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)

Rapid Fire Extravaganza

Q&A Radio: 26 June 2014

I answered questions on all sorts of topics from the Rapid Fire Queue on 26 June 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 finally resumed work on Explore Atlas Shrugged.


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Segments: 26 June 2014


Rapid Fire Questions (4:48)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. 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?

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Conclusion (1:08:27)

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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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