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Sexual Harassment, Anti-Heroes, Kids, and More

Radio Q&A: 25 November 2012

I answered questions on sexual harassment laws, rooting for antiheroes, child beauty pageants, teaching children philosophy, and more on 25 November 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've been preparing my book Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame (a.k.a. my dissertation) for publication!


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Segments: 25 November 2012


Question 1: Sexual Harassment Laws

Question: Are laws against sexual harassment proper? We already have laws against sexual assault and sexual battery, so do sexual harassment laws protect or violate rights? Also, what kind of sexual harassment policies should private companies have, if any? Should people be more skeptical of sexual harassment claims of the kind levelled against Herman Cain during the Republican primary?

Answer, In Brief: Certain kinds of sexual harassment, along with other shocking, appalling, and immoral demands in the workplace, might be grounds for damages in the form of a severance package due to wrongful termination.

Tags: Bullying, Contracts, Free Society, Law, Rights, Sex, Sexism, Sexual Harassment, Work

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Question 2: Rooting for Antiheroes

Question: Is it wrong to root for antiheroes in movies? I often root for characters like Daniel Ocean (of Ocean's 11, 12, etc.), Erik Draven (of The Crow), Harry Callahan (a.k.a. Dirty Harry), and "Mad" Max. Should I instead seek out movies with more consistently good heroes?

Answer, In Brief: Characters are more complex than just heroes and antiheroes. Judge the gray characters accurately, recognize that they're just fiction, and know why you like or dislike them!

Tags: Aesthetics, Character, Culture, Ethics, Film, Judgment, Justice, Literature, Personality, Progress, Psychology, Respect

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Question 3: Child Beauty Pageants

Question: Are child beauty pageants wrong? The TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras is a reality show that follows child beauty pageant contestants and their parents. Putting aside the often-questionable behavior of the people on this show who may not represent typical pageant contestants or parents, these events ask children to compete based on beauty and talent. So are child beauty pageants immoral?

Answer, In Brief: Some, and perhaps many, child beauty pageants sexualize young children and teach them to focus on pleasing adults. Parents should avoid those kinds of pageants, instead seek out more appropriate activities to do with their kids!

Tags: Children, Ethics, Hobbies, Independence, Parenting, Sex

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Question 4: Teaching Children Philosophy

Question: Why isn't philosophy taught to young children? It seems that teaching philosophy to young children – as young as kindergarten – might result in much better reasoning skills, as well as greater willingness to think independently and question what they've been taught. So is philosophy not taught to the young just because some parents and politicians might not like those good results?

Answer, In Brief: Children can and must learn the abstract principles and skills of philosophy inductively – meaning, through subjects like history, literature, science, and mathematics. Only later can they learn philosophy explicitly.

Tags: Children, Education, Induction, Logic, Parenting, Philosophy, Religion

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:04:39)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Do you consider it plausible that the most current escalation by Hamas in Gaza is covering for and diverting attention from Iran entering a critical phase in its nuclear program?
  • Was Obama's defeat a referendum on free markets in general and Ayn Rand's ideas in particular?
  • If someone requests that you remove your shoes in their house, but you have terribly stinky feet, what should you do?

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Conclusion (1:10:49)

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 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.

If you join us for the live broadcasts, you can ask follow-up questions and make comments in the text-based chat. Otherwise, you can listen to the podcast by subscribing to our Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the podcast archive, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.

For regular commentary, announcement, and humor, read my blog NoodleFood and subscribe to its Blog RSS Feed. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter and connect on social media too.

I can be reached via e-mail to diana@philosophyinaction.com.

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