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)

Right to Die, Marriage without Love, Creating Art, and More

Q&A Radio: 18 January 2015

I answered questions on the right to die, marriage without love, creating art, and more on 18 January 2015. 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 busy with the show, as well as preparing for Aiken.


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Segments: 18 January 2015


Question 1: The Right to Die

Question: Should a person who does not wish to live be forcibly prevented from committing suicide? John doesn't like living. He finds no joy in life, and only lives because it would upset other people if he ended his life. He has tried counseling and medication, but he simply has no desire to continue to live. He makes no real contribution to society, nor does he wish to be a part of society. If John wants to die, he can, but the state will attempt to stop him at every turn, even to the point of incarceration. Is there a point when the law (and other people) should simply respect his wishes and allow him to end his life – or perhaps even assist him in doing so?

Answer, In Brief: A person's right to his own life includes the right to commit suicide. The law's sole job is to ensure that a person's choice to die reflects his considered judgment, freely made, as well as to differentiate between helpers and murderers.

Tags: Assisted Suicide, Crime, Death, Government, Law, Rights, Suicide

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Question 2: Marriage without Love

Question: Should people who merely like and respect each other ever marry? Imagine that a person doesn't think that he'll ever find true and deep love – perhaps for good reason. In that case, is it wrong to marry someone you enjoy, value, like, and respect – even if you don't love that person? What factors might make a decision reasonable, if any? Should the other person know about the lack of depth in your feelings?

Answer, In Brief: A relationship that begins with mutual affection and respect but not love can grow into a romance, if both people put in a serious effort. If not, it'll likely be a disaster of two unsatisfied people growing apart.

Tags: Dating, Friendship, Honesty, Lifestyle, Love, Marriage, Personality, Relationships, Romance, Sex, Values

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Question 3: Creating Art

Question: Is creating art necessary for a moral life? Since material values are a human need, independence requires that human beings engage in productive activity. Can the same logic be applied to art? Since art is a human need, does independence require human beings to be artistically creative? Would someone who enjoys art without producing any be an "aesthetic moocher"?

Answer, In Brief: The experience of art is necessary to human life, but the creation of art is not. This argument is deduction gone awry.

Tags: Aesthetics, Art, Business, Economics, Hobbies, Logic, Rationalism, Trader Principle, Values

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Rapid Fire Questions (49:26)

In this segment, I answered questions chosen at random by Greg Perkins impromptu. The questions were:
  • Where have the Audible book recommendations gone?
  • What, if anything, should be done to help the people of North Korea, such as distributing literature or helping citizens leave?
  • Do you know of any resources or websites that list businesses or career opportunities for human beings that follow the Objectivist Philosophy?
  • Should doctors who purport to be able to "cure homosexuality" be prosecuted for fraud?

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Conclusion (1:04:41)

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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