On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on the justice of defamation laws, pursuing justice at great personal cost, the cultural effects of superhero movies, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 27 July 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.

Fair Use, Sharing in Children, Risky Fun, and More

Q&A Radio: 22 September 2013

I answered questions on fair use of intellectual property, teaching children to share, accepting risks in relationships, and more for Philosophy in Action Radio on 22 September 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: I'm almost done editing my forthcoming book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. My horse Lila is limping and unrideable due to a tiny piece of gravel that seems to be working its way up her hoof. Ouch!

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Segments: 22 September 2013


Question 1: Fair Use of Intellectual Property (2:42)

Question: What is the moral line between respecting copyrights and fair use? From a moral rather than legal perspective, what are the requirements to respect someone's right to their own work? For example if you have a movie on DVD is it moral to switch it to electronic form for your own use or should you buy the other form? When is quoting from an article or making a spoof fair use versus not respecting the owner's ownership?

Answer, In Brief: The law on fair use is complicated and not always clear. It's critical that a person adopt the moral attitude of a trader – as opposed to trying to get away with as much as possible.

Tags: Copyright, Ethics, Intellectual Property, Moral Attitudes, Respect, Rights, Trader Principle

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Question 2: Teaching Children to Share (19:27)

Question: How do I teach my toddlers how to share voluntarily? I'm the father of 23 month-old girl/boy twins who are just beginning to develop morality. I'm also an atheist with strong Objectivist leanings. I don't want to teach my children that they shouldn't commit a particular offense because God is watching them, as that will instill only fear of the unknown in them. What should I do instead? The twins will fight over particular things (e.g. toys, books, plastic containers, etc.). Too often I find myself trying to keep the peace with the one word command of "Share!" Forced sharing offends me but I find myself using it with the children because their understanding is limited and because it's easy to use. What might I do instead?

Answer, In Brief: Sharing is lovely, but children need to be taught to respect other people and their things first and foremost – not by command, but rather by firm and fair limits.

Tags: Children, Ethics, Family, Generosity, Parenting, Positive Discipline, Property, Respect, Sharing, Siblings

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Question 3: Accepting Risks in Relationships (31:37)

Question: How can I help my partner accept my doing risky activities? I would describe my partner as modestly adventurous. He's willing to try things now and then, but there are lots of things that I'd like to do that he not only refuses to do but forbids me to do as well. For example, I saw a deal to take a beginner pilot lesson on LivingSocial. I have no interest in getting my pilot's license, but I think it would be fun to sit in the seat with a teacher and learn a little something about how it's done. To my mind, this is perfectly safe. My partner, however, says, "No way." Also, I want to go swimming with sharks (with supervision, inside a cage). Yes, there's some risk, but I think that sounds like a lot of fun. My boyfriend disagrees. I did talk him into going skydiving with me once, but he refuses to go again. He bought me a gift certificate so I could do another tandem dive. But I loved it enough that I would consider getting certified to jump on my own. Yet he forbids it. People do these kinds of activities all the time without injury or any other harm. Plus, I want to do them with all proper supervision and safety precautions. I'm certain that my boyfriend understands these mandates of his carry little to no weight with me, but I wish he would be a little more reasonable about the way he assesses these risks. I definitely wish he'd find a better way of expressing his concern for my safety than just issuing commands about what I will and will not do. What should I do?

Answer, In Brief: Couples often differ in their tolerances for risk. The solution to any conflicts arising from that is not attempting to veto the others' activity, but rather setting limits for yourself and attempting rational persuasion.

Tags: Boundaries, Communication, Hobbies, Relationships, Risk, Romance, Self-Control, Sports

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Rapid Fire Questions (49:24)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Is logic a deductive science? Is it true that all the laws of logic can merely be deduced from the law of identity?
  • Recently, you mentioned that you became disappointed with the Objectivist movement - and that that inspired you to change your central purpose. Can you elaborate on what you think the problems are with the Objectivist movement are?
  • What should I think of a friend who let her husband pretend to be her on her Facebook account, posting and commenting as her?
  • What do you think of Dr. Peikoff's recent statement on immigration in his podcast from August 26, 2013, where he opposes immigration on the grounds that 80% of Hispanics support the Democrats?

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Conclusion (1:02:44)

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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 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 chat about a topic of interest.

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