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dianahsieh

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dianahsieh last won the day on June 5 2015

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About dianahsieh

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  • Birthday 12/13/74

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    http://www.philosophyinaction.com

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    Diana Hsieh
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    I'm a philosopher, radio host, blogger, paleo foodie, gardener, skiier, horse rider, farm gal, entrepreneur, GTD'er, Objectivist, and lover of life!
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    University of Colorado, Boulder
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  1. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on the future of the United States, the value of vulnerability, cheating to get a job back, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 27 September 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. Note: This will be the final episode of Philosophy in Action Radio for the foreseeable future. For details, see: The Closure of Philosophy in Action.This week's questions are: Question 1: The Future of the United States: Is the United States finished as a free country? Lately, I have seen a lot of people in my circles claim that the United States as a free country is dead and done, that tyranny advances each day and it's not isolated, it's everywhere. These are mostly reactions to articles reporting seeming home invasions by police, the FBI's forensic hair match scandal, and other government abuses. The common claim is that the United States now has an inherently corrupt justice system where policemen can end the lives of citizens with impunity and get away with it. My inner skeptic makes me feel that, while this is evidence of a lot of bad things that shouldn't be tolerated, the reaction itself seems disproportionate. While there are systemic problems, I have the impression that it is not all-pervasive and not hopeless. Then again, that could be also my inner optimist trying to tell myself that things are not as bad as they first appear. What is your take on the current climate of the United States? Do you think it is as finished as others claim it is? What kind of tools could you recommend for someone to use in gauging the state of the country more accurately? Question 2: The Value of Vulnerability: Is vulnerability of value? In a recent blog post, you stated "...I'm opting for a 'vulnerability through strength' and 'strength through vulnerability' route..." Could you please explain this idea? Why is vulnerability something that should be cultivated in the first place? It doesn't seem compatible with rational egoism, given that "vulnerability" and "weakness" are often used interchangeably. Question 3: Cheating to Get a Job Back: Should I cheat the system to get my job back? For my main source of income, I work as a virtual call center agent through a freelance company that hires people as independent contractors rather than employees. I don't love the job, but the flexibility it provides is vital to my way of life and pursuit of my central purpose. The arrangement is totally impersonal; nobody at the company that provides the work knows any of the workers; one pretty much just signs up, submits to a background check, and starts working. I recently got fired from the job for violating a company policy that I thought was unimportant. One you get fired, you can't work through them again. However, there are several ways I could do the job again. One is to create an account using my dad's identity with his permission and have him pay me the wages. The other is to get a new social security number by faking the theft of my own identity, (which I would do without stealing any money from anyone). Once I get a new social security number, I could create a new account and continue undetected. I don't want to be dishonest, but I don't want to change my way of life either. What are the moral and practical implications of what I'm considering? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: The Future of America, Vulnerability, Cheating, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast playerStandard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast playerI hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  2. This is belated notification of one of Forbes column from last month: “Free Speech 1, FDA 0“. I discuss an update to my earlier Forbes piece on drug company Amarin’s fight to engage in free speech in the form of off-label marketing of one of its products. Basically, Amarin wanted to give truthful medical information to doctors which would allow them to more effectively use one of their drugs in a way that was legal, but not FDA-approved. The FDA forbade Amarin from engaging in such speech, and Amarin sued the FDA. Last week, Amarin won an important legal victory in federal court. Judge Paul Engelmayer came down firmly on the side of free speech. For more details see the full text of, “Free Speech 1, FDA 0“. (Earlier Forbes piece, “Drug Company Amarin Stands Up For Free Speech Against FDA“, 5/8/2015.) Link to Original
  3. My latest Forbes piece is now out: “The Positive Value of Negative Drug Trials“. I discuss the unfortunate bias against publishing “negative” scientific results that show a drug doesn’t have much clinical benefit, and why it’s in the self-interest of drug companies to still report these. In particular, I highlighted two interesting facts: 1) Most drug trial results are still not being reported to a central registry. 2) Negative results funded by private industry (e.g., pharmaceutical companies) are more likely to be reported than from government-funded research. Fortunately, free market incentives are driving more drug companies towards full disclosure of both positive and negative study results — which will benefit patients. For more details, read the full text of “The Positive Value of Negative Drug Trials“. Link to Original
  4. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on impartialism in ethics, changing names with marriage, accusations of date rape, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 30 August 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. This week's questions are: Question 1: Impartialism in Ethics: Does ethics require impartiality? Critics of egoism, particularly utilitarians, accuse egoists of being biased in favor of oneself without justification. They assert that a scientific ethics must be neutral and impartial: it must take a third-person viewpoint where the self isn't given any special consideration. Are the utilitarians wrong? If so, why should a scientific ethics bias the self over others? Question 2: Changing Names with Marriage: Should I change my name when I marry? I'm a gay man who is engaged to be married. The question has come up about whether or not either of us would change our last name and historically we've said no. We have thought we would just maintain our given names. My fiance doesn't want to change his name and we both think trying to hyphenate our last names would be unwieldy and fussy. But as we've talked about planning a family in the future, it's occurred to me that I actually like the idea of sharing a name with my husband and my children. So, I've been considering changing my name. Somewhat ironically, however, changing my name means giving up a five-generation-old family name in order to take on the name of our new family. I don't mind this irony very much since my decision would be about taking on a family I choose rather than one I don't. What do you think? What pros and cons do you see for changing your name at marriage? Do you see any additional pros or cons for gay men considering this question? Question 3: Accusations of Date Rape: What's the proper response to an accusation of date rape in the absence of hard evidence? When faced with this kind of serious accusation within a social group, what is the proper judgment and course of action? If the victim seems believable, should the accused rapist be shunned or banned from the group? Should private warnings be given to group members? Does refusing to engage in any public discussion of the matter constitute silent assent to the crime? Or should judgment and action be reserved until further evidence comes to light? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Impartialist Ethics, Name Changes, Rape Accusations, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player Standard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  5. My July 29th Forbes column is available: “Genuine Charity Requires Freedom“. I discuss the case of the amazingly generous man James Harrison, whose voluntary charity has helped save the lives of 2 million Australian babies. In Harrison’s case, he literally gave of himself to help others in the form of over 1,100 voluntary blood donations. I then discuss the nature of charity, why it requires freedom, and how compulsory “giving” destroy the morality of charity. For more details, read the full text of “Genuine Charity Requires Freedom“. Link to Original
  6. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on confidence in opinions, delegation in marriage, deriving self-esteem from university study, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 9 August 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. This week's questions are: Question 1: Confidence in Opinions: How much confidence should a person express in her own opinions? I work with a woman who constantly makes declarative statements about things for which she lacks sufficient facts and knowledge. The result is that she is often contradicted and people have to tell her, "That's not true." She will argue with them and then they have to prove her wrong so that the conversation can move forward. By contrast, I've noticed that I often express uncertainty in ways that undermine confidence in my knowledge and experience. The default position I tend to take is that maybe I am missing something and the other people in the conversation can give me that information. How does one learn to strike the right balance between being open to new facts and information but also being confident in one's own knowledge and experience? Question 2: Delegation in Marriage: When is delegation in a marriage irresponsible or unwise? There are some parts of normal adult life that I'm really bad at, in part due to social anxiety. Examples include calling or meeting with companies (airlines, banks, etc) to make changes, writing emails that involve stress or conflict, scheduling events that we'll both attend, budgeting and finance, driving and navigating, and dealing with mechanical stuff. Should I ask my husband to do those chores? If I ask for help, I worry that I'm being weak, lazy, and avoiding my responsibilities. On the other hand, if I try to do the hard things on my own, I often mess up. Where's the line between delegating and shirking? Question 3: Deriving Self-Esteem from University Study: Can a person derive any self-esteem or happiness from university study? Study is not a productive activity: it is preparation for future productivity. In light of this, how can I draw any self-esteem from my studies, whether successful or not? Can I consider my learning as "productive achievement" even though I am not making any money from it or creating anything? Do I have to wait until later to start being happy or feeling self-esteem? Should I be working on the side while taking classes? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Confidence, Delegation in Marriage, University Study, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player Standard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  7. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on morality versus prudence, concealing a relationship from parents, death notifications via Facebook, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 2 August 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. This week's questions are: Question 1: Morality Versus Prudence: In ethics, should moral actions be differentiated from prudential actions? I often hear academic philosophers say that a person should clearly distinguish prescriptive actions that are "prudential" from those that are "moral." For example, if I want to bake a cake properly, I have to follow a certain set of procedures. However, whether I bake the cake or not – or whether I follow the recipe competently or not – has no bearing on my moral standing. Generally, "prudential actions" are considered actions that would benefit me and not harm others. By contrast, I hear it said that whether my action is moral or immoral is determined by whether it harms others. In moral philosophy, is it valid to separate that which is prudential from that which is moral — and to do so in that way? Question 2: Concealing a Relationship from Parents: Is it wrong to conceal information from my father while I live in his home? I am a 21 year old gay college student still living with my parents as I pay my own tuition and progress through college. Both of my parents know I'm gay. My mom is completely fine with it; it's a sore subject with my dad, and it's something we don't discuss. He threatened to kick me out of the house when I came out but then recanted because (I think) he's wrestling with the morality of the issue. Two months ago, I started dating a really wonderful guy. He comes over often and sometimes spends the night. My mom knows we are together; she is happy for me and approves of my relationship. I haven't told my dad for fear of being kicked out. My dad specifically told me that he "did not want that kind of activity in his home." I understand that it is his house (as well as my mom's, who doesn't have a problem with my sexuality), and I try to keep things low-key whenever my boyfriend comes over; I also try to spend as much time with him away from my home as possible. But. sometimes I would just like to sit down in the comfort of my own room and watch a movie with him. I think my dad would kick me out if he ever thought there was anything going on between me and this guy he knows only as my friend. Am I obligated to tell him about our relationship? Doing so may result in me having to couch-hop until I find a suitable dwelling. It may also make it impossible for me to continue paying my own tuition, a thing I'm quite proud to be able to do. Living at home helps cut a lot of expenses to make that possible. But, is it immoral to lie to my dad about my relationship? I am planning to move out after my bills for the semester are paid and I can save up enough money to afford the down payment on an apartment or house. I will not be keeping my relationship a secret from anyone after that. But, until then, do you think it is immoral to continue lying? I do not understand or sympathize with my dad's aversion to my sexuality. He's told me once before that no one else can know, because it would bring embarrassment to him. I think that's second-handed and irrational. My sexuality has no bearing on anyone but me. Still, I feel like I have to lie to protect my own interests. Question 3: Death Notifications via Facebook: 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? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Morality Versus Prudence, Secrets from Parents, Death Notifications, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player Standard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  8. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Arthur Zey and I will answer questions on honesty under confidentiality agreements, adopting hobbies for just for dating, efficiency in writing, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 26 July 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. This week's questions are: Question 1: Honesty under Confidentiality Agreements: Do confidentiality agreements justify privacy lies? Some professions, like clinical psychology, law, or sex work commonly utilize confidentiality agreements between professionals and clients due to the sensitive nature of the information shared between them. Generally, such professionals can (and do) have a policy of refusing to answer any questions about their clients and so avoid any supposed need for privacy lies to protect from nosy inquiries. However, these agreements also often include the understanding (sometimes explicit) that, if professional and client should ever meet in a social situation, the professional would follow the client's lead about if and how they knew each other. This means that a dishonest client could push the professional into a lie. Yet even in the case where both people are basically honest, the mere act of showing recognition of each other could compromise the client's privacy if the professional's job is not a secret. And there are reasonable social situations in which you couldn't hide familiarity without deceit of some kind. So ethically, we seem to be stuck between (1) clients having their privacy might be violated if they are unlucky enough to encounter their professional outside the office or (2) professionals having to lie to protect the privacy of their clients. Is there another alternative here? If not, what's the best course? Question 2: Adopting Hobbies for Just for Dating: Is it wrong to take up a hobby for the sake of dating? I'm single, and I want to meet more women. Is it wrong or unwise to take up hobbies like dancing, acting, painting, singing, or guitar just to have some skill to show and to meet women interested in those activities? I wouldn't take up these hobbies without the dating angle: I'm just not interested in them, at least not right now. Is that wrong? Question 3: Efficiency in Writing: How can a person improve his productive output in writing? How can he measure and increase his efficiency in writing – whether for blog posts, essays, papers, or anything else? Should a person set a goal of completing a given writing in a given time frame? Should he track time spent? Should he limit editing? Or something else? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Confidentiality Agreements, Dating Strategies, Efficiency in Writing, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player Standard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  9. This article — Exes Explain Ghosting, the Ultimate Silent Treatment — is fascinating discussion of “ghosting,” which “refers to ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out.” Check out the follow-up too. I’ve never had this happen in a romantic relationship, but my once-best-friend ghosted me a few years ago. We’d grown apart when she moved across the country, such that we were only talking every few months, but we were still on friendly terms. Then we reconnected in an intense in-person conversation when she happened to be in town, at a time when I was really, really struggling. We promised to talk again in a week… and she just disappeared. I called and emailed repeatedly but I never heard from her again. The whole thing was very painful for me, and I wasn’t the only friend that she dropped in such a fashion. All of us knew her for years, and none of us expected that she’d ever do that to us. At least we saw clearly (after a while) that the problem resided squarely with her, not us. Still, I can feel the hurt in everyone that I’ve spoken to about it. Truly, ghosting has got to be the most hurtful and destructive way to end a relationship with a friend or lover, hands down. Speaking personally, I’d much rather come home to find a lover in bed with someone else. That, at least, is comprehensible. What I find so interesting is that the ghosters seem to think that what they’re doing is easy and clean and neat for everyone… and wow, are they ever full of shit. The only case discussed that I would regard as justified is the woman who ghosted the husband that she discovered was cheating on her left and right. Cases in which a person flees a relationship that is dangerous or abusive… well, that’s not “ghosting.” In those cases, the person ghosted knows damn well why the other person disappeared, even if he/she pretends otherwise. Notably, some of those stories in the follow-up article are not “ghosting” — and I suspect that’s because the writer didn’t want to make the ghosters seem like the worse freaking people on the planet. Basically, if you don’t have the psychological capacity to end a relationship in an honest or respectful way… if you can’t even say to the person, “Sorry, but I just can’t do this any more: it’s over,” then you have no business being in any kind of close friendship or romantic relationship. Link to Original
  10. On Saturday, I posted a link to this article — Tennis’s Top Women Balance Body Image With Ambition — to Facebook, with the following comment: I read this article last night, and it made me want to cry. I like what many of these women have to say, but it’s just horrible that professional freaking athletes feel such ambivalence about putting on muscle just because they’re women. And dammit, they look amazing. A friend asked me why I was horrified, and I wrote the following comment. It’s a bit rough, but I thought it worth reposting here: Ah, now that’s a bit difficult to articulate, but let me try. Overall, I’d say that conventional body standards for women in our culture are pretty irrational. As far as they concern what women can control, they’re almost exclusively about being more slender. That’s the top priority — to be pursued and/or achieved at the price of health (short-term and long-term), capacities (not just athletic pursuits but daily life tasks), etc. That’s seen in the supermarket “fitness” magazines (which always showcase slender, non-muscular women on their covers) … in the focus on “losing weight” (rather than losing fat and certainly not gaining muscle) … in the ridiculous belief / fear that lifting any kind of weights will cause women to quickly resemble bodybuilders (as if!!) … the quick and near universal compliments obtained from slimming down (whatever the price) … and so on. So the fact that the standards are irrational and damaging to women’s health and performance is part of the problem here. That’s the easy part, I think. The more difficult part, I think, is perhaps seeing that greater physical strength and capacity in a woman need not undermine her sense of her own femininity, nor a man’s appreciation / enjoyment of that. Yes, greater physical strength and capacity in a woman might present a greater challenge to a man in a sexual relationship — not just physically, but because of the greater self-confidence that comes with that. And some men might not be willing or able to live up to that challenge. But many can (or could) — and that meeting of strength with strength can be something special in a sexual relationship. Moreover, the feeling of being deeply embedded in the body that can come with intense physical training… well, again, something special. I’ve got quite a bit of raw strength relative to the other women in krav, but I’ve now sparred with enough good men to know, in a deep-down way, the overwhelming power of masculine strength, when cultivated. (It’s pretty freaking awesome to experience that, in fact.) Even apart from these more physical dimensions, I think that our culture has the view that vulnerability cannot come from a position of strength. That’s why men aren’t supposed to be vulnerable (or terribly emotional) and women are supposed to vulnerable due to weakness. I suppose that’s one way to do it, but I’m opting for a “vulnerability through strength” and “strength through vulnerability” route — both psychologically and physically. And so far, difficult tho it might be, it feels freaking amazing and so right. And in the process, far more dresses and other girly things are being worn, and that feels really right to me too. Fancy that. :-) Link to Original
  11. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on resisting arrest, enjoying Atlas Shrugged, stigmatized property, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 19 July 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. This week's questions are: Question 1: Resisting Arrest: How should the police respond to people resisting arrest? Recently, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York City have made headlines because they were killed by police officers who, many feel, used excessive force during their respective encounters. While the two cases were quite different, they did have one thing in common. In both cases, the officers were compelled to use force which resulted in lethal injury when the men, Brown and Garner respectively, resisted arrest. Brown attacked officer Wilson and then ran away, refusing to stop until Wilson chased him down. Garner refused to be arrested. Is there a more objective way to deal with an arrest in a free society? Since, in a free society, the government has a monopoly over the use of force, does that mean that the police are allowed to use brutal force when a suspect refuses to comply with the officer's demands, regardless of the charges against the person in question? Question 2: Enjoying Atlas Shrugged: How can I be less annoyed with Atlas Shrugged? I love Ayn Rand's ideas, and I thoroughly enjoy her non-fiction. I want to enjoy Atlas Shrugged and her other fiction more, but I'm often annoyed with the aesthetics of her work. I acknowledge the fact that the novels are great, but every time I see mention of Francisco's mocking smile or John Galt's mocking eyes or Hank Rearden's mocking laugh or John Galt's implacable voice or New York City's implacable skyline or Dagny Taggart's silent terror, I just want to pull my hair out. I find myself wanting to throw the book at the wall every time she uses those words! I understand that loving her novels is not a prerequisite for applying her philosophy, but I really desire to experience the joy that many other people feel while reading her work. How can I get more enjoyment out of it? Question 3: Stigmatized Property: Should sellers of homes be obliged to report the spiritual or criminal history of the property? Many state laws require that "stigmatized" properties, such as those with a history of paranormal activity or a past owner such as Jeffrey Dahmer, be reported by real estate agents. That leads to the home being devalued in price. Should such a law exist? Moreover, should potential buyers take advantage of any "stigmatized" property, thereby offering and paying less, even though belief in paranormal activity is irrational? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Resisting Arrest, Enjoying Atlas Shrugged, Stigmatized Property, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player Standard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  12. US News & World Report had a nice piece on the debate over whether gun violence should be considered a “public health” issue, and they quoted me as explaining why it should not be: I thought they characterized my views fairly, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they even turned the quote into one of the lead article graphics! Link to Original
  13. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on questions about religious beliefs, the power of fiction, trusting a therapist, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 12 July 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast onthe episode's archive page. This week's questions are: Question 1: Questions about Religious Beliefs: How should a doctor respond to questions about her religious beliefs? My wife recently told me about a colleague of hers – a physician and an atheist – being caught off guard when asked by the parents of one of her cancer patients in the hospital if she believed in God. These parents wanted their son treated only by a doctor who believes in God, and my wife's friend did not qualify. How should she have answered their question? Question 2: The Power of Fiction: Why does fiction arouse such a powerful emotional response? Why are people moved emotionally by literature and movies, even though they know that they're fictional? Shouldn't people respond emotionally only to real events, not products of imagination? Is there a rational basis for our emotional response to fiction? Question 3: Trusting a Therapist: How can I trust a therapist to help me? I have psychological problems, and I probably need help. However, I have a negative view of the mental health profession in general due to bad experiences in the past. It bothers me that therapists are educated in modern universities where all forms of leftism and equally irrational psychological theories predominate. In my state, many licensed "counselors" are just social workers (the most leftist whackjob profession of all time) with government licenses to counsel people. I am afraid that they will have me involuntarily committed if I am honest about my thoughts of suicide, which I have ready plans to carry out if I decide to. How can I trust anybody in this [expletive deleted] profession? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Religious Questions, the Power of Fiction, Trusting Therapists, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player Standard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  14. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on satisfying psychological needs, insane murderers and the death penalty, ideological consistency, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 5 July 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. This week's questions are: Question 1: Satisfying Psychological Needs: What should a person do to bear psychological needs he temporarily can't satisfy? For right now, the context of my life makes it so that it's hard to satisfy the needs for companionship. Most of the people around me don't offer deep and intense enough values to satisfy it, even as I do have friends. The majority of the people who could fulfill my needs live out of state. Furthermore, the industry I work in, by and large, prohibits me from being able to attend clubs and whatnot, as I usually work when they run. As such, I've got to grin and bear my loneliness for the meanwhile, temporarily. How can I make myself feel better in doing so? Question 2: Insane Murderers and the Death Penalty: Should hopelessly insane murderers be put to death? Imagine a totally psychotic and extremely mentally disturbed person who has a propensity to violently kill innocent people. I am talking about a really stark raving bonkers individual. This person has no capability to think and act rationally. How can this person have any rights whatsoever? Why should it be the job of the state to provide for this person when they are locked up in an asylum? Would it be moral and practical to simply execute this person, thus removing the burden of having to keep an eye on him in case he escapes and kill someone? Question 3: Ideological Consistency: Does ideological consistency lead to absurdities and wrongs? Under "zero tolerance" policies, children have been suspended or expelled from schools for innocuous actions like drawing a picture of a gun. Advocates of free markets claim that a business owner has the right to discriminate against customers for any trivial or irrational reason, including skin color or hair color. In both the cases, the problem seems to be taking some idea to its utmost extreme, to the point of absurdity. Shouldn't we be more moderate and flexible in our views? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Unmet Needs, Criminal Insanity, Ideological Consistency, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player Standard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  15. Philosophy in Action Radio: Show Announcements

    On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on exceptions to rules, judgments of men versus women for sexual relationships with minors, ideological consistency, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 28 June 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. This week's questions are: Question 1: Exceptions to Rules: When should exceptions to established rules be granted? People often oppose some proposed exception to the rules on the grounds that doing so would set a dangerous precedent and engender abuse. For example, suppose that an honest and diligent student is in the hospital, and he wants to keep up with his school work as much as possible. His parents propose that he take his math exam from the hospital, and they'll monitor him during the exam. The school refuses on the grounds that if all students were allowed to do that, then cheating would be rampant because not all parents would be honest or diligent monitors. Is that a valid reason for refusing this proposed exception to the rules? When should exceptions be granted to established rules? Question 2: Judgments of Men Versus Women for Sexual Relationships with Minors: Why aren't women strongly condemned for sexual relationships with underage boys? A few years ago, I saw a flurry of news stories about female teachers in their twenties committing statutory rape by having sex with their teenage male students. At the time, many public commentators and comedians said that they didn't see how the boys could have been harmed, and they thought an adult male teacher having sex with a female student would be much more predatory. Besides, those commentators often added, the female teachers in these cases were "hot." At the time, I agreed with those views, but lately, I've been thinking that I should check my premises. So is it the case that an adult man having sex with a female minor is more predatory than that of an adult woman having sex with a male minor? Are the teenage male minor's rights are violated if he is seduced into a sexual relationship with a female teacher? is a double standard at work here? Question 3: Ideological Consistency: Does ideological consistency lead to absurdities and wrongs? Under "zero tolerance" policies, children have been suspended or expelled from schools for innocuous actions like drawing a picture of a gun. Advocates of free markets claim that a business owner has the right to discriminate against customers for any trivial or irrational reason, including skin color or hair color. In both the cases, the problem seems to be taking some idea to its utmost extreme, to the point of absurdity. Shouldn't we be more moderate and flexible in our views? After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions." To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Rules, Sexual Transgressions, Ideological Consistency, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action's Podcast RSS Feed: Enhanced M4A Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player Standard MP3 Feed: Subscribe via iTunes or another podcast player I hope you join us for the live show or enjoy the podcast later. Also, please share this announcement with any friends interested in these topics! Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
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