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Philosophy in Action: Sunday Webcast

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on judging religions as better and worse, telling a friend about romantic feelings, overfeeding a child as abuse, interest in a lover's writings, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 19 February 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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The Rationally Selfish Webcast has a new name and new web site: Philosophy in Action! (The web site won't be available until the morning of the webcast.) Here's this week's announcement. I hope to

Good stuff! I got a chance on Sunday to sit and listen to some of these Webcasts. Some good and helpful hints here and there and everywhere. The thing I like most about them is the "philosophy

In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on consent in sex, terminating online versus in-person acquaintances, compensating the victims of your negligence, the meaning of faith, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 26 February 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Consent in Sex: What constitutes consent in sex? Can a person give tacit consent by his or her actions? Is explicit consent required for some sex acts? Once consent has been given, when and how can a person withdraw that consent? Does the legal perspective on these questions differ from the moral perspective?

  • Question 2: Terminating Online Versus In-Person Acquaintances: What's the proper threshold for cutting off a digital versus in-person acquaintance? Morally, when it is wrong to end your friendly interactions with an in-person acquaintance? And when is it wrong not to do so? Does the answer differ for a digital acquaintance – meaning, for example, someone that you know only via Facebook?

  • Question 3: Compensating the Victims of Your Negligence: What should you do for a person that you injured in a car accident that was your fault? Does a person have moral obligations – over and above any legal obligations – to the victim, since the accident was due to your own carelessness or mistake?

  • Question 4: The Meaning of Faith: Is it wrong to use "faith" to mean "trust and confidence in a person"? Some people talk about having "faith" in their friends or in themselves – and by that, they mean that they trust and have confidence in those people. Is it wrong to use "faith" in that way? In other words, blind faith is wrong, but is all faith blind faith?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on consent in sex, terminating online versus in-person acquaintances, compensating the victims of your negligence, the meaning of faith, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 26 February 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on giving the benefit of the doubt, requests for prayers, selling yourself into slavery, the depth of Ayn Rand's fictional characters, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Giving the Benefit of the Doubt: When should we give another person "the benefit of the doubt"? Often, people say that public figures facing some scandal should be given "the benefit of the doubt"? What does that mean in theory and in practice? When ought people give the benefit of the doubt? Is doing so a matter of generosity or justice?

  • Question 2: Requests for Prayers: What is the proper response to requests for prayers? A relative of mine recently had surgery to have his appendix removed. I was asked by another relative to pray for the first relative, even though everyone in my family knows that I don't believe in God or the power of prayer. I tried to let it slide during the conversation, but she was insistent. How should I respond to such requests for prayers, particularly when I don't want to offend anyone or seem unconcerned?

  • Question 3: Selling Yourself into Slavery: Why can't a person sell himself into slavery? People often decry indentured servitude, whereby people paid for their travel to America with several years of service. But this seems like a perfectly sound trade given certain assumptions about the terms of that service, e.g. you can't starve or abuse the servant. Is that right? If so, why can't a person sell himself into slavery? For instance, suppose that my family is poor, so I arrange with someone to give my family money in exchange for me becoming their slave, i.e. literally becoming their property. Is that possible? Should the law forbid that?

  • Question 4: The Depth of Ayn Rand's Fictional Characters: Are the characters in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged flat due to philosophic consistency? I'm reading Atlas Shrugged currently, and rather enjoying it. However, I've heard many people claim her characters are 'flat', 'one-dimensional' etc. I usually respond to this by saying that Ayn Rand's characters are the incarnation of her ideas, the physical embodiment of her ideas: an individual is consumed with this philosophy, so much so that they are entirely logically consistent (or at least as much as humanly possible, they are human, and do make mistakes, e.g. Rearden's marriage), thus, because of their abnormally extensive logical consistency within their philosophy, these characters merely appear to be 'one-dimensional'. Is this an accurate understanding of Rand's characters?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on giving the benefit of the doubt, responding to requests for prayers, selling yourself into slavery, the depth of Ayn Rand's fictional characters, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 4 March 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on Ayn Rand's view of women, the proper place of women, the health of cynicism and sarcasm, praying for atheists, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 11 March 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Ayn Rand's View of Women: Did Ayn Rand regard women as inferior to men? I admire Ayn Rand, and I've used her philosophy in my business and personal life, but I disagree with her view of women. In her article "About a Woman President," Ayn Rand said that "For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship – the desire to look up to man. 'To look up' does not mean dependence, obedience or anything implying inferiority." Yet her view seems to imply inferiority in practice: Rand says that no woman should aspire to be U.S. President because that would put her in the psychologically unbearable position of not having any man to look up to. So, does Rand's view imply that women are inferior to men? What is the factual basis of her view, if any? Do you agree with her?
  • Question 2: The Proper Place of Women: Are women subservient to men in Objectivism like in Christianity? The Bible and Christians teach that God made women to be subservient to men and not to be their leader. Ayn Rand thinks that women are naturally subservient to men and should not be their leader. Aside from the appeal to God, what's the difference?
  • Question 3: The Health of Cynicism and Sarcasm: Are cynicism and sarcasm unhealthy? I know some very bright people who also frequently express cynicism and sarcasm towards world events, public figures, etc. Their remarks can often be quite witty and insightful. But is there something unhealthy about looking at the world in this way, or can that be an appropriate response to all the many real negative facts of reality?
  • Question 4: Praying for Atheists: What should I do when other people offer to pray for me? Sometimes my friends and family members offer to pray for me – whether because I've got some problem in my life or because they know that I'm an atheist. How should I respond?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on Ayn Rand's view of women, the proper place of women, the health of cynicism and sarcasm, offers of prayers for atheists, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 11 March 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on belligerence in online communities, managing projects better, statutory rape laws, talking about selfishness, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

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

  • Question 2: Managing Projects Better: How can I manage my projects better? Too often, I'm overwhelmed by the sheer volume of projects on my agenda. Because I'm overcommitted, I'll miss important deadlines or allow some projects to be delayed into oblivion. Other times, my work is rushed and sloppy. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I become paralyzed, and then I don't get any work done. What can I do to manage my various work and home projects better, so that I keep making progress on what really matters to me?

  • Question 3: Statutory Rape Laws: Are statutory rape laws proper? Statutory rape laws criminalize seemingly consensual sex when at least one party is below the age of consent, but sexually mature, e.g. when an 18 year old has sex with a 15 year old. Are such laws proper? Should the over-age person be convicted if he or she didn't know (or couldn't reasonably know) that the under-age person was under-age? What if the under-age person lied about his or her age? What, if anything, should happen legally when both parties are under-age, e.g. when two 15 year olds have sex?

  • Question 4: Talking About Selfishness: Should I use the term "selfish" in conversation without explanation? According to Ayn Rand, selfishness means acting for your own long-range life and happiness, and that's moral and proper. Yet most people think that selfishness means brutalizing other people, lying and cheating to satisfy your desires, or at least acting like an insensitive jerk. Should I avoid using the term unless I can explain what I mean by it? And how can I best explain its proper meaning?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last week, I had to cancel the Philosophy in Action webcast due to the overwhelming demands of fun at SnowCon. (Alas, I forgot to post an announcement here. Sorry!) So... last week's questions are still on tap for this week. Here's the announcement again.

In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on unfriendly disputes in online communities, overcommittment in projects, statutory rape laws, talking about selfishness, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Unfriendly Disputes in Online Communities: Why are disputes so belligerent in online communities? I've noticed that people get into very loud and heated disputes online, whereas that doesn't seem to happen in local communities. Disputes in local communities tend to be less frequent, less belligerent, and last for a shorter time – even when some people end up hating each other and refusing to have anything to do with each other in the end. Why is that? Also, why do people who are closest with each other (whether close friends, dating, or married) seem to agree more on hot-button issues? Are people more willing to reject a stranger's arguments than those of a friend? Is that an error?
  • Question 2: Overcommittment in Projects: How can I manage my projects better? Too often, I'm overwhelmed by the sheer volume of projects on my agenda. Because I'm overcommitted, I'll miss important deadlines or allow some projects to be delayed into oblivion. Other times, my work is rushed and sloppy. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I become paralyzed, and then I don't get any work done. What can I do to manage my various work and home projects better, so that I keep making progress on what really matters to me?
  • Question 3: Statutory Rape Laws: Are statutory rape laws proper? Statutory rape laws criminalize seemingly consensual sex when at least one party is below the age of consent, but sexually mature, e.g. when an 18 year old has sex with a 15 year old. Are such laws proper? Should the over-age person be convicted if he or she didn't know (or couldn't reasonably know) that the under-age person was under-age? What if the under-age person lied about his or her age? What, if anything, should happen legally when both parties are under-age, e.g. when two 15 year olds have sex?
  • Question 4: Talking About Selfishness: Should I use the term "selfish" in conversation without explanation? According to Ayn Rand, selfishness means acting for your own long-range life and happiness, and that's moral and proper. Yet most people think that selfishness means brutalizing other people, lying and cheating to satisfy your desires, or at least acting like an insensitive jerk. Should I avoid using the term unless I can explain what I mean by it? And how can I best explain its proper meaning?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

Edited by dianahsieh
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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on unfriendly disputes in online communities, overcommittment in projects, talking about selfishness, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 25 March 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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Share on other sites

In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on statutory rape laws, outing anti-gay politicians as gay, potential employers demanding facebook logins, enjoying fantasy and theology literature, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 1 April 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Statutory Rape Laws: Are statutory rape laws proper? Statutory rape laws criminalize seemingly consensual sex when at least one party is below the age of consent, but sexually mature, e.g. when an 18 year old has sex with a 15 year old. Are such laws proper? Should the over-age person be convicted if he or she didn't know (or couldn't reasonably know) that the under-age person was under-age? What if the under-age person lied about his or her age? What, if anything, should happen legally when both parties are under-age, e.g. when two 15 year olds have sex?

  • Question 2: Outing Anti-Gay Politicians as Gay: Is it wrong to "out" a hypocritical anti-gay public figure who is secretly gay? Some conservative politicians have taken strongly anti-gay positions, but are secretly gay themselves. If one learns of this, is it wrong for gay activists to publicly "out" them? What if they don't take engage in public hypocrisy, but are just quietly "in the closet"? Should activists respect their privacy in that case?

  • Question 3: Potential Employers Demanding Facebook Logins: Should employers ask applicants for their Facebook logins and passwords? More employers are asking job applicants for their Facebook logins and passwords as part of a background check. (See http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_20218922/privacy-red-flag-raised-more-job-applicants-asked ) Of course, applicants can decline, in which case they might not be considered for the job. Should employers be asking for this information? Is it proper to want to check on the online activities of potential employees? Is that an invasion of privacy? How should someone respond if asked by a potential employer?

  • Question 4: Enjoying Fantasy and Theology Literature: Is an interest in fantasy and theology literature proper? I'm fascinated with fantasy as a literary genre. I find it easier to get excited about a fantastic story rather than about a realistic one, and I'm also really interested in fantasy with a certain sophistication: the extremely well-constructed world of Tolkien in "Lord of the Rings," for example, or the mythological background of vampire stories and so on. Along the same line, I am also fascinated with theology. For example, I found it extremely interesting to read "Paradise Lost," and to read up on the many theological questions it raises and answers. Is such an interest proper – or am I indulging in some kind of evasion or escapism from reality? Does it matter that I want to become a writer and so find much inspiration for potential own stories this way?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on statutory rape laws, outing anti-gay politicians as gay, potential employers demanding Facebook logins, enjoying fantasy and theology literature, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 1 April 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on cultivating good luck, public breastfeeding, national identification card, repeatedly reviewing memories, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 8 April 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Cultivating Good Luck: Can and should a person try to cultivate his own "good luck"? For example, a construction worker might leave his business card with neighbors in case they or anyone they might know happens to need his services in the future. Similarly, an investor might look to buy stock in companies with promising patents pending or forthcoming products. Is pursuing these kinds of uncertain opportunities a means of cultivating good luck?

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

  • Question 3: National Identification Card: Should the government institute a national id card? Periodically, politicians speak of instituting a national identification card in order to protect identify and track potential terrorists, prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants, stop welfare fraud, and more. Would such a national id card violate rights – or be unwise for other reasons? Are state-level identification cards sufficient? Are they proper?

  • Question 4: Repeatedly Reviewing Memories: Should I mull over my memories less frequently? Is it unhealthy for a person to continuously mull over previous events and specific memories? I go over past events in my mind on a constant basis. I try to recall specific details (i.e., things I was thinking at the time, etc.) and keep a perfect "image" of the memory/event in my mind as long as possible. Is this strange, unhealthy, or counterproductive?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on cultivating good luck, public breastfeeding, national identification card, mulling over memories, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 8 April 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on the morality of breaking the law, the morality of vigilantism, stealing valor, selling sub-optimal products, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 15 April 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: The Morality of Breaking the Law: When is it moral to break the law? Laws should be written to protect individual rights. Unfortunately, many laws today violate rights. When should I abide by a rights-violating law, and when is it proper to break it?

  • Question 2: The Morality of Vigilantism: Where is the line between justice and vigilantism? When is it moral to take the law into your own hands – meaning pursuing, detaining, and/or punishing criminals as a private citizen? Suppose that you know – without a shadow of a doubt – that some person committed a serious crime against you or a loved one. If the justice system cannot punish the person due to some technicality, is it wrong for you to do so? If you're caught, should a judge or jury punish you, as if you'd committed a crime against an innocent person?

  • Question 3: Stealing Valor: Should "stealing valor" be a crime? Rencently, a man was arrested by the FBI in Houston and charged with "stolen valor." (See: http://bit.ly/IcWwCV ) This is the charge made against someone who falsely poses as a decorated soldier. Is it proper to make this a crime? Why or why not?

  • Question 4: Selling Sub-Optimal Products: What should a businessman do if he decides that his product or service is not really good? More specifically, what should a businessman do if he's rises up in the business world on promoting a particular product or service, only to learn decades into the ventures that there are better alternatives? As a fictional example, let's take a mattress manufacturer CEO. He has spent decades of his life trying to make the most comfortable mattresses possible, but then read scientific studies that concludes that there is no healthier sleeping surface than the solid floor, and in using his honest judgment he agrees. Being so high up and so long involved in the mattress world, what are the moral range of options for him?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on the morality of breaking the law, the morality of vigilantism, stealing valor, selling sub-optimal products, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 15 April 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on responsibility, obligation, and duty, stockpiling medication, poking fun at others' ideas, encouraging friends to be more purposeful, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 22 April 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Responsibility, Obligation, and Duty: What is the difference between responsibility, obligation, and duty? Often, people use these terms interchangeably. What's difference between them, if any?

  • Question 2: Stockpiling Medication: Is it wrong to stockpile medication now in the event of an economic crash in the future? We are concerned that increasing economic troubles will raise the prices of some prescription and over-the-counter medications, and make them hard to find in the future. Is it okay to start a stockpile of some medications (most of which have a long shelf-life)? In the case of prescription medications, is it okay to exaggerate to our doctors or play "musical pharmacies" in order to obtain more medication?

  • Question 3: Poking Fun at Others' Ideas: Is indirectly poking fun at a person's ideas rude or otherwise wrong? Is posting jokes, pictures, articles, or expressing views that might offend others – including friends and family – rude, offensive, or just in bad taste? For example, is it proper to make jokes about Jesus, Obama, or environmentalism on Facebook – knowing that some of your Facebook friends are Christians, Democrats, or environmentalists? Should a person limit himself to serious arguments?

  • Question 4: Encouraging Friends to Be More Purposeful: How can I encourage my friends to be more purposeful and passionate? I have been certain about my life's purpose – in terms of what career and personal creative works I'd like to pursue – from a young age. I've had friends who are above-average in their academic and career work, and who explore various hobbies, but they do not pursue those activities with eager passion. They say that "do not know what they want out of life" and have not "found their calling." What is at the root of uncertainty about one's purpose? Is there a moral breach involved? How can I motivate, encourage, and inspire my friends?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on obligation, responsibility, and duty, stockpiling medication, poking fun at friends' ideas online, encouraging friends to be more purposeful, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 22 April 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on obligation, responsibility, and duty, stockpiling medication, poking fun at friends' ideas online, encouraging friends to be more purposeful, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 22 April 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Following the link that you provided:

Episode: 22 April 2012, Question 1

What is the difference between obligation, responsibility, and duty? Often, people use these terms interchangeably. What's difference between them, if any?

My Answer, In Brief: Obligations and responsibilities can be true and powerful — if based on person’s own choices. Duties are claims of obligation deriving solely from the say-so of some authority, and that’s why they are invalid.

Where did you come up with the idea that duties are "claims of obligation deriving solely from the say-so of some authority"? That's neither an accurate layman's definition nor an accurate philosophical definition.

J

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on the wrong of utilitarianism, the morality of government jobs, planning in advance, padding your resumé, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: The Wrong of Utilitarianism: What's wrong with utilitarianism? The basic principle of utilitarianism is "the greatest happiness for the greatest number." What's wrong with that as a moral standard? Should't a person act for the good of society?

  • Question 2: The Morality of Government Jobs: Is it moral to work for the IRS? Is it morally wrong to work for government agencies like the IRS (or equivalent tax bureaus), IAS (Indian Administrative Services), or the EPA? I'm an advocate of free markets. Would I be a hypocrite to work for such illegitimate government agencies?

  • Question 3: Planning in Advance: How much advance planning is optimal? Some people like to plan everything well in advance, while others prefer to allow events to unfold and make decisions on the fly. Is one approach better than the other? How much does it depend on the circumstances? How can people with difference preferences coordinate comfortably?

  • Question 4: Padding Your Resumé: Is doing activities just to pad your resume dishonest? Some people work on mastering playing the violin, competing in tennis tournaments, learning calculus, and other activities – not because they have any interest in them or because they think they might develop an interest once tried, but rather because they think these activities will look good on an application or resumé. Is that dishonest? Is it unwise?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on forgiving yourself, unforgivable acts, the meaning of life, downloading and sharing online videos, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 6 May 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Forgiving Yourself: Should we forgive ourselves? How can a person free himself from guilt over past errors and wrongs, particularly irrationality? Should such a person forgive himself – and if so, what does that entail?

  • Question 2: Unforgivable Acts: Can an ordinary person do something unforgivable? Could a friend act in a way that would make rational forgiveness impossible? Might a person do something so hurtful or unfair that you couldn't ever trust them again? In such cases, how should the person wronged acted towards the unforgivable person?

  • Question 3: The Meaning of Life: Does life have a purpose or meaning? Religious people say that God gives their lives meaning, purpose, and direction. Other people find meaning in doing good for others or society as a whole. As an atheist and egoist, what do you think the purpose of life is? Does it have any inherent meaning – or should a person arbitrarily decide its meaning? And shouldn't a person think that something is more important than himself and his own petty concerns?

  • Question 4: Downloading and Sharing Online Videos: Is downloading music from YouTube a violation of intellectual property rights? Given that content creators can remove YouTube videos that violate their intellectual property rights, is it wrong to assume that they consent to the posting if they've not asked to remove it? It is wrong to watch or share clips that seem to be uploaded without permission? It is wrong to download music from YouTube for my own personal use, whether uploaded by the creator or someone else?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered questions on forgiving yourself, unforgivable acts, the meaning of life, respecting intellectual property online, and more. The episode is now available as an audio podcast in the Webcast Archives here:

Philosophy in Action Webcast: 6 May 2012

You can also just listen to the questions of most interest to you:

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

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In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on self-destructive pleasures, privacy in a high-tech society, pushy fundraising, browsing locally, buying online, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Self-Destructive Pleasures: It is wrong to pursue self-destructive pleasures? Suppose that you know that drinking to excess is not good for your mind or body, but you want to enjoy the oblivion of drunkeness. Or perhaps you know that sleeping with your ex-girlfriend is a very bad idea, but you want the pleasure of sex with a warm body. Is it wrong to pursue these pleasures, if you're willing to accept their destructive consequences?

  • Question 2: Privacy in a High-Tech Society: Do you have the right to privacy with respect to information that I can gather about you from observation of you while I'm on my own property? For instance, if I have technology that allows me to gather photons or sound waves that you emit from your property while I'm sitting on my property next door, can I post that information onto YouTube or Facebook? For example, imagine that I have an infrared video of your activities emitted through your bedroom wall or the audio of your personal phone conversation that can be detected by sensitive microphones from 100 yards away. Have I violated your rights by gathering and publicizing information you've chosen to allow to be broadcast to anyone who can detect it with the right equipment?

  • Question 3: Pushy Fundraising: How should I respond to the constant demands to contribute to fundraisers from my child's school? I am barraged with "requests" for contributions to school fundraisers. This week, for example, each student in the band is asked to put together a "buddy bag" with sweets (against my views), a toy (more plastic junk to fill the landfills), and a gift (I can't afford that). Every week, there's another fundraiser, for which parents asked to spend their money on things they don't value or aren't a fair value. Should I refuse these requests – and if so, how should I do so?

  • Question 4: Browsing Locally, Buying Online: Is it wrong to browse in a local store but then buy online? Suppose that you shop for an item in a brick-and-mortar store, taking advantage of the opportunity to browse and get recommendations for staff, but then make your purchases at a discounted online retailer – for example, browsing through a local bookstore but then buying from Amazon at a lower price. Is that wrong or unfair?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my live Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on warning others about dangerous people, explaining a firing, investment versus sacrifice, downloading music after hard drive failure, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 20 May 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Warning Others about Dangerous People: Should you warn others about vicious people in your community? If you know a person to be dishonest, but that person is well-regarded in your community, should you tell others in that community what you know? Does it matter if the person is in a position of authority (perhaps over an organization's finances), such that he could do a whole lot of damage? What kinds of immorality would be serious enough to warrant warning others?

  • Question 2: Explaining a Firing: Should an employer have to explain and justify his firing of an employee? Should an employer be able to fire an employee for some alleged misconduct, even though the employer never bothered to verify the misconduct, nor asked the employee for his side of the story? For example, suppose that when the employee shows up for work he is simply told that he's been fired because someone made a complaint about him. The employee could easily prove the complaint to be false but the employer isn't concerned with proof or lack thereof. The employee's reputation in the eyes of possible future employers is damaged, even if the employer never discusses the firing with anyone else. In such a case, should the employee be able to sue for having been fired without proper cause?

  • Question 3: Investment Versus Sacrifice: What is the difference between "investment" and "sacrifice"? In your February 26, 2012 webcast ( http://bit.ly/z7uESR ), you indicated that you regard sacrifices as something very different from investments. But doesn't sacrifice just mean giving up something? In that case, don't investments in the future require sacrifice now?

  • Question 4: Downloading Music After Hard Drive Failure: Does respecting intellectual property require me to re-purchase my music collection lost due to hard drive failure? Over the years I have purchased quite a bit of digital music and have built quite a large library. Recently, due to a computer crash and lack of backup, a large segment of that library was erased. Since I paid for all of the music that was lost, I would like to restore it, whether by copying from my friends or by downloading illegal copies from the internet. But I am not entirely sure what I have the right to do based on my original purchases. What do you think?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Q&A Radio Archives, where you can listen to the full Q&A Radio or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming Q&A Radio episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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In my live Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on disclosing atheism to babysitters, outing yourself to bigots, spousal sabotage, skipping advertisements, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

I'll be broadcasting from ATLOSCon this week!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy)
  • When: Sunday, 27 May 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com

Here are this week's questions:

  • Question 1: Disclosing Atheism to Babysitters: Should I mention we are atheists when interviewing babysitters? I am looking for a babysitter. The question is: How do I handle the fact that many of the candidates will be very very strong Christians? Should I bring up the fact we are atheists right away or would that be creating an issue when there could be none? I definitely have to set some boundaries like "No praying with my children," but what is the appropriate way to handle it?
  • Question 2: Outing Yourself to Bigots: Am I obliged to disclose that I am gay if I know that the person then wouldn't wish to do business with me? Let's say that I have a job that I enjoy, but I find out that my boss does not like gay people and would refuse to hire or would fire anyone that she knew was gay. Somehow, she doesn't know that I am, in fact, gay. Should I tell her knowing that she would want to fire me – a decision that I think is wrong, but nonetheless something she should be free to do? Assume that in every other regard I enjoy my work and job, and sharing her discriminatory view is by no means a requirement for my work.
  • Question 3: Spousal Sabotage: How can I stop my spouse from sabotaging my self-improvement? Over the course of my 15 years of marriage, I'd gained over 100 pounds. After feeling disgusted with myself for too long, I decided to change my habits. So I switched to a paleo-type diet and started lifting weights. So far, I've lost 40 pounds, as well as shed some health problems. My husband still eats what he pleases, and I don't pester him about that, although he needs to eat better too. However, he's constantly attempting to undermine my efforts – for example, by bringing home and encouraging me to eat doughnuts. I want him to celebrate and support my new-found success, but he seems to want me to be fat, unhealthy, and miserable. What should I do?
  • Question 4: Skipping Advertisements: Is it wrong to skip over advertisements? Many people use plug-ins that block advertisements on web sites, and many more people skip advertisements on television by recording shows with a DVR. Is this moral? Is it a failure to act as a trader?

After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Q&A Radio Archives, where you can listen to the full Q&A Radio or just selected questions from any past episode. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming Q&A Radio episodes.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

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