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)


Collectivism

  • Q&A: Vaccinating for Herd Immunity: 22 Feb 2015, Question 2
  • Question: Do parents have a moral duty to vaccinate their children to improve "herd immunity"? My doctor is currently making the case for my son (age 12) getting the Gardasil/HPV vaccination, arguing that even though HPV won't really harm him, he could become a carrier and spread HPV to women he has sex with at some time in the future, and thereby harm them. I don't think he has a duty to become one of the "immunized herd" (referring to the idea of "herd immunity" regarding vaccines) and therefore I am not inclined to have him vaccinated against HPV. Should he choose to do so at a later time, he is free to make that decision. Does my son – or do I as a parent – have an obligation to vaccinate purely to promote "herd immunity"? If not in this case, where there is a clear issue of undergoing the vaccination primarily for the sake of risk to others, then what about in other cases of vaccines? Does a person have an obligation to society in general to become part of the immunized herd, even if taking a vaccination is probably at low risk to that person's health?

    Tags: Children, Collectivism, Ethics, Government, Health, Herd Immunity, Honesty, Medicine, Parenting, Risks, Vaccination

  • Q&A: The Social Effects of Economic Inequality: 20 Oct 2013, Question 1
  • Question: Is an egalitarian society a better society? In his 2009 book "The Spirit Level," Richard Wilkinson argues that income inequality has a broad range of negative effects on society. According to the summary on Wikipedia, "It claims that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries." Are these egalitarian arguments wrong? If so, what's the best approach to refuting them?

    Tags: Causation, Collectivism, Culture, Egalitarianism, Equality, Ethics, John Rawls, Politics, Rights, Statistics

  • Q&A: Individualism Versus Anti-Social Atomism: 19 May 2013, Question 1
  • Question: Does individualism imply social isolation and atomism? Many critics of Ayn Rand argue that her individualism is hostile to love, concern, and respect for other people. They claim that her "atomistic individualism" doesn't permit, let alone support, groups or community. Are these criticisms true? What is the right view of human society and sociability?

    Tags: Collectivism, Collectivism, Epistemology, Ethics, Individualism, Metaphysics, Objectivism, Politics, Relationships, Rights, Sacrifice, Society

  • Interview: Craig Biddle on Common Mistakes about Ethics: 10 Oct 2012
  • Summary: What are some of the most common mistakes that people make in thinking about ethics? Craig Biddle explained people's wrong ideas about ethics, including ethics of duty, pragmatism, religious ethics, collectivism, and more.

    Tags: Causality, Collectivism, Duty, Ethics, Objectivism, Obligation, Pragmatism, Religion

  • Q&A: Refuting Marxist Arguments: 10 Jun 2012, Question 4
  • Question: How can I effectively counter Marxist economic arguments? My family and friends often advocate Marxist economic ideas – for example, that wealth should be redistributed according to need, that corporations and corporate profits are evil, and that rich people have too much money. How can I best respond to these arguments?

    Tags: Altruism, Collectivism, Communication, Economics, Ethics, Politics

  • Q&A: The Wrong of Utilitarianism: 29 Apr 2012, Question 1
  • Question: What's wrong with utilitarianism? The basic principle of utilitarianism is "the greatest happiness for the greatest number." What's wrong with that as a moral standard? Shouldn't a person act for the good of society?

    Tags: Collectivism, Egalitarianism, Ethics, Hedonism, Philosophy, Utilitarianism


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