In Brief: The "Five Love Languages" is a useful way of conceptualizing basic preferences in the expression of love that can cause serious problems in a romantic relationship if the couple is mismatched and unaware of that.

Tags: Communication, Dating, Gifts, Marriage, Personality, Psychology, Relationships, Romance

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Question 2: The Morality of Exposing Security Flaws

Question: Is it moral to post information on security flaws that can help criminals better commit crimes? Some people publish information on how to pick locks or how to bypass computer password protection programs. Yes, sometimes this information might be used by good people to better protect themselves, but it's likely that criminals will use it to commit crimes, perhaps crimes that they'd not have attempted otherwise. Can the person posting the information rightly say, "This information can be used for both good or bad purposes, and I'm not morally responsible for what someone else chooses to do with it"?

Answer, In Brief: It's perfectly moral to expose security risks and other product failures. In order to protect innocents against evildoers, the delayed process of "responsible disclosure" seems to be the best method.

Tags: Business, Crime, Ethics, Internet, Technology

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Question 3: The Nature of Happiness

Question: What is happiness? When philosophers such as Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, and Ayn Rand speak of happiness, what do they mean? Is happiness just a fleeting sensation of pleasure? Or is it something more enduring and stable?

Answer, In Brief: For utilitarians, happiness is just pleasure. For Aristotle, eudaimonia is wrongly translated as happiness, but really means flourishing or well-being. For Ayn Rand, happiness is emotional state resulting from success in living and pursuing rational values.

Tags: Aristotle, Ethics, Happiness, Objectivism, Objectivism, Pleasure, Utilitarianism

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Question 4: The Importance of a Candidate's Views on Abortion

Question: How important are a political candidate's views on abortion? Why should we be worried about a political candidate's bad views on abortion if their views on other issues like economics are generally good? After all, as US President, Mitt Romney couldn't outlaw abortion even if he wanted to. But a good or bad President could have a tremendous good or bad effect on our economic liberties. Conversely, President Obama wants to keep abortion legal but that positive pales in significance to his terrible negative views on economics. Shouldn't a candidate's views on economics be more important at present than their views on abortion?

Answer, In Brief: Rights are a unity, and economic liberty is not more important to human life and happiness than personal liberty. Today, all rights are under attack and in need of a solid defense.

Tags: Abortion, Elections, Politics, Rights

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:09)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • What do you think of the Aurora movie theater shooting?

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Conclusion (1:14:06)

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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 most Sunday mornings and some 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 discuss a topic of interest.

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