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)


Biology

  • Q&A: The Relationship between Philosophy and Science: 21 Dec 2014, Question 1
  • Question: What is the proper relationship between philosophy and science? People commonly assert that science proves that the traditional claims of philosophy are wrong. For example, they'll say that quantum mechanics proves that objective reality and causality are just myths and that psychology experiments disprove free will. In contrast, other people claim that philosophy is so fundamental that if any claims of science contradict philosophical principles, then the science must be discarded as false. Hence, for example, they say that homosexuality cannot possibly be genetic, whatever science says, since philosophy tells us that people are born "tabula rasa," including without any knowledge of "male" versus "female." So what is the proper view of the relationship between philosophy and the sciences? Does either have a veto power over the other? Is science based on philosophy or vice versa?

    Tags: Biology, Economics, Epistemology, Ethics, Free Will, Metaphysics, Perception, Personality, Philosophy, Physics, Physics, Psychology, Science

  • Chat: Design Arguments for the Existence of God, Part 4: 11 Dec 2014
  • Summary: Does the complexity, delicacy, and purposefulness of living organisms prove the existence of God? William Paley argues that it does in his Analogical Argument from Design. Here, we explore philosophical objections to his argument, as well as the alternative explanation of evolutionary theory.

    This podcast is part of ReligionCasts – my series of podcasts on the philosophy of religion.

    Tags: Biology, Christianity, Creationism, Evolution, Evolution, God, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Physics, Religion, Science, Theology

  • Q&A: Evolution's Ethical Implications: 30 Mar 2014, Question 1
  • Question: Should ethics begin with facts about evolution, including altruism? The ethical egoism advocated by Ayn Rand doesn't seem to incorporate genetics or evolution. Having evolved in tribal and family groups, we are creatures tuned to group behavior more than to individual behavior. Altruism wasn't invented by religion. In a tribe, helping those around you helps you survive too. Helping your kin helps your genes survive. The fact is that feeling good when you help others is built into the core of being human. The fact is that much status seeking and other seemingly irrational actions are techniques to ensure the propagation of our genes. Objectivism starts with "A is A." But, if reality is most important, shouldn't people base their ethics on the facts about humans as they actually are – altruism and all?

    Tags: Altruism, Animals, Benevolence, Biology, Egoism, Ethics, Groups, Meta-Ethics, Relationships, Sacrifice, Science

  • Q&A: People Too Young to Raise Children: 23 Jun 2013, Question 3
  • Question: What's the rationale for declaring some physically mature people too young to have children? Given that nature has dictated that both male and female humans can procreate in their early teens and given that morality is deduced from reality, why would sex and procreation at that young age be immoral? Isn't that what nature intended? More generally, is there a rational basis for moral judgments about the proper age of procreation? Or is it purely subjective?

    Tags: Biology, Children, Ethics, Evolution, Family, Independence, Parenting, Parenting, Rationalism, Young Adults

  • Interview: Dr. Monica Hughes on Myths about Evolutionary Theory: 19 Jun 2013
  • Summary: Many Americans are woefully ignorant of the basics of evolutionary theory, even while they criticize or reject it. Biologist Monica Hughes explained the basics of evolutionary theory, including some fascinating examples of evolution in action. Then she discussed and dispelled some common myths about it.

    Tags: Biology, Creationism, Evolution, God, Religion, Religion, Science

  • Podcast: Design Arguments for the Existence of God, Part 3: 2 Nov 2009
  • Summary: Does the complexity, delicacy, and purposefulness of living organisms prove the existence of God? William Paley argues that it does in his Analogical Argument from Design. Here, I explain his argument, including his analogy between living organisms and machines.

    This podcast is part of ReligionCasts – my series of podcasts on the philosophy of religion.

    Tags: Biology, Christianity, Creationism, Evolution, God, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Physics, Religion, Science, Theology


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