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)


Duty

  • Q&A: Doctrine of Double Effect: 3 May 2015, Question 1
  • Question: Is the doctrine of double effect true? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says: "The doctrine (or principle) of double effect is often invoked to explain the permissibility of an action that causes a serious harm, such as the death of a human being, as a side effect of promoting some good end. It is claimed that sometimes it is permissible to cause such a harm as a side effect (or 'double effect') of bringing about a good result even though it would not be permissible to cause such a harm as a means to bringing about the same good end." How is this principle used in analyzing real-world ethics? Is it true? Why or why not?

    Tags: Abortion, Academia, Catholicism, Crime, Duty, Ethics, Philosophy, Thomas Aquinas, War

  • Q&A: Thinking of Virtues as Duties: 28 Jan 2014, Question 1
  • Question: What's wrong with thinking about the virtues as duties? My parents taught me ethics in terms of "duties." So being honest and just was a duty, along with "sharing" and "selflessness." They were simply "the right way to be," period. Now, I tend to think of the Objectivist virtues – rationality, productiveness, honesty, justice, independence, integrity, and pride – as duties. I have a duty to myself to act in these ways. Is that right or is that a mistake?

    Tags: Context, Duty, Duty Ethics, Emotions, Ethics, Meta-Ethics, Motivation, Psychology, Purpose, Values, Virtue

  • Q&A: The Morality of Elective Abortion: 5 Jan 2014, Question 1
  • Question: Is elective abortion morally wrong? Some people support abortion in the cases of rape or incest, as well as in cases of serious medical problems with the fetus or the pregnancy. However, they regard the termination of a normal, healthy pregnancy as morally wrong, particularly as irresponsible. Are such abortions wrong? Does the judgment change if the couple used birth control or not?

    Tags: Abortion, Adoption, Children, Duty, Ethics, Obligation, Parenting, Responsibility, Sacrifice, Self-Sacrifice, Sex

  • Q&A: Pursuing Personal Values in an Imperfect World: 14 Oct 2012, Question 1
  • Question: Given the terrible state of the economy and culture, is it wrong to pursue your own personal values? Shouldn't we all be working full time at counteracting the terrible ideas that run rampant in our culture? Is time taken away from "the good fight" in pursuit of other activities merely a useless distraction, counterproductive, and possibly immoral – as some people claim? Or is the pursuit of your own values a moral way to enjoy one's life in spite of the grim state of the culture, politics, and the economy?

    Tags: Activism, Apocalypticism, Duty, Ethics, Personal Values, Politics, Religion, Sacrifice, Values

  • 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: Obligation, Responsibility, and Duty: 22 Apr 2012, Question 1
  • Question: What is the difference between obligation, responsibility, and duty? Often, people use these terms interchangeably. What's difference between them, if any?

    Tags: Duty, Ethics, Philosophy, Responsibility


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