Right to Work, Deception in a Crisis, Gifts, and More
Q&A Radio: 16 December 2012
I answered questions on right to work laws, deception in a crisis, philosophy versus psychology, the value of gift exchanges, and more on 16 December 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 made good progress on preparing my book Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame (a.k.a. my dissertation) for publication, including getting a proper headshot done. Of course, I'm still dealing with the multiple leaks, mold, and rotting wood Chez Hsieh.
You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed:
Segments: 16 December 2012
Question: Do right-to-work laws violate or protect rights? Some states are attempting to pass "right to work" laws, despite massive union opposition. Under such laws, employers cannot require employees to be a member of a union – as often happens due to federal law. These laws aim to empower employees against unwelcome unions. Are these laws legitimate – perhaps as defense against unjust federal law or a step toward freedom of contract? Or are they indefensible because they violate the rights of employers to dictate the terms of employment?
Answer, In Brief: Right to Work Laws sound like an excellent way to combat the coercive powers granted to unions by federal law. Yet in fact, one rights violation cannot be fixed by another rights violation. Even worse, such laws will help entrench the dangerous principle that employment terms can be overridden by freedom of conscience.
Question: Is it moral to deceive to someone to help him through a crisis? Imagine that a man is about to break up with his girlfriend (or divorce his wife), but then he discovers that she has a serious disease or she suffers a serious accident. Is it moral for him to help her through the crisis under the false pretense of a stable, loving relationship? (What if that would take months of deception?) Or should the man be frank with the woman as soon as possible about parting ways, perhaps only offering help as a friend, if that? Would that be cruel?
Answer, In Brief: A person might reasonably delay a break-up for a week or two during a crisis, but to pretend to be the devoted boyfriend is destructive to him and her.
Question: What's the proper distinction between philosophy and psychology? Given that psychology concerns the mind, I don't see how to clearly distinguish it from philosophy. For example, when would emotions be a philosophic concern versus a psychological concern? In other words, where is the dividing line between philosophy and psychology? Can they be separated?
Answer, In Brief: Philosophy differs from psychology in that philosophy is primarily concerned with the mind's conscious mental processes, while psychology is more focused on subconscious processes and their effect on conscious processes.
Question: What is the purpose of exchanging gifts during the holidays? To me, gift exchanges seem meaningless: they're a waste of time and money. What am I missing?
Answer, In Brief: The practicing of gift exchange can be deeply meaningful, as a way of revealing your knowledge and affection for another person, as well as integrating your lives. If instead you're feeling burdened and unseen, then it's time to change your practices.
Rapid Fire Questions (1:05:10)
- What do you think about the debates about gun control spawned by Friday's shooting about the Connecticut elementary school?
- What do you think about Elf on the Shelf?
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.
Support Philosophy in Action
Once you submit this form, you'll be automatically redirected to a page for payment. If you have any questions or further comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for contributing to Philosophy in Action! You make our work possible every week, and we're so grateful for that!
If you enjoy Philosophy in Action, please help us spread the word about it! Tell your friends about upcoming broadcasts by forwarding our newsletter. Link to episodes or segments from our topics archive. Share our blog posts, podcasts, and events on Facebook and Twitter. Rate and review the podcast in iTunes (M4A and MP3). We appreciate any and all of that!
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.
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.
I can be reached via e-mail to email@example.com.