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)

Varieties of Atheism, Dating People with Psychological Problems, and More

Q&A Radio: 11 May 2014

I answered questions on weak versus strong atheism, dating people with psychological problems, and more on 11 May 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: Starting today, I'm running a "Kindle Countdown Deal" on the Kindle edition of my book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame Basically, the price starts super-low: $3.99. Then, day by day, the price will slowly rise, until it reaches its regular price of $9.99 by next weekend. So if you want the best deal, buy your copy today! Last week, I spent many hours writing the character summaries for Explore Atlas Shrugged. The updated and revised questions, podcasts, and other resources, are available for purchase for $20. A print-on-demand and ebook will be avilable soon. Next week, because Lila and I will be competing in our first event of the season over the weekend, Greg and I will broadcast on Thursday evening, rather than Sunday morning.


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Segments: 11 May 2014


Question 1: Weak Versus Strong Atheism

Question: Should a rational person's atheism be weak or strong? People often distinguish between "weak atheism" and "strong atheism." The weak atheist regards the arguments for the existence of God as invalid, so that God's existence has not been proven. The strong atheist positively asserts that God does not exist. Which of these views is correct?

Answer, In Brief: Weak atheism is the result of seeing that the arguments for the existence of God fail. Strong atheism is the result of seeing that God's very nature is impossible. Both views are true, and the view that any person should adopt is the view consistent with his best understanding and thinking.

Tags: Agnosticism, Atheism, Epistemology, God, Integrity, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Religion

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Question 2: Dating People with Psychological Problems

Question: Is it a mistake to enter into a serious relationship with a person with serious psychological problems? Recently, my wife took her own life after a long struggle with major depression and other psychological issues. When we started dating, I saw clearly that she had issues although they were not as bad at the time. She was also intelligent, beautiful, and ambitious – among other good qualities. At the time, I thought she could work through her psychological issues with support, and she did improve for a while. However, after her loss, I've decided that, when and if I'm to the point where I'm interested in dating again, I will avoid becoming involved with women who display clear psychological problems. This decision has forced me to wonder if it was a mistake to become involved with my wife in the first place. So is it a mistake to enter into a serious relationship, knowing that the person has serious psychological struggles?

Answer, In Brief: You face two different issues: (1) Should I risk doing this again? (2) Should I regret having done it? The answer to both questions seems to be "no." So don't date women with clear psychological problems, but don't regret your marriage to your wife.

Tags: Decision-Making, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mistakes, Psychology, Regret, Relationships, Romance

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:01:27)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • How would you articulate why consciousness cannot come before existence?
  • In "Pride and Prejudice," is it Mr Darcy's fault that people perceive him as arrogant, or are they just too quick to judge?
  • Are you superstitious about anything? If so, why?

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Conclusion (1:11:59)

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.


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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.

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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.

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.

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