On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll chat live on "Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Five" with listeners. The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Sunday, 6 November 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Generosity

  • Q&A: Requiting Evil with Good: 3 Aug 2014, Question 2
  • Question: Can evil be requited with good? Christians claim that evil can and ought to be requited with good. So in "Les Miserables", the Bishop inspired Jean Valjean to reform by telling the police that he willingly gave Jean the silver plate (and added the candlesticks) even though Jean stole the silver. Does this strategy ever work to reform an evildoer? Or is it merely a license to further evil? In some cases, might it be useful to "heap burning coals on [an evildoer's] head"? If so, when and why?

    Tags: Benevolence, Christianity, Communication, Ethics, Evil, Generosity, Justice, Moral Errors, Moral Judgment, Moral Wrongs, Religion

  • Q&A: Limiting Another's Generosity: 6 Jul 2014, Question 3
  • Question: How much generosity is too much? Generosity seems like a trait that would fit well into your theory of moral amplifiers. But how does one best deal with someone who is being overly generous? I recently relocated to a new city and one of my coworkers with whom I am friendly has really gone above and beyond trying to help me get settled. She is constantly offering to help, lend me things, or even give me things to make life easier. I appreciate her offers and turn down many of them as politely as I can. But I struggle to find the right balance of accepting her generosity in due proportion to our friendship. She seems to be fairly wealthy, so I don't think her offers are sacrificial in any way, my issue is that we are friends, but not close enough friends to justify the incessant barrage of motherly offerings. Through consistent communication about what I am willing to accept and what I won't – and also owing to actually getting settled in the new city – she's backed off a bit. More broadly, how would you recommend dealing with this sort of problem? How can a person make sure not to make this mistake of being overly generous?

    Tags: Boundaries, Ethics, Generosity, Moral Amplifiers, Personality, Relationships

  • Q&A: Teaching Children to Share: 22 Sep 2013, Question 2
  • Question: How do I teach my toddlers how to share voluntarily? I'm the father of 23 month-old girl/boy twins who are just beginning to develop morality. I'm also an atheist with strong Objectivist leanings. I don't want to teach my children that they shouldn't commit a particular offense because God is watching them, as that will instill only fear of the unknown in them. What should I do instead? The twins will fight over particular things (e.g. toys, books, plastic containers, etc.). Too often I find myself trying to keep the peace with the one word command of "Share!" Forced sharing offends me but I find myself using it with the children because their understanding is limited and because it's easy to use. What might I do instead?

    Tags: Children, Ethics, Family, Generosity, Parenting, Positive Discipline, Property, Respect, Sharing, Siblings

  • Q&A: Sharing Lecture Notes: 18 Nov 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Is it wrong to refuse to share lecture notes with a lazy student? A classmate of mine is nice enough but a bit odd. She's always at least 30 minutes late for lecture, and she doesn't come to lab sometimes. In lecture, she does not take notes but instead usually draws the whole class period. Today, she asked to borrow some of my lecture notes. I told her that I noticed that she was always late and that she didn't take notes, and she denied that. Still, I told her that lending her my notes would be inconvenient, then I suggested that she ask someone else. Normally, I'd be happy to share my notes, but in this case, I didn't want to share the results of my efforts in attending this class on time, every day, and paying attention. Was that wrong?

    Tags: Communication, Culture, Education, Ethics, Free Society, Generosity, Honesty, Moral Wrongs, Responsibility


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