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)


Mental Illness

  • Q&A: Dating People with Psychological Problems: 11 May 2014, Question 2
  • Question: Is it a mistake to enter into a serious relationship with a person with serious psychological problems? Recently, my wife took her own life after a long struggle with major depression and other psychological issues. When we started dating, I saw clearly that she had issues although they were not as bad at the time. She was also intelligent, beautiful, and ambitious – among other good qualities. At the time, I thought she could work through her psychological issues with support, and she did improve for a while. However, after her loss, I've decided that, when and if I'm to the point where I'm interested in dating again, I will avoid becoming involved with women who display clear psychological problems. This decision has forced me to wonder if it was a mistake to become involved with my wife in the first place. So is it a mistake to enter into a serious relationship, knowing that the person has serious psychological struggles?

    Tags: Decision-Making, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mistakes, Psychology, Regret, Relationships, Romance

  • Q&A: Romantic Infatuation: 1 Sep 2013, Question 4
  • Question: Is it wrong to indulge romantic infatuation? I am infatuated with a young woman for whom I am not a suitable match, including because I am 30 and she is 16. It is strictly a fantasy; I make no effort to pursue or to make my feelings known to her and have no intention to ever do so. However, in private, I am deeply in love with her and practically worship her like a celebrity and collect all her pictures. (I refrain from masturbating to her because doing so makes me feel guilty.) Due to deficiencies in my life that I consider unfixable, I have low self-esteem and have given up on dating for the foreseeable future, if not indefinitely. Do you think my behavior is creepy, immoral, or bad for my own well being?

    Tags: Emotions, Ethics, Love, Mental Illness, Psychology, Romance

  • Q&A: The Limits of Sympathy for Failures: 18 Aug 2013, Question 2
  • Question: How much sympathy should I have for people failing in their obligations due to personal struggles? In the past two years, I've witnessed two businesses (both one-person operations) crash and burn due to the owners' inability to continue to operate while suffering from severe depression. I don't know the trigger in the first case, but in the second case, the depression was precipitated by a divorce, then the murder of a toddler in the family. The business is online, and unhappy customers have been airing their frustration with the fact that they never received goods already paid-for. Some friends are stepping in to help, but the owner's reputation has been ruined. How much slack should I – or others aware of the situation – cut the owner? How far should my sympathy go?

    Tags: Benevolence, Emotions, Ethics, Justice, Mental Illness, Moral Wrongs, Relationships, Sympathy

  • Q&A: Mental Illness as an Excuse for Wrongdoing: 28 Jul 2013, Question 3
  • Question: Does mental illness excuse wrong behavior? Recently, a friend of mine apologized for making hurtful and unfair comments to me. (It's not the first time she's done that.) She said that she's been struggling with depression, and she's now on anti-depressants and in therapy. I'm not sure how to take that. I feel for her, yet I also feel like I'm being manipulated into overlooking her bad behavior because she's "sick." How should struggles with mental illness figure into explanations and apologies for wrong behavior – if at all?

    Tags: Communication, Ethics, Friendship, Judgment, Manipulation, Mental Illness, Moral Wrongs, Relationships

  • Q&A: Bad Ideas as a Cause of Mental Illness: 9 Jun 2013, Question 2
  • Question: Can the consistent practice of wrong ideas lead to mental illness? Often, the most consistent practitioners of an ideology – such as Naziism or Islam – seem to become increasingly unhinged over time. Does fully embracing a fantasy-based ideology entail or encourage mental illness, such as paranoia and delusions? If so, are such people then not responsible for what they say or do?

    Tags: Epistemology, Mental Illness, Philosophy, Psychology, Rationality, Religion

  • Q&A: Drugs as Treatment for Mental Illness: 28 Apr 2013, Question 4
  • Question: Is taking antidepressants and other prescribed drugs for mental problems a form of evasion? I'm new to the philosophy of Objectivism, and I've seen that it's rapidly helping cure the last parts of a depression I went through last year. I started taking Adderal about eight months ago, and it has helped tremendously. But I wonder: Does taking these drugs or other antidepressants conflict with the principle that a person should never evade reality?

    Tags: Ethics, Evasion, Health, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Psychology

  • Q&A: The Reality of Mental Illness: 21 Apr 2013, Question 1
  • Question: Is mental illness nothing more than a myth? It seems that many members of the free-market movement are enthused about the theory, promulgated by the likes of Thomas Szasz and Jeffrey A. Schaler, that there is no such thing as mental illness. They say that if one cannot pinpoint a direct physiological cause for behavior considered "mentally ill," there are no grounds for referring to that behavior as a symptom of some "illness." Furthermore, they argue that the concept of "mental illness" is simply a term that the social establishment uses to stigmatize nonconformist behavior of which it does not approve. Is there anything to these claims? If not, what's the proper understanding of the basic nature of mental illness?

    Tags: Ethics, Health, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Meta-Ethics, Philosophy, Psychology, Relativism, Subconscious, Subjectivism

  • Podcast: Preview of Finding Good Prospects for Romance and Friendship: 10 Jun 2010
  • Summary: Many people lament the difficulty of finding good prospects for a lasting, deep, and happy romance. Others have trouble finding worthwhile friends. Yet most people who bemoan the lack of prospects could be doing much more than they are to increase their odds of success. Too many people don't adopt a purposeful approach but instead wait passively... and complain.

    This 90-minute podcast discusses how to make yourself a good prospect – and how to find good prospects – for romance and friendship.

    Tags: Character, Communication, Ethics, Friendship, Lifestyle, Luck, Marriage, Mental Illness, Opportunities, Personality, Psychological Visibility, Psychology, Romance, Skills, Values


    Share This Page