Rapid Fire Questions
Q&A Radio: Thursday, 26 June 2014
I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu on 26 June 2014. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this section below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.
The questions were:
- Why do you think that marriage contracts should be enforced by the state? Wouldn't private arbitration be a better option?
- Why do you think so few people question the consensus of the culture on ethics? (People tend to form their own political views, but very few people seem to form their own ethical views.)
- Is magnanimity a virtue or a moral amplifier?
- What on earth is 'queer theory'? Why, as a gay man, do I find it deeply troubling?
- What is "good taste"? Is it objective?
- Why is infinity incompatible with identity? Why couldn't infinite size, for example, be part of the nature of an entity?
- Is a bird in the hand better than two in the bush? Doesn't this maxim encourage mediocrity and laziness?
- Does it make sense for Objectivists to use "Who is John Galt?" as a slogan? It seems to me that this is what people in the novel said when they could not see what was wrong with the world.
- Is it true that thought and speech are limited by historical context?
- Are there quick ways to identify crazy people? I think I'm pretty okay myself as long as I take my medication.
- Is there any value to childhood 'innocence'? Or is that just a product of Christianity?
- Does Buddhism qualify as a form of nihilism, since Buddhists believe that morality consists in rejecting all your desires, and clearing your mind, so that you become 'one with the universe' i.e. dead?
- I've heard that Kant included some good elements in his philosophy to make the rest of his ideas palatable. What were those things?
- Would you agree that Rand's philosophy is a sort of reconciliation of Aristotle with the existentialists?
- Is it advisable for citizens in a pure capitalist society to create a "social safety net" comparable to what exists in welfare states, but through voluntary charity?
- What is bourgeois morality, and should we approve of it?
- What about the Negative Income Tax, which is sort of what Milton Friedman proposed, or the idea of a "guaranteed income" that would replace welfare?
- What is "a sense of duty" and how can I get rid of it?
- Ayn Rand thought that plot was the most important element in literature. I would say however that an aesthetic based on virtue ethics dictates that characters ought to be more important. What do you think?
- If you could have a superpower, what superpower would you choose?
- Duration: 1:03:39
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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.