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Extramarital Affairs, Government Controls, Art, and More

Q&A Radio: 24 March 2013

I answered questions on being someone's extramarital affair, epistemic effects of government controls, the boundaries of art, and more on 24 March 2013. 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: SnowCon was fabulous, fabulous fun!


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Segments: 24 March 2013


Question 1: Being Someone's Extramarital Affair

Question: Is it wrong to have a romantic relationship with a married person? In Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, Dagny Taggart had an affair with Hank Rearden, knowing that he was married. How should those actions be judged in real life? Clearly, Hank's cheating was dishonest and wrong. Was Dagny wrong to pursue the affair? What should she have done instead? Or, imagine that Dagny didn't know that Hank was married until after they'd slept together. What should she have done in that case upon finding out the truth? Should she stop the affair? Should she inform the wife about the cheating? Should she apologize to the wife? Also, if your answer is different than Dagny's, how do you reconcile that?

Answer, In Brief: Fiction is not always the best guide: it's morally wrong and practically dangerous to be the "other man" or the "other woman" in another person's marriage.

Tags: Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, Character, Honesty, Infidelity, Integrity, Moral Wrongs, Relationships, Romance, Sex

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Question 2: Epistemic Effects of Government Controls

Question: How do government controls encourage short-range thinking in business? In your discussion of the principle of sustainability in December 2011, you said that government controls encourage people to think short-range – to grab what they can and run with it – including in business. Why is that? What are some examples?

Answer, In Brief: When the government can change the rules of the game anytime by new laws and regulations, people cannot rationally plan for the long run, so many people get what they can while they can.

Tags: Ethics, Government, Psycho-Epistemology, Regulations, Rights

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Question 3: The Boundaries of Art

Question: What counts as art? Ayn Rand defined art as "a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments." What does that mean? If art is a selective re-creation of reality, does that mean that anything can be art – such as a shoe or my kitchen trash? If art involves metaphysical value-judgments, does that mean that all art is implicitly a kind of philosophy?

Answer, In Brief: Ayn Rand's definition of art identifies the core similarities between certain kinds of human creations, namely those with the most potential to serve as spiritual fuel.

Tags: Aesthetics, Art, Personal Values, Spiritual Values

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Rapid Fire Questions (58:26)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Is it true that all snowboarders are knuckle-dragging, retrograde delinquents?
  • How are we to decide which parts of fiction to carry into real life and which parts are only "devices" for the story?

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Conclusion (1:07:51)

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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. 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 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 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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