On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, living joyfully, defending abortion rights, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 20 April 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.

Studying Personality, The Golden Rule, and More

Q&A Radio: Sunday, 3 February 2013

I answered questions on the value of studying personality, the golden rule, yelling at employees, atheism as religion, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday, 3 February 2013. 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: Last night, I attended a great lecture by Craig Biddle on "The Trinity of Liberty." Also, registration for SnowCon 2013 is now open!

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  • Duration: 1:05:26

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Segments: 3 February 2013


Question 1: The Value of Studying Personality (2:29)

Question: What is the value of understanding personality differences? You've become increasingly interested in personality theory lately. What are the major practical benefits of better understanding personality? Is understanding personality differences as important – or perhaps more important – than knowing philosophy?

Answer, In Brief: If a person wants to deeply integrate the virtues into his own life, make better choices about his life and work, and enjoy more rewarding relations with others, then studying personality theory is invaluable!

Tags: Ethics, Personality, Psychology

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Question 2: The Golden Rule (24:55)

Question: Is the Golden Rule a valid and useful principle of ethics? In past podcasts, you've mentioned that you consider the Golden Rule – meaning, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" – as flawed. What are some of the problems with this rule? Does it have any value?

Answer, In Brief: The Golden Rule aims at some genuine values in ethics, but it’s too deeply rooted in subjectivism and formalism to be a valid or useful principle of ethics.

Tags: Christianity, Ethics, Judaism, Justice, Religion

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Question 3: Yelling at Employees (39:49)

Question: Is yelling at and shaming an employee ever justifiable? Imagine that a product at work must be shipped by a certain deadline – and if it's late, the company will suffer a major loss. All the workers involved know that, yet as the deadline approaches, one worker works slowly, seemingly without concern for the deadline. When reminded, he acknowledges the deadline, yet his work continues to be as slow as ever. In such cases, might yelling at that worker – even shaming him in front of co-workers – be just what he needs to motivate him to get the project done? If not, what else should be done?

Answer, In Brief: Yelling at and shaming employees is a disastrously unprofessional tactic in the workplace. It's not only likely to backfire with that particular employee, but likely to destroy your relationships with your other employees too.

Tags: Ethics, Personality, Productivity, Psychology, Work

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Question 4: Atheism as Religion (49:41)

Question: Is atheism just another form of religion? I often hear from religious people that atheism is just another form of religion – and just as much based on faith as Christianity and the like. Is that right or wrong?

Answer, In Brief: Atheism is not any kind of religion or faith. Religion involves belief (without adequate evidence) in the supernatural, and atheism denies such claims because they're utterly without rational foundation.

Tags: Atheism, Faith, Religion

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Rapid Fire Questions (58:22)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?
  • What do you think about celebrating Ayn Rand's birthday as "Randsday"?

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Conclusion (1:03:24)

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 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 Wednesday 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 Wednesday evenings, I interview an expert guest about a topic of interest.

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

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