Body Acceptance, Reliability of Memory, Induction, and More
Q&A Radio: 16 March 2014
I answered questions on body acceptance, the reliability of memory, the meaning of induction, and more on 16 March 2014. 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: 16 March 2014
Question: Is "body acceptance" rational and healthy – or dangerous? Many people are divided on the issue of accepting one's body for whatever it is. Some think that a person should be proud to be "healthy at any size" (or even just a larger-than-average size). Others say that such views perpetuate unhealthy lifestyles and destroy standards of beauty and health, perhaps out of envy. What is a rational view of body acceptance? Is "fat shaming" or "fit shaming" ever acceptable? More generally, what are the boundaries of morally acceptable comments on such matters between acquaintances, friends, and strangers?
Answer, In Brief: The call for "body acceptance" is not about egalitarian hatred of beauty or health. Rather, it's goal is to challenge our culture's focus on outward appearance – rather than health, strength, and skills – by accepting the current state of our body and appreciating its virtues.
Question: Is memory trustworthy? Memory is often described as being highly fallible and even malleable. Is that true? If so, what are the implications of that for claims about the objectivity and reliability of knowledge? What are the implications for daily life? Should we trust our experiences when we can't be trusted to remember them?
Answer, In Brief: Memory is fallible in various known ways, but that doesn't undermine claims of knowledge. Rather, it's a reason to exercise caution when relying on memory and to use external records.
Question: What does the term "inductive" mean? What is the distinction (if any) between some claim being "inductive" versus (1) ad hoc, (2) non-systematic, (3) disintegrated, (4) anecdotal, and (5) empirical? Basically, what is the proper meaning of the term "inductive"?
Answer, In Brief: Induction is the process of logical inference from more particular to more abstract knowledge. It is essential to all reasoning.
Rapid Fire Questions (44:29)
- Are strip clubs moral? Should men or women (whether married, dating, or single) frequent them? Is it wrong to work for one?
- Will separating school and state will lead to a more religious, ignorant, and economically poor population?
- What is the value of novelty?
- Have Ayn Rand's claims about concept-formation in "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" in children been validated by developmental psychology?
- Apart from Ayn Rand and Aristotle, which philosophers have written good and/or interesting works on aesthetics?
- John Aglialoro (the producer of the Atlas Shrugged movies) apparently plans to include a scene in Part 3 in which Dagny Taggart talks to a priest. The first two movies weren't anything to write home about, but is this enough reason to boycott Part 3 completely?
- What would you do if, in the Trolley Problem, Paul was the solo person on the track?
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.