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)


Dating

  • Q&A: Evaluating Romantic Prospects: 6 Sep 2015, Question 3
  • Question: How can I efficiently evaluate potential romantic prospects? When introduced to a person – or out on a first or second date – it's often difficult to evaluate that person quickly and fairly as a potential romantic prospect. What should I look for? What questions should I ask? What kinds of qualities – moral and psychological – should I regard as particularly important, for better or worse?

    Tags: Communication, Dating, Ethics, Hobbies, Objectivism, Politics, Religion, Romance, Values

  • Q&A: Adopting Hobbies Just for Dating: 26 Jul 2015, Question 2
  • Question: Is it wrong to take up a hobby for the sake of dating? I'm single, and I want to meet more women. Is it wrong or unwise to take up hobbies like dancing, acting, painting, singing, or guitar just to have some skill to show and to meet women interested in those activities? I wouldn't take up these hobbies without the dating angle: I'm just not interested in them, at least not right now. Is that wrong?

    Tags: Authenticity, Dating, Hobbies, Honesty, Independence, Integrity, Relationships, Values

  • Q&A: Responsibility for a Child: 14 Jun 2015, Question 1
  • Question: When is a person responsible for an unexpected and unwanted child? Sex sometimes results in an unexpected and perhaps unwanted pregnancy. What are the moral responsibilities of each party in this situation? Do a person's obligations depend on prior agreements about what would be done in such a case? Do they depend on whether contraception was used or not? If the man said that he didn't want children and used contraception, yet a pregnancy occurs, does he have any moral or legal obligation to pay for an abortion, support the child, or act as a father? Does the answer change if the woman agreed to have an abortion in advance, then changes her mind? Should couples talk explicitly about these matters before sex?

    Tags: Abortion, Children, Communication, Dating, Ethics, Law, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships, Responsibility, Romance, Sex

  • Q&A: Marriage without Love: 18 Jan 2015, Question 2
  • 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?

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

  • Q&A: "The Friend Zone": 31 Aug 2014, Question 1
  • Question: Is there any validity to the concept of "the friend zone"? The "friend zone" is used to describe the situation of a man who is interested in a woman, but she's not interested in being more than friends with him. Then, he's "in the friend zone," and he can't get out except by her say-so. So "nice guys" in the friend zone often use the concept to describe the frustration of watching the women they desire date "bad boys" while they sit over to the side waiting for their chance to graduate from being just friends to being something more. Feminists suggest that this concept devalues a woman's right to determine the context and standard of their sexual and romantic interests, that it treats a woman's sexual acceptance as something that a man is entitled to by virtue of not being a jerk. Is that right? Or do women harm themselves by making bad choices about the types of men they date versus the types they put in the "friend zone?"

    Tags: Assertiveness, Causality, Communication, Dating, Ethics, Friendship, Honesty, Relationships, Romance, Sexism, Values

  • Q&A: The Value of Marriage: 17 Feb 2013, Question 1
  • Question: What is the value of marriage? How is it different from living with a romantic partner in a committed relationship? Is marriage only a legal matter? Or does it have some personal or social benefit?

    Tags: Dating, Family, Law, Marriage, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Fear of Rape: 9 Sep 2012, Question 1
  • Question: Should men be sensitive to women's fears of being raped? Recently, I became aware of an ongoing debate among the online atheist community regarding proper conduct of men toward women they do not know. In a June 2011 video reporting on a conference, "Skepchik" Rebecca Watson talked about her experience of being asked to the room of a strange man in an elevator at 4 am. That invitation made her very uncomfortable, and she thought it was very wrong to so sexualize her. Her comments created a firestorm of controversy. Do you think that men need to be sensitive to women's fears about being raped? Should women have such fears around unknown men?

    Tags: Atheism, Communication, Crime, Dating, Ethics, Feminism, Harassment, Rape, Respect, Rights, Sexism, Violence

  • Q&A: Sexual Values in Romance: 2 Sep 2012, Question 2
  • Question: How important are a person's particular sexual values in a romantic relationship? The problems in many relationships seem to be due to conflicting sexual values, such as one partner wanting variety while the other opposes an open relationship. So why aren't such sexual values considered at least on par with other important values in a relationship? When faced with sexual problems, why is the assumption that a couple needs to "work on them" – as opposed to thinking that such problems should be resolved before any commitment? In other words, before accepting and establishing a relationship, shouldn't people seek sexual compatibility in the same way they seek emotional compatibility?

    Tags: Communication, Conflict, Dating, Ethics, Relationships, Romance, Sex

  • Q&A: Five Love Languages: 22 Jul 2012, Question 1
  • Question: What do you think of the "Five Love Languages"? The basic idea of the "Five Love Languages" is that every person has "a primary way of expressing and interpreting love," and that "we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch." What do you think of this concept? Do you think that a person's "love language" might be connected to his personality traits?

    Tags: Communication, Dating, Gifts, Marriage, Personality, Psychology, Relationships, Romance

  • Chat: Meeting New People: 30 May 2012
  • Summary: What are the best ways to seek out promising prospects for friendship or romance? What can you do to make yourself a better prospect to others?

    Tags: Communication, Community, Dating, Friendship, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Consent in Sex: 26 Feb 2012, Question 1
  • Question: What constitutes consent in sex? Can a person give tacit consent by his or her actions? Is explicit consent required for some sex acts? Once consent has been given, when and how can a person withdraw that consent? Does the legal perspective on these questions differ from the moral perspective?

    Tags: Consent, Crime, Dating, Ethics, Law, Relationships, Rights, Romance, Sex

  • Q&A: Interest in a Lover's Writings: 19 Feb 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Should a person always be interested in the creative works of a romantic interest or lover? I'm romantically interested in a woman who writes as her career. While my admiration of her is based in her virtues and even heroic qualities, I'm don't find the subjects of her writing to be particularly interesting. If I were to begin dating this woman, should I read everything that she's written and writes?

    Tags: Career, Dating, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Telling a Friend about Romantic Feelings: 19 Feb 2012, Question 2
  • Question: Am I obliged to tell a friend that I've developed romantic feelings towards her? Recently, I've developed romantic feelings for a platonic friend. Is it dishonest to withhold this information from her and just continue our friendship? What should I do if she asks me a direct question about my feelings? When would it be wrong to withhold this information from her, if ever?

    Tags: Dating, Emotions, Friendship, Honesty, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Possessiveness in Romance: 5 Feb 2012, Question 3
  • Question: Is possessiveness wrong in a romantic relationship? I have a drawback: I'm extremely possessive. I expect that the person who loves and understands me – he being the only one who understands me – should be mine and only mine. I can accept other women in his life and contain my jealousy on the condition that he reveals to me every single of them who was, is, or will be. But he should love me the most. And I expect that he should stay with me till the end and that we spend the last days together reflecting on the past and life. Am I wrong in expecting all that from my partner? If so, what can I do to change?

    Tags: Conflict, Dating, Emotions, Independence, Jealousy, Psychology, Rationality, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Feigning Indifference to Attract a Man: 29 Jan 2012, Question 2
  • Question: Should I act uninterested in a man to attract him? One common theme in romance advice is that a woman should act aloof and unattainable in order to attract a man or to get him to commit to a relationship. Is that dishonest? Is it counterproductive?

    Tags: Communication, Dating, Honesty, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Sex Without Love: 8 Jan 2012, Question 2
  • Question: Is sex without love or romance irrational? Is it wrong to have sex with someone that you don't love – or don't love yet? (Here, assume that the person isn't unworthy, but just that you're not in love.) Couldn't that be the start of romance? What if you don't have any intentions of pursuing a romantic relationship with this person?

    Tags: Dating, Love, Marriage, Romance, Sex

  • Q&A: Friends with Benefits: 27 Nov 2011, Question 1
  • Question: Are "friends with benefits" relationships a mistake? It is moral and/or wise to pursue sexual relationships with friends, even though you're not in a romantic relationship? What are some of the benefits and/or pitfalls? If it's a mistake, what should a person do to avoid such entanglements?

    Tags: Dating, Ethics, Friendship, Honesty, Romance, Self-Deception, Sex

  • Q&A: Being Too Much Crazy in Love: 23 Oct 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Is it irrational to be "crazy in love" with your boyfriend or girlfriend – such as wanting to keep an old shirt and other discarded items? Does it matter whether the relationship is in an early or later stage?

    Tags: Dating, Emotions, Rationality, Romance

  • Q&A: Sexting as Cheating: 11 Sep 2011, Question 3
  • Question: Is sexting a form of cheating? If you are married or in a committed relationship and you send sexually explicit texts or emails to another person, is that cheating?

    Tags: Dating, Honesty, Infidelity, Integrity, Internet, Romance, Sex

  • Q&A: Racism in Dating: 17 Jul 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Is it racist to refuse to date people of a certain ethnic background? Recently, black singer Jill Scott said that she felt her soul "wince" whenever a black man married a white woman. Many people have denounced that as racism, and I agree with that. However, I was shocked to see a black man (known to me only via Facebook) say that he'd never date a white woman due to the history of slavery in America. He even suggested that Tiger Woods was some kind of traitor to his race for marrying blonde beauty Ellen Nordegren. Is that racist?

    Tags: Dating, Discrimination, Marriage, Race, Racism, Relationships

  • Q&A: Living Together Outside Marriage: 19 Jun 2011, Question 2
  • Question: What do you think of a couple living together outside marriage? Do you think that a romantic couple living together without being married is moral and/or wise? Does the stage of the relationship matter, including whether they plan to marry or not? Does living together before marriage result in a happier or more enduring marriage?

    Tags: Dating, Ethics, Marriage, Romance, Sex

  • Q&A: Office Romances: 22 May 2011, Question 2
  • Question: What advice do you have about dating coworkers? A romantic interest, who is a sort of coworker of mine, is concerned about the effect on her reputation (she's new), as well as conflicts of interest, should we decide to date. If this is the reason she gave for declining a date, does it make sense to ask again after a period of friendship and to suggest we keep our relationship secret? On the other hand, it might be hard to maintain such a secret.

    Tags: Business, Conflict, Dating, Honesty, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Love at First Sight: 1 May 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?

    Tags: Character, Dating, Emotions, Love, Relationships, Romance, Values

  • Q&A: Long-Distance Relationships: 1 May 2011, Question 2
  • Question: What do you think of long-distance relationships? Do you see any dangers in long-distance relationships? Hasn't the internet made such relationships nearly as good as living in the same city?

    Tags: Dating, Friendship, Love, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Age in Romance: 17 Apr 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Should age matter in romance? Is it in your rational best interest to date someone who is significantly older or younger than you? Assuming that both individuals are mature, is there anything wrong with an 18 year old dating someone who is 38? Or a 40 year old dating someone who is 60? Or a 70 year old dating someone in their 20s? Does age matter?

    Tags: Dating, Marriage, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Ideological Conflicts in Romance: 10 Apr 2011, Question 2
  • Question: How should a person deal with ideological conflicts with a spouse? In particular, if a person discovers and embraces Objectivism while already in a serious relationship (perhaps marriage) with a non-Objectivist, what's the best way to deal with conflicts that arise due to divergent principles?

    Tags: Compromise, Conflict, Dating, Ethics, Philosophy, Politics, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Asking a Person Out: 20 Mar 2011, Question 6
  • Question: How should one approach a girl one is interested in? How does one go about asking her on a date?

    Tags: Communication, Dating, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Bisexuality and Relationships with Men and Women: 20 Mar 2011, Question 3
  • Question: If one is bisexual and derives different values from relationships/sex with men than with women, is it proper to maintain concurrent relationships with both? Assume here, that if such an individual were to forsake having a relationship or sex with either gender, he/she would feel like something is missing and would long for the other.

    Tags: Dating, GLBT, Monogamy, Relationships, Romance, Sex

  • Q&A: Unrequited Love: 20 Mar 2011, Question 2
  • Question: How does one best deal with unrequited love? I am most interested in this from the perspective of someone who harbors feelings for a friend. In particular, how do you "move on"? When I have been in this situation, I have found it difficult to be interested in others I'm trying to date when so "hung up". Is it necessary to distance oneself from the object of one's affection, even if it means to some extent giving up a life-enhancing friendship? What if one would rather remain single than diminish the friendship? Can that be a rational choice? If so, for how long? Does the answer change if the initial rejection was not unequivocal, but based on some possibly temporary circumstances (like a current relationship)?

    Tags: Conflict, Dating, Emotions, Friendship, Introspection, Jealousy, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Pursuing Someone Already Attached: 23 Jan 2011, Question 2
  • Question: Is it moral and/or wise to pursue someone else's "significant other"? In particular: (1) Is it immoral to try to pursue or court another person's committed romantic partner? (2) Would a rational woman want to be with a man, for example, who abandoned an existing relationship to be with with her? Also: (3) And if pursuing an already-attached person can be moral, do you have any advice about succeeding?

    Tags: Dating, Ethics, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Dating a Pot-Smoker: 16 Jan 2011, Question 6
  • Question: Is it proper to date a girl who smokes pot? This woman, while not being an Objectivist, has many great qualities like being smart, attractive, funny, pro-reason and pro-man in general. She, however, likes to smoke marijuana. She says that it provides a great pleasure and relaxes her body and mind after a long day of work. What should I do about it? Confront her? Immediately break up with her?

    Tags: Addiction, Alcohol/Drugs, Dating, Egoism, Ethics, Judgment, Justice, Moral Wrongs, Relationships, Romance, Self-Interest

  • Q&A: Judging People Efficiently: 16 Jan 2011, Question 2
  • Question: How can I judge people more efficiently? It would be helpful to be more efficient in judging whether certain individuals are appropriate for a friendship. Sometimes it takes me a long time to decide whether I would like to be friends with someone or not. It takes me even longer to decide whether I would like to be in a romantic relationship with someone. How can I speed this process up? What are some key factors that might help me make these types of decisions more efficiently?

    Tags: Dating, Dating, Ethics, Friendship, Judgment, Justice, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Women Versus Nice Men: 9 Jan 2011, Question 1
  • Question: Why do you think most women typically have disdain for men who are 'too nice'?

    Tags: Character, Dating, Ethics, Personality, Psychology, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Romance with an Irrational Person: 2 Jan 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Suppose you were a rational man in a relationship with a less rational woman, how would you handle your girlfriend's ever-expanding irrational behavior?

    Tags: Dating, Rationality, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Judging Mixed People: 2 Jan 2011, Question 3
  • Question: How do you judge people of mixed premises? Many people are of "mixed" premises. How does one develop close and personal friendships or pursue long-term, serious, romantic relationships when many people are not consistently rational or moral? How does one judge such people objectively as to their worthiness for friendship or as a potential romantic interest?

    Tags: Conflict, Dating, Ethics, Friendship, Judgment, Justice, Philosophy, Relationships, Relationships, Sanction

  • Q&A: Topics for First Dates: 26 Dec 2010, Question 5
  • Question: What are some good topics to discuss on a first or second date? Also, what topics should be avoided?

    Tags: Communication, Dating, Romance

  • Q&A: Talking about Sexual Preferences: 19 Dec 2010, Question 2
  • Question: When do you talk to a romantic interest (or partner) about your sexual preferences? Is there a right or wrong way to talk with your romantic partner about sexual preferences? Do you wait until you are "in the sack" to find out whether you are sexually compatible? And, how important is sexual compatibility to a romantic relationship?

    Tags: Communication, Dating, Romance, Sex

  • Q&A: Polyamory Versus Monogamy: 5 Dec 2010, Question 1
  • Question: What's wrong with multiple sexual partners at a time? Why do you think that multiple romantic partners are psychologically destructive for everyone involved? What is it about romantic love that you think demands attention on one and only one other person?

    Tags: Dating, Ethics, Monogamy, Polygamy, Psychology, Relationships, Romance, Sex


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