On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on abortion and rights in pregnancy, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 26 October 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Etiquette

  • Q&A: Bans on Smoking: 9 Sep 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Do smoking bans violate rights? Cities are banning smoking in private businesses like bars and even smoke shops. Are these bans immoral – meaning, do they violate rights? Does second-hand smoke violate the rights of non-smoking patrons or employees? What should be the policy for government-owned property like parks, court houses, sidewalks, etc?

    Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, Law, Politics, Rights, Smoking, Torts

  • Q&A: Second-hand Smoke: 1 Jul 2012, Question 2
  • Question: It is wrong to inflict second-hand smoke on other people? Although smoking is detrimental to a person's health, whether or not someone smokes is (or should be) a matter of his personal choice. However, what is the proper moral and legal status of "second-hand smoke"? If second-hand smoke contributes to the development of respiratory diseases or if others simply find it noxious, shouldn't people refrain from smoking in public or smoking around people who haven't consented to it? In a free society, would and should most workplaces ban smoking? Could second-hand smoke be considered a tort, such that the state should forbid smoking around people who object to it?

    Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, Law, Politics, Rights, Smoking, Torts

  • Q&A: Public Breastfeeding: 8 Apr 2012, Question 2
  • Question: Is breastfeeding children in public wrong? My wife and I want to have kids, and one question we have concerns public breastfeeding. Is it immodest or improper to breastfeed in public? Should stores permit or forbid it on their premises? Should public breastfeeding be restricted or banned by law as indecent?

    Tags: Breastfeeding, Children, Ethics, Etiquette, Parenting

  • Q&A: Unfriendly Disputes in Online Communities: 25 Mar 2012, Question 1
  • Question: Why are disputes so belligerent in online communities? I've noticed that people get into very loud and heated disputes online, whereas that doesn't seem to happen in local communities. Disputes in local communities tend to be less frequent, less belligerent, and last for a shorter time - even when some people end up hating each other and refusing to have anything to do with each other in the end. Why is that? Also, why do people who are closest with each other (whether close friends, dating, or married) seem to agree more on hot-button issues? Are people more willing to reject a stranger's arguments than those of a friend? Is that an error?

    Tags: Communication, Conflict, Emotions, Etiquette, Friendship, Internet, Objectivity, Relationships, Social Media

  • Q&A: Restrooms for the Transgendered in Transition: 30 Oct 2011, Question 2
  • Question: Which bathroom should a pre-operative transgendered person use? The brutal attack at McDonald's on a transgendered person in April 2011 was apparently started because that person used the ladies restroom, which was already occupied by a 14 year old. Was the transgendered person wrong to use that restroom?

    Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, GLBT, Medicine, Personal Identity, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Rights, Science

  • Q&A: Public Nudity and Rights: 25 Sep 2011, Question 2
  • Question: Do restrictions on nudity and sex visible to others violate rights? While having a zestful online debate, someone claimed that Ayn Rand contradicts herself in claiming that public nudity should be censored. (See "Thought Control" in The Ayn Rand Letter.) Since sex is a beautiful act, why should people be protected from it? Could a ban on visible pornography or sex be a slippery slope to other intrusions by government?

    Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, Free Speech, Law, Nudity, Nuisances, Pornography, Rights, Sex

  • Q&A: Appropriate Contexts for Nudity: 25 Sep 2011, Question 1
  • Question: What's the proper approach to nudity? Should we all be nude all the time? Should nudity be saved for your lover only? Should children see their parents naked? Should we have clothing-optional get-togethers with friends? Basically, what is your view of the proper contexts for nudity?

    Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, Family, Family, Nudity, Parenting, Rights, Sex

  • Q&A: Tact Versus Honesty: 26 Jun 2011, Question 3
  • Question: Is it dishonest to use tact when talking to someone? When I have something important to tell someone and I am concerned that the other person might be put on the defensive or have hurt feelings, I try to say what I need to say with tact. That is, I change what I say from brutal honesty to something easier for a person to hear and accept. However, I worry that I'm being dishonest in doing so. When does using tact cross the line into dishonesty?

    Tags: Communication, Ethics, Etiquette, Honesty

  • Q&A: Brutal Honesty: 24 Apr 2011, Question 2
  • Question: Is it rationally selfish to be brutally honest in some contexts? Often, you need to tell a person some hard truth, and you can do so either tactfully or brutally. In many instances, you might want to be brutally honest because you fear that the person will not understand what you say if you're tactful. So which approach is better?

    Tags: Ethics, Etiquette, Honesty

  • Q&A: The Basis of Manners: 24 Apr 2011, Question 1
  • Question: How do you objectively define manners? Is that even possible? What makes some action rude or polite? Is it purely subjective or based on personal values? For example, some people think that guests ought to take off their shoes in another person's house, while others don't care or even prefer shoes to remain on the feet. And some people think that putting elbows on the dinner table or feet on the coffee table is barbaric, while others regard that as fine. Since manners vary from person to person, how do you "mind your manners" when interacting with other people? Or should you not bother with that, and instead do what you please?

    Tags: Conflict, Culture, Ethics, Etiquette, Relationships

  • Q&A: Helpful Criticism of Others: 20 Feb 2011, Question 1
  • Question: How can I criticize someone's work without hurting their feelings? In student theater circles, I struggle to be honest when asked what I thought of an actor's performance, or a director's job, or the writer's work. The writing can be very bad and the performances pretty flat too. My first instinct is to latch onto anything positive I can in the play, and to just talk about that. However, then I seem to be someone afraid to offer criticism to someone's face, and I'd hate to criticize behind their back. So how can I be critical in a helpful and friendly way?

    Tags: Communication, Conflict, Emotions, Etiquette, Relationships

  • Q&A: Dealing with Severely Irrational People: 14 Nov 2010, Question 1
  • Question: What is the proper etiquette in regards to dealing with a deeply irrational person you have to deal with temporarily? Especially when his irrationality interferes with your value pursuits to some extent.

    Tags: Communication, Conflict, Ethics, Etiquette, Rationality, Relationships

  • Q&A: Contentious Objectivist Debates: 7 Nov 2010, Question 2
  • Question: Objectivists seem to be disagreeing a lot recently about some hot button issues. Do you have any principles to suggest on how to best handle such disagreements?

    Tags: Communication, Conflict, Etiquette, Justice, Objectivist Movement, Relationships

  • Q&A: Maintaining Civility Online: 31 Oct 2010, Question 6
  • Question: Could you give or recommend a set of guidelines for blog/online discussion etiquette? How can someone maximize their benefit from online discussions and relationships?

    Tags: Conflict, Ethics, Etiquette, Internet, Relationships, Social Media


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