Racism, Aristotle, Abortion, Marriage, and More
Q&A Radio: 20 January 2013
I answered questions on solutions to widespread racism, recommended works of Aristotle, veto power over abortion, staying in a marriage, and more on 20 January 2013. 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: 20 January 2013
Question: Should the government intervene when widespread racism makes life impossible for some people? Given that the effect of strictly respecting the rights of private property owners in the South was that blacks could not find accommodations, health care, transportation, food, and other basic necessities of life, shouldn't the government have intervened? Didn't civil rights legislation help eliminate racism – and wasn't that a good thing – even if that meant violating the right to property of racists?
Answer, In Brief: Severe and widespread racism can only survive when enforced by government. As such, the solution to such racism is the elimination of the government's violations of rights based on race. That will radically change a culture in and of itself. To attempt to do more – particularly to ban racism in private transactions – violates the rights of innocent people and sets a terrible precedent.
Question: What works of Aristotle do you recommend reading? As a layperson interested in philosophy, I'd like to educate myself on the philosophy of Aristotle. I'm particularly interested in developing a better understanding of epistemology and metaphysics. What works should I read, and where should I start? Do you recommend any secondary sources?
Answer, In Brief: Aristotle is difficult but rewarding reading. Choose your readings based on your interests, and be very selective about any secondary sources.
Question: Should a man be able to prevent his pregnant girlfriend from aborting his baby? Sometimes, a man will get his girlfriend pregnant accidentally, and they disagree about what should be done. If the man wants the woman to carry the pregnancy to term, whether to give up the baby for adoption or him take sole custody, while the woman wants to get an abortion, should he be able to prevent her? It's his baby, shouldn't he have some say?
Answer, In Brief: The right to abortion is not based on any property right in the fetus. Rather, the right to abortion is based on a woman's right to her own body, including the fact that the embryo or fetus is not a person. The man might object, but he has no moral or legal right to interfere.
Question: If a married couple wouldn't marry again, should they split? Many married couples seem to stay together due to inertia, not because they truly value each other. My view is that if a couple wouldn't marry again, they should get divorced. Is that too high a bar in marriage?
Answer, In Brief: A married couple probably should divorce if they wouldn't marry again, provided that the romance is truly dead.
Rapid Fire Questions (1:02:12)
- Which house in Hogwarts would you be sorted into?
- What do you think of Lance Armstrong's confession to doping?
- How do the "open system" advocates reconcile the fact that the Ayn Rand Institute and supporters of it are producing new philosophical content?
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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.