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)

Atheistic Afterlife, Tip Jar, Concealing a Pet, and More

Q&A Radio: 28 September 2014

I answered questions on the possibility of an atheistic afterlife, the tip jar, concealing a pet from a landlord, and more on 28 September 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 very busy updating Ari Armstrong's and my paper on abortion rights, as well as preparing for the trial about Colorado's campaign finance laws.


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Segments: 28 September 2014


Question 1: The Possibility of an Atheistic Afterlife

Question: Is it wrong for an atheist to believe in some kind of afterlife? I don't believe in God, but I hate to think that this life is all that I have. I can't stand the thought of never again seeing my parents, my children, or my friends again. So is it wrong to think that some kind of afterlife might exist? What's the harm?

Answer, In Brief: To believe something that you know to be unjustified is wrong, and that includes belief in an afterlife for an atheist. However, you can and should cope with the very natural feelings of fear and sadness at the prospect of you own demise in a rational way.

Tags: Afterlife, Christianity, Death, Emotions, Ethics, Metaphysics, Relationships, Religion, Values

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Question 2: The Tip Jar

Question: What's the deal with the tip jar? Why don't you find advertisers? What do you do with the money?

Answer, In Brief: I've deliberately chosen not to use an advertising model for revenue, and I'll be offering premium content to contributors soon.

Tags: Business, Ethics, Marketing, Philosophy in Action

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Question 3: Concealing a Pet from a Landlord

Question: It is wrong to keep my pet a secret from my landlord? My fiancee and I own a cat. By the rules of our apartment, we should notify our landlord and pay monthly pet rent and deposits. However, we keep a cleaner apartment than the majority of people without pets. If the cat's not tearing up carpet and peeing on walls, I don't feel I should pay more than, say, someone who is disrespectful of the property and causes more damage to the unit. Moreover, I recently heard firsthand from a group of experienced landlords that they prefer cleaner tenants with pets as opposed to straight up dirty tenants. So should I fess up and pay or not?

Answer, In Brief: It is wrong for you to conceal your cat from your landlord: it's not your property to use however you might see fit. For your own sake, you should sit down and have a conversation about this matter as soon as you can.

Tags: Business, Contracts, Ethics, Honesty

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Rapid Fire Questions (1:07:13)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Should we outlaw peeping tom technologies for private use? How do you address the fact that if your panties are on the internet the cat is out of the bag?
  • What's the value and purpose of expressing praise or criticism?
  • Can you suggest any books for 4th-6th graders that promote egoism, rationality, or other virtues which aren't commonly found in books aimed at kids?

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Conclusion (1:15:32)

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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