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)

Immanuel Kant, Virtuous But Not Happy, Abortion Rights, and More

Q&A Radio: 20 April 2014

I answered questions on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, being virtuous but not happy, defending abortion rights, and more on 20 April 2014. 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: I've been finalizing the questions for Explore Atlas Shrugged.


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: 20 April 2014


Question 1: The Philosophy of Immanuel Kant

Question: What's so bad about the philosophy of Immanuel Kant? In academic philosophy, Kant is often regarded as the culmination of the Enlightenment. According to this standard view, Kant sought to save reason from skeptics such as Hume, he aimed to ground ethics in reason, and he defended human autonomy and liberty. In contrast, Ayn Rand famously regarded Kant as "the most evil man in mankind's history." She rejected his metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, saying that "the philosophy of Kant is a systematic rationalization of every major psychological vice." Who is right here? What's right or wrong with his philosophy?

Answer, In Brief: Immanuel Kant's metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics represent radical departures from the Enlightenment traditions – and they ushered in the close of that period of thought. Ayn Rand's philosophic criticisms of him are well-deserved.

Tags: Epistemology, Ethics, History, Honesty, Immanuel Kant, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Universality

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Question 2: Being Virtuous But Not Happy

Question: How can I live more joyfully? I believe that the world is a wonderful place full of opportunity, great things, and lovely people. I also believe that I am an efficacious person, and therefore capable of flourishing and achieving happiness. So why do my emotions not match my convictions? I want to live more joyfully. I adhere to the cardinal virtues to the best of my ability. I've tried mental exercises, such as listing all my personal values and thinking about how important and good they are for me, but it still doesn't make me feel happy. What am I doing wrong? What can I do instead?

Answer, In Brief: You need to jettison this overly abstract view of your life, and instead learn to live in all the messy particular moments of your days, so that those moments add up to an interesting, engaging, challenging, and meaningful life.

Tags: Emotions, Emotions, Ethics, Happiness, Life, Personal Values, Psychology, Rationalism, Values

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Question 3: Defending Abortion Rights

Question: How can abortion rights be more effectively defended? Although the biblical case against abortion is weak, the religious right has gained much traction against abortion rights in the last decade or two. The "personhood" movement is growing every year, and incremental restrictions on abortion have mushroomed. Even more alarming, the demographics seem to be against abortion rights: young people are increasingly opposed to abortion. What can be done to more effectively defend abortion rights? Can any lessons be drawn from the success of the campaign for gay marriage?

Answer, In Brief: The advocates of abortion bans are largely motivated by the divine command, "Thou Shalt Not Kill," which is then often cast in the language of the "right to life." To combat that, those people need to be confronted with the reality of what abortion bans mean to women and couples.

Tags: Abortion, Communication, Conservatism, Ethics, Politics, Pregnancy, Rights

Listen or Download

Relevant Links

Comments


Rapid Fire Questions (1:25:43)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • What do you think of Sartre's dictum that when you make choices, you should always imagine that you are serving as a role model for the rest of mankind?

Listen or Download

Comments


Conclusion (1:29:06)

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