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)


Death

  • Q&A: Death Notifications via Facebook: 2 Aug 2015, Question 3
  • Question: Am I wrong to be upset that I learned of my uncle's death via Facebook? My uncle recently died. We weren't close, but I would have expected a phone call from my parents about it. Instead, I learned about his death via a Facebook status update from one of my cousins (not his child, but his niece). I've been really angry that I learned such momentous news that way, but I'm having trouble explaining why to my family. Am I wrong to be upset? If I should be upset, what's wrong with what happened? What should I say to my parents now?

    Tags: Adult Children, Communication, Death, Emotions, Family, Relationships

  • Q&A: The Right to Die: 18 Jan 2015, Question 1
  • 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?

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

  • Q&A: The Possibility of an Atheistic Afterlife: 28 Sep 2014, Question 1
  • 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?

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

  • Q&A: Living Longer: 14 Apr 2013, Question 4
  • Question: Should a life-loving person always wish to live longer? Suppose that a person was offered some medical therapy that would extend his life by 10 or 20 years, while preserving or even improving health. Would a life-loving person always choose to do that, assuming that he could afford it? Would refusing that therapy constitute a kind of passive suicide, perhaps even on par with that of a drug addict? In other words, assuming good health and no personal tragedies, might a life-loving person not wish to live any longer?

    Tags: Death, Ethics, Life, Meta-Ethics, Motivation, Values

  • Q&A: Right to Die: 2 Dec 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Is there a right to die and/or a right to be killed? Does a person have a right to die? If so, under what conditions? Moreover, does a person unable to kill himself (due to illness) have a right to be killed by a willing person?

    Tags: Death, Ethics, Government, Law, Rights, Suicide

  • Interview: Dr. William Dale on End-Of-Life Medical Choices: 28 Nov 2012
  • Summary: Many people struggle with difficult decisions about complex medical problems as they near the end of their lives. That time is wrenching for family too. How can people make good decisions about medical care? What mistakes should they try to avoid? How can people prepare for that future now?

    Tags: Adult Children, Communication, Conflict, Death, Emotions, Family, Health, Introspection, Law, Medicine, Rationality, Values

  • Q&A: Lying to a Dying Person: 27 Nov 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Is it wrong to lie to a person on their deathbed? Is lying in such cases justified so that the dying person can "go in peace"? For instance, a man might tell his fellow soldier dying on the battlefield that his heroism helped win a critical victory, even if it actually made no difference. Or a nurse might tell a dying mother desperate to make peace with her long-estranged daughter that the daughter called to tell her she loves her, even if that didn't happen. Is that wrong? If so, what's the harm?

    Tags: Conflict, Death, Ethics, Honesty, Relationships

  • Q&A: Fear of Death: 2 Oct 2011, Question 1
  • Question: Should death be feared? Why or why not? Also, why do most people fear death? How can a person overcome that, if ever?

    Tags: Afterlife, Atheism, Death, Emotions, Life, Psychology, Religion

  • Q&A: Regretting Time Spent at Work: 25 Sep 2011, Question 3
  • Question: At death, should a person regret all the years spent at work? I often hear the saying, "No one ever laid on their death bed wishing they had spent more time in the office." What should a person think of that – and of the fact that so many people agree with it – in light of the virtue of productiveness?

    Tags: Career, Death, Emotions, Productiveness, Work

  • Q&A: Values After Death: 5 Dec 2010, Question 2
  • Question: Should I care what happens to the world after I die? Should I care about my friends and projects after I die? What about caring about humanity long after my death? Should that affect my actions today?

    Tags: Afterlife, Atheism, Death, Ethics, Values

  • Q&A: Reminders of Death: 7 Nov 2010, Question 5
  • Question: Why do some habitually project their death as a means of silencing criticisms or getting people to do what they want? E.g. a senior that intimidates his children to answer the phone by stating his next call might be while he's actively dying.

    Tags: Communication, Death, Ethics, Manipulation, Psychology, Relationships


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