Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

dianahsieh

New Intellectual
  • Posts

    1850
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    9

Everything posted by dianahsieh

  1. Justin Blackman on “net neutrality”: Imagine if hard drive providers had been so heavily regulated at the start of the tech boom that only a few, government-approved companies were able to bring their products to the marketplace. We would have never witnessed the same rapid expansion of storage capacity over cost, as there would have been far less incentive to innovate in such a stifling market. Software, however, would have continued to advance in its own relatively free domain, and would have very quickly run up against the limitations imposed by artificial controls on storage media. In that environment, some software companies would start cutting deals with hardware and OS platform providers. They might, for example, contract that a certain amount of storage space always be dedicated to their product in order to guarantee a certain level of performance for their end users. The government would then step in and tell these companies that hard drive access must be totally equal, and that no single company should be able to contract for any privileged access to storage. What consumer would want this situation at all? The free hardware market is clearly far superior, because hard drive space is so plentiful and expanding so rapidly that storage limitations are, at worst, simply a matter of end user preference. Now, imagine if the telecom industry had not been so heavily regulated by government that only a few, government-approved providers were able to bring telecommunications to the marketplace. Would we even be having this debate about net neutrality? A damned good question. Link to Original
  2. My latest Forbes column is now up: “Drug Company Amarin Stands Up For Free Speech Against FDA“. Here is the opening: Of course, drug companies should not be allowed to disseminate false or misleading information about their products. That can and should be punished as fraud. But both doctors and patients benefit when drug companies are allowed to publish truthful information. Bonus infographic on the onerous FDA approval process! Link to Original
  3. On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on waivers to rights-violating laws, the validity of intuition, overcoming past failures, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 10 May 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: Waivers to Rights-Violating Laws: Are waivers to rights-violating laws good or bad? There are many examples of immoral laws in which the government initiates force against individuals. There are also many examples of groups of people being carved out of the application of such laws via waivers. Some waivers are based on rational motivations, such as business exemptions from Obamacare based on economic burdens. Some waivers are based on irrational motivations, such as religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws or requirements to provide insurance for birth control because compliance would conflict with a "religious conscience." If we begin by agreeing that all initiation of force is immoral, how can we proceed with analyzing whether waivers to immoral laws are good or bad? Are the exceptions good if they're based on rational reasons and bad if based on irrational reasons? Or should we think of the exceptions as either universally good or bad? Philosophically, I'm confused. On one hand, how can I not support all waivers when, in fact, they would result in less initiation of force? On the other hand, I can think of a philosophical argument against all waivers on the following basis: unequal standards for the application of political force implies a variance in the ethical standards which implies a variance in the metaphysical nature of man. If we accept the implication that there are essential differences in our nature as human beings, then we have given up the objective basis for rights and open the door to widespread destruction of freedom. Is that right? How should a person who wants to consistently support individual rights think about this issue of waivers, in principle? Question 2: The Validity of Intuition: Does intuition have any validity? Intuition is defined as "the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning." Assuming that we're not talking about mystical insight, is this possible? When, if ever, should a person rely on such intuitions? How should he check them? Question 3: Overcoming Past Failures: How can I overcome my past failure to capitalize on the perfect opportunity? Two years ago, after years of struggling in the post-2008 job market, I had a job opportunity that could have been the best thing that ever happened to me. It was a job that represents my values and could have brought me much-needed financial success if I had pulled it off. But it was also an extremely difficult, demanding, and stressful proposition, and I was uncertain whether I had what it would take to succeed at it. To make matters worse, when it came along, I was depressed to the point of having lost the will to live. In my bad emotional state, I was unable to go through with the job, and I let the opportunity slip. In the two years since then, I have done nothing but hold down an menial job while reflecting on the missed opportunity. I can't move on or get over the fact of what I did and have become almost obsessed with it. I need to approach the employer and ask him for another chance at it. It is doubtful that he would say yes, but I have nothing to lose by trying. However, for all the same reasons I didn't go through with it before, I still cannot work up the will to do it. Every day I wake up wanting to die and I am so depressed that I can't feel the warmth of a great opportunity; everything just seems hopeless and pointless. How can I rehabilitate myself enough approach the employer for a second chance? 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: Government Waivers, Intuition, Overcoming Failures, 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.
  4. Last week's live broadcast was delayed for personal reasons, but I posted the podcast of a lecture titled "Why Personality Matters in Politics... But Not in the Way You Think" so that I wouldn't be skipping two weeks in a row. In any case, here's the announcement for this Sunday... again (sort of). On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on doctrine of double effect, the obligation to report a crime, cutting ties with homophobic family members, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 3 May 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: Doctrine of Double Effect: 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 has this principle used in analyzing real-world ethics? Is it true? Why or why not? Question 2: The Obligation to Report a Crime: When is a person obliged to report a crime? About ten years ago, as a nurse, I heard a patient planning to do something illegal – particularly, to lie to an insurance company about the relationship between her injuries and the car accident so that she could keep all the settlement money. At the time, I decided to disengage but not confront or report her. I opted for that due to concerns about patient privacy, the non-violence of the planned crime, and the fact that the insurance company could detect her lie from her medical records. Recently, I've been thinking about the situation again. I'm trying to come up with a principle to apply, and I'm getting all muddled. What is my moral responsibility to intervene or report when I know that another person is planning or has done something illegal – meaning, something that would violate someone's rights? Does my responsibility change if it's a friend (assumed in confidence) or stranger (overheard in public)? Does it matter if the crime has already taken place or is merely in the works? Where is the line regarding severity of the crime? (I'd obviously report if I even heard a stranger plotting murder.) Also, what if you might be harmed if you report, such as in the case of a gang murder? Is there some basic principle that can clarify when a person is obliged to report knowledge of a crime? Question 3: Cutting Ties with Homophobic Family Members: Should I cut ties with my homophobic family? My boyfriend and I visit my family every year for Christmas, and every year they treat him rudely and unfairly. This is solely because they do not accept my sexuality, and they blame him for it. I have made it very clear that if their behavior continues, I will no longer visit them on holidays. They always agree to my terms, but as soon as we arrive, they immediately go back on their word. To make matters worse, I visited them alone this summer for my birthday. During my visit, the daughter of a family friend "just happened to stop by." It was very clear to me that this was a set up. When we received a moment alone, I told her that I was in a happy, committed relationship with a man. Her reaction showed that she was entirely deceived. I left the house, and I have not spoken to my family since. I have no desire to have a relationship with them. Should I permanently end the relationship? 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: Double Effect, Earning Money, Homophobic Family, 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. Next Tuesday, Ari Armstrong will deliver a lecture for CU Boulder Philosophy Department’s Think! series entitled “Ayn Rand and the Scope of One’s Interests.” I think that Ari will do a marvellous job with this topic, so I hope that some of my readers can attend! Here are the details: When: Tuesday, April 28, 7:30 pm Where: University of Colorado, Boulder, Eaton Humanities 1B50 A Think! Talk, sponsored by the Center for Values and Social Policy Abstract: Ayn Rand says that selfishness is a virtue, a claim that many people find odd or outlandish. Won’t an egoist abuse others; ignore the interests of others; free-ride on the efforts of others to better the world; and lie, cheat, and steal if he can get away with it? On the contrary, argued Rand: A rational egoist is concerned with principle, virtue, and justice. How could this be so? The key to the paradox is to discover what, in fact, is in a person’s interests. This talk explores why acting on principle, developing meaningful social relationships, and working toward a rights-respecting society are integral to a person’s rational self-interests. Bio: Ari Armstrong is an associate editor for the Objective Standard and the author of Values of Harry Potter: Lessons for Muggles. He has written about such issues as abortion rights, gun rights, and the drug war for various newspapers, including the Denver Post and Boulder Weekly. In 2009 Ari won the Modern Day Sam Adams award, and in 2011 he was a finalist in the Hoiles Prize for regional journalism. Link to Original
  6. On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on doctrine of double effect, the obligation to report a crime, cutting ties with homophobic family members, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 26 April 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: Doctrine of Double Effect: 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 has this principled used in analyzing real-world ethics? Is it true? Why or why not? Question 2: The Obligation to Report a Crime: When is a person obliged to report a crime? About ten years ago, as a nurse, I heard a patient planning to do something illegal – particularly, to lie to an insurance company about the relationship between her injuries and the car accident so that she could keep all the settlement money. At the time, I decided to disengage but not confront or report her. I opted for that due to concerns about patient privacy, the non-violence of the planned crime, and the fact that the insurance company could detect her lie from her medical records. Recently, I've been thinking about the situation again. I'm trying to come up with a principle to apply, and I'm getting all muddled. What is my moral responsibility to intervene or report when I know that another person is planning or has done something illegal – meaning, something that would violate someone's rights? Does my responsibility change if it's a friend (assumed in confidence) or stranger (overheard in public)? Does it matter if the crime has already taken place or is merely in the works? Where is the line regarding severity of the crime? (I'd obviously report if I even heard a stranger plotting murder.) Also, what if you might be harmed if you report, such as in the case of a gang murder? Is there some basic principle that can clarify when a person is obliged to report knowledge of a crime? Question 3: Cutting Ties with Homophobic Family Members: Should I cut ties with my homophobic family? My boyfriend and I visit my family every year for Christmas, and every year they treat him rudely and unfairly. This is solely because they do not accept my sexuality, and they blame him for it. I have made it very clear that if their behavior continues, I will no longer visit them on holidays. They always agree to my terms, but as soon as we arrive, they immediately go back on their word. To make matters worse, I visited them alone this summer for my birthday. During my visit, the daughter of a family friend "just happened to stop by." It was very clear to me that this was a set up. When we received a moment alone, I told her that I was in a happy, committed relationship with a man. Her reaction showed that she was entirely deceived. I left the house, and I have not spoken to my family since. I have no desire to have a relationship with them. Should I permanently end the relationship? 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: Double Effect, Earning Money, Homophobic Family, 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. Here’s an interesting philosophical question, raised indirectly by philosopher Iskra Fileva on Facebook: If a person refrains from doing a wrong act due to some wrong motive, does that person count as self-controlled (in Aristotle’s sense) or not? For example, a married man wants to have an affair with a co-worker but he refrains — not because he’s pledged his fidelity to his wife, but due to fear of social disapproval if the affair is revealed because she’s black/Jewish/older/Catholic/wiccan/whatever. I don’t think that this counts as self-control (a.k.a. continence) because the person is ignorant of and/or blind to the relevant moral considerations. On Aristotle’s descending moral scale from virtuous to self-controlled to un-self-controlled to vicious (explained briefly here), he’s in the vicious category, even though he happens not to have done the immoral act of cheating on his wife. This is why — as I argue in my book on moral luck — we need to distinguish between judgments of actions, outcomes, and character. These judgments identify different facts and serve different purposes. A person can still be of vicious character, yet not perform any immoral acts. (At least, that can happen in the short term. Long-term, bad acts are pretty darn likely.) That’s only a puzzle if we’re not clear about the various purposes and bases of our various kinds of moral judgments. Link to Original
  8. Forget Inbox Zero… Yesterbox Zero is the sweet spot! With Yesterbox Zero, I have to have all of yesterday’s email processed sometime today by 9 pm (i.e. my daily stand-up meeting with Andrew and Arthur Zey). As a result, I tend to answer only important or interesting emails on the day that I receive them (as opposed to fussing about every new email because I want to stay at Inbox Zero), and then I answer all the rest sometime on the next day, usually in the morning. Then, my inbox is clear to receive this day’s mail. So I delete the unimportant stuff, answer what I please, and leave the rest for later. (I’ve never been able to do a “reply later” folder, as GTD recommends… that’s just a black hole for me.) As a result, since I cleared out my inbox after SnowCon (when I had about 20 messages languishing in my inbox, which took about 5 hours to process), I’ve spent just 1 hour per week on email. It’s amazing. I’ve felt oppressed by my inbox for years, and just this one small change has made so much difference. Link to Original
  9. Lately, I’ve been reading some cross-cultural comparisons — meaning, comparing contemporary American culture to various other cultures of the world — in preparation for my upcoming ATLOSCon talk on the role of philosophy in life. Such comparisons help illuminate the hidden assumptions and dispositions which influence the effect of philosophic principles on a person’s life. I thought that I’d share this delightfully cantankerous gem: 17 Cultural Clashes This European Had in America. Here’s a bit: 3. SMILES MEAN NOTHING When I meet Americans abroad, one of their biggest complaints are along the lines of “nobody smiles on Prague’s trams!” “That waitress was so rude to me! She didn’t even smile!” Goddamnit America – I have the opposite complaint for you. You guys smile way too much. It’s annoying! How can you tell when someone means it? And why the hell would a stranger doing a crossword puzzle on public transport want to look giddy? When people smile in Europe it means something. For example, because Germans don’t go around looking like an American toothpaste commercial when I was with them and they smiled, it lit up the room – you know it’s genuine and you can’t help but smile back, because you are genuinely happy. You’ve shared a joke, or a funny story or you are in love etc. But all the time? When you smile all the time in public it means nothing. Apparently a smile releases endorphins, but if your face is stuck that way I’m sure your dreams of a natural high will fade soon. I’d rather focus on trying to make my life better and have reasons to smile than lie to myself and the world. Despite how surely I sound in this post, because complaining is the theme of the article, the fact that I vent when I mean it, means that when you see me happy you know I’m truly happy. And that is indeed a lot of the time But not all of it! As someone who smiles even more than the average American… I can’t help but laugh! Link to Original
  10. I’m pleased to announce that the book version of Explore Atlas Shrugged, my study guide for Ayn Rand’s epic novel, is now available in paperback and kindle formats. Explore Atlas Shrugged is an in-depth course consisting of study questions, podcasts, and other resources developed by me over the past few years. The course breaks Atlas Shrugged into 20 manageable sessions, each covering about 65 pages of the novel. The newly expanded course — including over 1400 study questions, plot synopses, character summaries, questions for a three-session book club, and a FAQ on creating an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group — is available online at ExploreAtlasShrugged.com. That online course also includes over 22 hours of lively and engaging podcasting. Each podcast — one per session — is an in-depth look at the events, characters, and ideas from those chapters of the novel. The price for all that is $20. Now, I’ve also made available the print material from the course (meaning: everything except the podcasts) available in book form on Amazon. That’s here: Paperback: $19.99 Kindle: $9.99 If you purchase one of these versions, you can access the full online course (including the podcasts) for half price — just $10. For more details, including free previews of the questions, podcasts, and other resources, visit ExploreAtlasShrugged.com Explore Atlas Shrugged will help you gain fresh insights into the complex events, characters, and ideas of Ayn Rand’s epic novel—whether you’ve read it just once or a dozen times before. Notably, the response to Explore Atlas Shrugged has been overwhelmingly positive, including the following remarks: I require students to read Atlas Shrugged in my introductory economics class. Dr. Hsieh’s Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts were an essential tool to help communicate the novel’s lesson and hold effective class discussion. Do not attempt to teach the book without consulting the podcasts first! — Bailey Norwood, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University And: Thank you, thank you, thank you, Diana – our GLO Atlas Reading Group is going so very well. We have about 12-13 people attending, and it is truly the most fun we’ve had in a long time. So much rewarding fun comes out of your ideas and organization. Can’t thank you enough for your efforts!!! And: I just wanted to send you a quick note and thank you for your efforts on Explore Atlas Shrugged. As part of the Charm City Objectivists Society we used your questions and podcast to help kick off our reading group yesterday for session one. We had epiphanies all around the table from someone who is a firm student of Objectivism to a person who had read Atlas Shrugged but is new to Objectivism. I know that neither Ray (our moderator) or myself could have undertaken this kind of thing without the wonderful resource you have created. You have helped me make a difference in my community and I thank you for it. And: The other day, I began listening to your Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts. I have read and listened to the book several times, but it has been admittedly too long since the last time. Although I can not adequately express how much experiencing your podcasts has meant to me and the extent to which they have reinvigorated me, I did want to thank you…Thank you. Link to Original
  11. An overweight woman in an innocent moment at the gym became an object of laughter and derision on the internet. Her story — What it’s like to be laughed at on the Internet — is painful and heartbreaking and worth reading. Here’s a bit: It’s not just the fat-bashing that hurts. Or the humiliation, the shaming, this last safe societal prejudice. All that is bad, of course. What really hurts, though, is how much the boys who took that photo of me “doing it wrong”—and the thousands of people who see it—will never know. They’ll never know how experiences just like this began dividing me—early—from my body. That the taunts of “fatty” and “blubber” and “lardass” when I was 6 made me stand at my bedroom window and wonder if it was a long enough way down to the ground; that when the kids at lunch poked my stomach with pencils to see if I’d deflate, I honestly wished I would, with a long, satisfying “sssssss”; that by the time Ms. Gleby was leading my entire sixth grade Phys Ed class in laughing at me, I no longer had a body at all. I was a floating head, and I was determined to think of my physical form as a brick that I had to suffer the inconvenience of dragging around. My body wasn’t me. It was despicable. It was nothing. The people who laugh at this picture won’t know that every jeer, every “mooooo,” and every “sorry, no fatties” made me more and more successful at being bodiless. And they won’t know how scary it’s been to decide to maybe make a different choice. They’ll never know what came before that treadmill-sitting moment: 80 minutes of aerobic exercise. They’ll never know how long it took me to feel worthy of motion, worthy of joining a gym, how long it took me to decide that moving actually felt good, and then the discovery that this was the way to reunite my floating head with the rest of me, to feel my body at its most basic, a biochemical machine that supports me. That’s what I am on a treadmill. That’s what bodies are. They are not appearance. They are purpose. It’s so hard—irrationally hard—to remember that. The world makes it hard to remember. Hear, hear. Link to Original
  12. On Thursday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll chat about "Arguments from Miracles, Part 1: The Arguments" with listeners. This episode of internet radio airs at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Thursday, 9 April 2015, in our live studio. If you can't listen live, you'll find the podcast on the episode's archive page. Do reports of miracles prove the existence of God? Most people of faith appeal to the miracles of their faith as grounds for their belief. Here, I consider what miracles are, how they are supposed to prove God's existence, and raise some concerns about them. This show is part of my ReligionCasts series of podcasts on philosophy of religion. The live show will be available for free, and the podcast will be available for free to regular contributors. Anyone else will be able to purchase the podcasts for the whole series for $10. 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 follow-up questions in the text chat. The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Chat on Argument from Miracles, Part 1: The Arguments. 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 this topic! Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  13. On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on the special seven virtues, signs of repression, the ethics of care for the body, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 12 April 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: The Special Seven Virtues: What's so special about the seven virtues? Ayn Rand identified seven virtues: rationality, honesty, productiveness, independence, justice, integrity, and pride. What's different about those qualities – as compared to other commonly touted virtues like benevolence, creativity, temperance, or courage? Basically, why are those seven the virtues in Objectivism? Is Objectivism right to single them out? Question 2: Signs of Repression: What are the signs of emotional repression? It's very important not to repress your emotions, especially if you are a person with rationalistic tendencies. But how might a person identify when he's repressing some emotions? What are the signs? What can be done to avoid and overcome the tendency to repress, if such a tendency has become habitual? Question 3: The Ethics of Care for the Body: What is the moral status of actions aimed at tending to one's body? In an egoistic ethics, the ultimate end of moral action is the growth and continuation of one's own life. Ayn Rand elaborated on discussed many of the kinds of actions required to achieve this goal, but she didn't discuss matters of "bodily care," such as cleaning your teeth, eating well, exercising regularly, tending to a wound, and seeking necessary medical care. These constitute a whole universe of actions necessary for the maintenance of one's body and, hence, one's life. Are such actions moral and virtuous? Should bodily care itself be considered a virtue? Or are these actions already subsumed under the virtues? (If so, I would love to know how to brush my teeth with integrity and pride!) 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: Seven Virtues, Repression, Care of the Body, 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 applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  14. This article on the benefits of writing notes by hand rather than on the computer — The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking — rings true in my experience as a student (and as a teacher). Computers are an impediment to good note-taking, not a help. Even apart from the distraction, the problem is the way that people take notes: The researchers found that students who used laptops were inclined to try to take notes verbatim—even when they were told not to. The longhand note takers took selective, organized notes because they couldn’t write fast enough to get everything down. As a result, they processed lectures more deeply, which allowed them to retain more information and even understand it better. On a related note, I’ve found that I have serious problems retaining written material read on the kindle, in part, I think, because every text is formatted the same. I’ve found that the various things I read blend together and then disappear from memory in ways that print books, audio books, and even articles read online don’t do. Do you have the same experience? If so, any suggestions? Link to Original
  15. I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be speaking at ATLOSCon in Atlanta in late May, over Memorial Day weekend. My talk is titled “Rethinking the Role of Philosophy in Life,” and here’s the abstract: Philosophy matters but perhaps not quite in the way we often think. Anyone who has spent time around religious people — or even Objectivists — knows that their professed ideology doesn’t always match their statements and actions. Christians embrace wealth and free markets, Muslims eschew violence and repression, and Objectivists demand agreement with and respect for authorities. What accounts for these discrepancies? Is it inconsistency, hypocrisy, or something else? Diana Hsieh will explore these questions, arguing that the standard explanations for how a person’s ideology impacts his thinking and choices are woefully inadequate. She’ll explore the difference between a person’s professed philosophy and his operational philosophy, as well as all the layers of influence between them, including culture, communities, relationships, personality, and experience. Ultimately, this richer understanding of the role of philosophy in life can help us make better use of the philosophy of Objectivism, as well as be more accurate and fair in our assessments of others. This talk will be bleeding-edge material for me: I’ve been actively stewing on these topics for the past few months, and I have lots more development to do before ATLOSCon rolls around in a few weeks. So expect something interesting! I’m really looking forward to spending time with old friends — and meeting new ones — at ATLOSCon. Plus, the schedule of classes looks chock full of interesting material! Link to Original
  16. Trans woman shows how ‘ridiculous’ bathroom bans are with urinal selfie campaign: A transgender woman in Canada has launched a social media campaign to show how ‘ridiculous’ bathroom bans are. Brae Carnes, 23, is posting photos of herself in men’s toilets to protest a proposed law that would make it illegal for trans women to use female bathrooms. ‘As a trans woman I’m not even safe from discrimination at the pub or public transit. What’s going to happen if I’m forced into a men’s changeroom?,’ she wrote on Facebook. The Victoria resident said it is uncomfortable for everyone when she enters a men’s bathroom, and she looks completely out of place applying lipstick and posing for mirror selfies while men urinate in the background. I love this, and better still, she inspired a trans man to do the same in ladies rooms: Trans man takes on selfie campaign to fight ‘ridiculous’ bathroom bans. As some of you might recall, I answered a question about restrooms for the transgendered in transition on the 30 October 2011 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you can listen to or download the relevant segment of the podcast here: Duration: 19:45 Download: MP3 Segment For more details, check out the question’s archive page. The full episode – where I answered questions on the purpose of bankruptcy law, restrooms for the transgendered in transition, private versus state prisons, revealing atheism to religious parents, and more – is available as a podcast too. Link to Original
  17. On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on personality theory and ethics, euthanizing a pet, signs of repression, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 5 April 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: Personality Theory and Ethics: How does personality theory affect ethics? In your December 21st, 2014 discussion of the relationship between philosophy and science, you stated that your grasp of personality theory has given you a fresh perspective on ethics and changed your understanding of the requirements of the virtues. How does personality theory inform the field of ethics, in general? How should personality theory inform our moral judgments? How does one avoid slipping into subjectivism when accounting for personality differences? (Presumably, it doesn't matter whether Hitler was a High-D or not before we judge him as evil.) How can we distinguish between making reasonable accommodations for personality differences and appeasing destructive behavior and people? Are virtues other than justice affected by an understanding of personality theory? Question 2: Euthanizing a Pet: When should a person euthanize a pet? Over the years, I've had to decide whether to medically treat my cats or euthanize them when they're seriously ill, and it tends to be a hard choice to make. Concern for the cat's quality of life is a factor, but so is the monetary cost of veterinary procedures and medication, the time required, and the emotional pain of parting from an animal that has been part of my life for many years. In my own decisions, I've come down to, "Am I keeping this cat alive because his life has value to him, or because I don't want to face losing him?" Yet in online discussions, I see comments from other people who strike me as prolonging a pet's life even when the pet is miserable, which seems horrifying to me. What is your approach to these decisions? What do you think is the best way to approach them? Is this a question of ethical principle or purely one of optional values? Question 3: Signs of Repression: What are the signs of emotional repression? It's very important not to repress your emotions, especially if you are a person with rationalistic tendencies. But how might a person identify when he's repressing some emotions? What are the signs? What can be done to avoid and overcome the tendency to repress, if such a tendency has become habitual? 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: Personality and Ethics, Euthanizing a Pet, Repression, 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 applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  18. On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I answered questions on claims of rights to food and shelter, extreme cases, being helpful to a disliked co-worker, and more with Greg Perkins. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading. You’ll find it on the episode’s archive page, as well as below. Remember, you can automatically download podcasts of Philosophy in Action Radio 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 Podcast: Rights to Things, Extreme Cases, Being Helpful, and More Listen or Download: Duration: 3:04 Download: MP3 Segment To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread. Conclusion (1:02:46) Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too! About Philosophy in Action Radio Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives. Remember, with every episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, we show how rational philosophy can help you find joy in your work, model virtue for your kids, pursue your goals effectively, communicate with respect, and advocate for a free society. We can’t do that without your support, so please remember to tip your philosopher! Link to Original
  19. Hear, hear — Earth Hour Is a Colossal Waste of Time—and Energy by Bjørn Lomborg: The organizers say that they are providing a way to demonstrate one’s desire to “do something” about global warming. But the reality is that Earth Hour teaches all the wrong lessens, and it actually increases CO2 emissions. Its vain symbolism reveals exactly what is wrong with today’s feel-good environmentalism. And: Electricity has given humanity huge benefits. Almost 3 billion people still burn dung, twigs, and other traditional fuels indoors to cook and keep warm, generating noxious fumes that kill an estimated 2 million people each year, mostly women and children. Likewise, just 100 years ago, the average American family spent six hours each week during cold months shoveling six tons of coal into the furnace (not to mention cleaning the coal dust from carpets, furniture, curtains, and bedclothes). In the developed world today, electric stoves and heaters have banished indoor air pollution. Similarly, electricity has allowed us to mechanize much of our world, ending most backbreaking work. The washing machine liberated women from spending endless hours carrying water and beating clothing on scrub boards. The refrigerator made it possible for almost everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables, and to stop eating rotten food, which is the main reason why the most prevalent cancer for men in the United States in 1930, stomach cancer, is the least prevalent now. Electricity has allowed us to irrigate fields and synthesize fertilizer from air. The light that it powers has enabled us to have active, productive lives past sunset. The electricity that people in rich countries consume is, on average, equivalent to the energy of 56 servants helping them. Even people in Sub-Saharan Africa have electricity equivalent to about three servants. They need more of it, not less. Link to Original
  20. Back in December, I answered a question about the reality of karma on Philosophy in Action Radio. If you’ve not yet heard it, you can listen to or download the relevant segment of the podcast here: Duration: 11:05 Download: MP3 Segment Then, some weeks ago, Robert Garmong sent me a tidbit from this article — Shock and Anger in Cambodian Village Struck With H.I.V. — relevant to karma: The villagers’ affection for the doctor does not blunt their pain and bewilderment over the mass infection. Prum Em, Ms. Yao’s 84-year-old husband, stares with blank incomprehension when asked about the infections, which struck across three generations. “I have done only good deeds my whole life,” he said. “It’s inconceivable that the family could have this much bad luck.” Robert Garmong added: There’s no specific evidence that this is what happened, but it could easily have been the case that this man’s family members intentionally took risky injections because “my family has only done good deeds, so surely the downside risk won’t happen to me.” I doubt that’s what happened, because there’s no evidence that the people even knew they were taking a risk. But the point remains. By messing with people’s rational calculations, the concept of “karma” leads in principle to self-destructive thinking. Excellent example! Link to Original
  21. On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on claims of rights to food and shelter, extreme cases, being helpful to a disliked co-worker, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 29 March 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: Claims of Rights to Food and Shelter: Do people have a right to food and shelter? I recently had a conversation with a Facebook friend who stated that food and shelter are more than necessities, they are rights. I posed the question, "How does one exercise their right to food and shelter?" No one answered the question, so I would like to pose it here. Most food in this country is grown by farmers and sold fresh, or processed in a factory for sale. If food is a "right," does anyone without the means to buy these products have an inherent right to take what they need without any remuneration to the farmer or the manufacturer? The same applies to shelter. How does one exercise their "right" to shelter without a means to earn it? We have a right to free speech, and a right to vote. One is exercised by speaking your mind on a subject without fear of government reprisal, and the other is exercised by voting during elections. We have the right to practice whatever religion we want or none at all. The press has the right to print or say whatever they want. Any "right" to food or shelter would have to operate differently. So are food and shelter a "right"? What would that mean in practice? Question 2: Extreme Cases: Do moral principles break down in extreme cases? When faced with bizarre hypotheticals, advocates of rational egoism often assert that such scenarios would never happen. This seems to be dodging the question. It's said that conventional understandings of physics break down at microscopic and extremely grand-scale levels. Does morality follow a similar pattern? For example, what if a small society of people stranded on an island faced a shortage of clean water, and a single individual who owned all access to clean water refused to sell it? Is that really impossible? Doesn't that show that the principle of individual rights breaks down in extreme cases? Question 3: Being Helpful to a Disliked Co-Worker: Should I do something nice for a coworker I dislike? There's a lady at work that I dislike. My conflict with her is primarily merely a conflict of personality. I find her defensive, passive-aggressive, and awkward to the point of rudeness. I am also not very impressed with her work products, but that rarely has a direct impact on me – except when I'm asked to review them – as is the fact that she only seems to work for about six hours every day. Indirectly, of course, her eccentricities and poor work quality cast our team in a very poor light and could eventually serve as a reason to dissolve or lay off our team. It's a mystery as to why she hasn't been fired. But I'm not her manager. In a meeting earlier today, she made a remark that she thought she was being excluded from important meetings that are relevant to her work. The truth is that she's not being actively excluded from these meetings, but rather everything is happening so fast and the meetings aren't always planned, so it's really just not possible to include her in those meetings. She would probably be heartened to understand better how these events take place in our company. (She's rather new, and I am very tenured.) She might feel better about her position and she might become less defensive about things if she had a better understanding of the organizational mechanics here. But I strongly dislike her and would prefer that she seek other employment. Should I be kind and explain those mechanics or not? 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: Rights to Things, Extreme Cases, Being Helpful, 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 applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  22. This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine): 13 Mar: The Ugly Civil War in American Medicine by Paul Hsieh 11 Mar: Proposed Legal Protection For Direct Primary Care in Florida by Paul Hsieh 10 Mar: A Radiologist’s Day by Paul Hsieh 9 Mar: McArdle on Economic Progress and Health Care by Paul Hsieh Follow FIRM on Facebook and Twitter. This week on The Blog of The Objective Standard: 14 Mar: Libertarians: “Terrorism Poses No Existential Threat to America” by Craig Biddle Follow The Objective Standard on Facebook and Twitter. This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo: 14 Mar: Philosophy Weekend: News from Philosophy in Action by Diana Hsieh 13 Mar: The Paleo Rodeo #252 by Diana Hsieh Follow Modern Paleo on Facebook and Twitter. Link to Original
  23. On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on major branches of philosophy, displaying the confederate flag, taxpayer-funded abortions, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 15 March 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: Major Branches of Philosophy: What are the major branches of philosophy? Ayn Rand claimed that philosophy consisted of five major branches – metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and esthetics. Is that right? If so, why are those the five major branches? Are they comprehensive in some way? Why not include philosophy of science, logic, philosophy of mind, and so on? Question 2: Displaying the Confederate Flag: Is displaying the Confederate flag racist? I've been told by southerners that displaying the flag of the Confederate States amounts to a display of "southern pride." I think it amounts to a display of racism, given the history of the south. That flag was used in a time when the agricultural economy of the southern states relied on slave labor. Many southern states seceded from the Union, largely because of their nefarious interests in preserving slavery. The Confederate flag represents these states and their ideology. Hence, I think it's morally questionable (at least) to display it. I don't think the south should take pride in or honor the Confederacy. Am I right or wrong in my thinking? What should I think of people who choose to display the Confederate flag? Question 3: Taxpayer-Funded Abortions: Should taxpayer-funded abortions be opposed? In Victoria, Australia, we have fairly good laws on abortion and there are almost no legal or social barriers to access. However, we also have a very generous public health care system which means that most if not all of the costs of an abortion will be covered by the public. Is there something especially wrong with publicly funded abortion that advocates of individual rights should be concerned with or is it morally equivalent to the immorality of forcing others to pay for less controversial treatment such as dental surgery? Does the cultural context influence how a free-market advocate should approach this topic? While the majority of the community supports the current laws, there seem to be signs of an anti-abortion faction developing in the Liberal Party (the conservatives). I wouldn't want to have opposition to publicly-funded abortions result in any kind of ban on abortions. So should publicly funded abortions be opposed or not? 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: Philosophy, Confederate Flags, Abortion Funding, 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 applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  24. On Sunday's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on fraud and deception, people unworthy of the truth, deception in a business partner, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 8 March 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: Fraud and Deception: Does fraud require deliberate deception? Some libertarians, most notably Walter Block, have tried to argue that fraud does not require deliberate deception. For example, argues Block, if I tried to sell you a square circle, and I believed that square circles existed, and so did you, and you agreed to the transaction, then, since square circles do not actually exist, this would still count as fraud, even though no deliberate deception has taken place. Block has used this argument to indict fractional reserve banking, by arguing that it still counts as fraud even though all parties are knowingly consenting. Is he talking rationalist nonsense? Question 2: People Unworthy of the Truth: Are some people unworthy of the truth? "Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it," said Mark Twain in his Notebooks. Is that true? Does that justify lying or withholding information? Question 3: Deception in a Business Partner: How can I decide whether a business associate has crossed the line? I am part of a very specialized marketing co-op group. Businesses provide samples to the marketer, who then sells them at his own profit, to the tune of thousands of dollars a month. The marketer also does many web promotions and a monthly set of videos to promote the makers of these samples. This business has worked well in sending customers my way in the past. However, a few months ago, the marketer threatened to call the whole thing off for a month, claiming there were not enough samples to sell. So all the businesses rallied and sent in more. Two weeks later the marketer posted publicly that his spouse's hours had been cut the month before, and he was strapped for cash. This apparent dishonesty turned me off from using the service for many months. When I finally sent in samples again, I found that the same thing is still happening: the marketer is threatening to call off the promotion for the month if more samples are not sent in. Does this kind of behavior warrant dropping this business tool from my arsenal? Or am I just reacting emotionally? 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: Fraud and Deception, Honesty, Trust in Business, 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 applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.
  25. This week on We Stand FIRM, the blog of FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine): 24 Feb: Catron: Still Not Working by Paul Hsieh 23 Feb: FDA Hindering Promising Therapies Derived From Patient’s Own Cells by Paul Hsieh Follow FIRM on Facebook and Twitter. This week on The Blog of The Objective Standard: 28 Feb: Whiplash and the Quest for Greatness by Ari Armstrong 28 Feb: Dr. Avijit Roy: A Man of Reason Murdered by Jihadists by Craig Biddle Follow The Objective Standard on Facebook and Twitter. This week on The Blog of Modern Paleo: 28 Feb: Philosophy Weekend: News from Philosophy in Action by Diana Hsieh 27 Feb: The Paleo Rodeo #250 by Diana Hsieh Follow Modern Paleo on Facebook and Twitter. Link to Original
×
×
  • Create New...