Friends and Fans — I have retired from my work as a public intellectual, so Philosophy in Action is on indefinite hiatus. Please check out the voluminous archive of free podcasts, as well as the premium audio content still available for sale. My two books — Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame and Explore Atlas Shrugged — are available for purchase too. Best wishes! — Diana Brickell (Hsieh)

Abortion, Obama, Infidelity, Family Time, and More

Q&A Radio: 2 June 2013

I answered questions on abortion rights and the violinist argument, Obama's cultural impact, laws against marital infidelity, managing demands for family time, and more on 2 June 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: Greg and I had a fabulous time at ATLOSCon, and my talk on "moral amplifiers" went fabulously well. Thank you to all my Dwolla contributors, who I'm sometimes not able to email! If you want your genome sequenced, use this link from 23 and Me.


Listen or Download


You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed:

Share This Episode


Segments: 2 June 2013


Question 1: Abortion Rights and the Violinist Argument

Question: Can abortion rights be justified based on Judith Thomson's "violinist" argument? Even if we accept that an embryo is a person with a right to life, can't abortion rights be justified on the basis of Judith Thomson's famous "violinist" thought experiment – meaning, on the grounds that one person does not have the right to use another person for life support?

Answer, In Brief: Judith Thomson’s defense of abortion is an excellent way to challenge and dispense with the view that abortion immoral and should be illegal because the embryo or fetus has a right to life. It’s not a definitive account of rights in pregnancy, nor is it intended to be such. It's major flaw is that it relies too heavily on intuitions, albeit good ones.

Tags: Abortion, Academia, Ethics, Intuitions, Judith Thomson, Law, Personhood, Philosophy, Politics, Trolley Problem

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Question 2: Obama's Cultural Impact

Question: Will Obama's second term further damage American culture and values? I'm not as worried about the tax hikes, foreign policy, and other concrete policies of Obama's second term as I am about the cultural change that his administration will instill in society over the next four years, just as it did over the last four years. The next generation of liberals – college age kids, that is – are little socialists who repeat the phrases like "social justice" and "fair share." Is such cultural change a genuine problem? If so, what can be done to combat it?

Answer, In Brief: Obama has reinvigorated the left, but he was merely capitalizing on cultural trends. To fight that, people need to become better advocates of rational principles, as well as support the effective advocates thereof.

Tags: Activism, Barack Obama, Culture, Education, Egalitarianism, Elections, John Rawls, Objectivism

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Question 3: Laws Against Marital Infidelity

Question: Should marital infidelity be illegal? Many states, including Colorado, have laws against marital infidelity on the books. These laws are rarely if ever enforced. Politicians often attempt to repeal them, but those attempts are often unsuccessful. Many people think that the government ought to "take a moral stand" even if the law isn't enforced. Does that view have any merit? Should these laws be repealed? Why or why not?

Answer, In Brief: Laws against adultery are wrong and unjust. They do not set a proper moral example, and they undermine respect for the rule of law.

Tags: Adultery, Colorado, Conservatism, Crime, Divorce, Ethics, Law, Marriage, Politics, Rights

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Question 4: Managing Demands for Family Time

Question: Should I limit my time away from family in deference to their cultural expectations? My family comes from a conservative Turkish background. They see the amount of independence granted me as a 19-year-old as more than enough. I see it as unsatisfactory. In fact, they feel pushed to their limit by the amount of time I ask to spend away from family on a daily basis. They believe I should not ask for any more independence, as they are already trying their hardest to accept me having even a small amount. However, what I'm allowed is very little compared to most people my age. It affects what I can do or not with my life, not just in the short-term but in the long-term too. Should I respect my family's wishes on this point, given that they are already trying their hardest within the context of their own cultural values? Or should I ask for more independence, even if that violates their beliefs?

Answer, In Brief: So long as you’re living at home or otherwise financially dependent on your parents, you must respect their rules. Hopefully, you can find some win-win ways to gain more independence. Once on your own, you must establish your life as your own, and not permit your family to meddle.

Tags: Adult Children, Children, Culture, Family, Honesty, Independence, Respect

Listen or Download

Comments


Rapid Fire Questions (58:46)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Is it possible to formulate a sound a priori disproof of the existence of God?
  • You're in favor of open immigration, but do you have any first-hand experience dealing with immigrants?
  • Is microfinancing moral? Is it "better" then other charity as it supposedly offers a hand up as opposed to a hand out?

Listen or Download

Comments


Conclusion (1:08:33)

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

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.

Name:
Email:
 

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 diana@philosophyinaction.com.

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.

You can listen to these 362 podcasts by subscribing to the Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the podcast archive, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.

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.

You can also read my blog NoodleFood and subscribe to its Blog RSS Feed.

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

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar