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You seem to assume that every topic any Objectivist intellectual discusses has to be geared toward either a ) activism to spread Objectivism, or b ) new and profound generalizations.

I expect something which is called "Philosophy In Action" to be about philosophy and action, not mundane, everyday, dumbed-down topics. To me, Rand's Objectivism is about brilliance, and a robust, romantic, larger-than-life vision of existence. The act of philosophizing things like house-cleaning seems jarringly small-visioned and naturalistic in comparison.

I don't expect nothing but "new and profound generalizations," but I do expect some new and profound ideas, and something beyond guidance to intellectual indigents.

Why can't someone's purpose be, say, helping people...

Are you saying that "helping people" is an Objectivist virtue?

...who already live by the principles apply them to everyday life?

Is that the audience to whom Objectivists want to appeal? Are you saying that there are people who have read and understood the philosophy of Objectivism to the point that they "already live by the principles," but they are incapable of thinking through simple, everyday issues for themselves, such as cleaning their houses for guests, and they need outside guidance from PhDs? That doesn't make it sound as if they are actually capable of "living by the principles."

Could people never find value in this, considering that the only reason the principles exist is so that they can be applied?

Are the principles of Objectivism so hard for certain people to apply that they need assistance in working out the morality of cleaning the house? If so, won't they be needing assistance for the rest of their lives in every decision they make? I'm not exactly getting the impression that we're talking about intellectually independent individuals here, but very lacking and needy followers, so, again, that's not the heroic vision of mankind that attracted me to Objectivism.

J

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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 Wednesday evening's episode of Philosophy in Action Talk Radio, I'll interview Dr. Sasha Volokh on "Taking Stock of Tort Law."

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh, with Dr. Sasha Volokh, plus live callers
  • What: Philosophy in Action Talk Radio: Dr. Sasha Volokh on Taking Stock of Tort Law
  • When: Wednesday, 7 November 2012, 6 pm PT / 7 pm MT / 8 pm CT / 9 pm ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

What is tort law? What are its basic principles? What are some of the most interesting debates in tort law? Do some torts conflict with freedom of speech? What, if any, proposals for tort reform are worthy of support? In this interview, law professor Sasha Volokh will help us understand the nature, value, and limitations of tort law.

Alexander "Sasha" Volokh is an assistant professor of law at Emory Law School. He was born in Kiev and emigrated from the Soviet Union with his family in 1975. He graduated from UCLA with degrees in mathematics/economics and English/world literature and from Harvard with a J.D. (law) and a Ph.D. in economics. He clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit and for Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Samuel Alito. He has also worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in D.C. and at the Reason Public Policy Institute. He teaches Torts, Administrative Law, Law and Economics, Privatization, and other courses.

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. If you attend the live show, you can share your experiences and ask questions by calling the show or via the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: 7 November 2012: Dr. Sasha Volokh on Taking Stock of Tort Law.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Wednesday evening!

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In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio, I'll answer questions on the 2012 election results, adopting ideas by default, explaining a break-up, keeping contact with questionable family, and more with Greg Perkins.

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio: Election Results, Default Ideas, Break-Ups, and More
  • When: Sunday, 11 November 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

This week's questions are:

  • Question 1: The 2012 Election Results: What should we think of the results of the 2012 election? Many free-market advocates are despairing over the election results, particularly the re-election of President Obama. They claim that America has sunk to a new low in re-electing an openly socialistic and egalitarian hater of America. Do you think that such despair is warranted? Also, many free-market advocates urge us to work harder in spreading the message of individual rights, including via "education" campaigns. Do you think that such efforts will be effective?
  • Question 2: Adopting Ideas by Default: Should a person allow his ideology to set his default positions? When people adopt a religion, philosophy, or politics as their own, they often don't think through every issue – or they've not done so yet. Does accepting the various positions of that ideology as a kind of default amount to accepting them on faith? Or does the principle of "giving the benefit of the doubt" apply here? What should a person do when uncertain? Is full understanding of and agreement with every position required for a person to be an adherent or proponent of some ideology?
  • Question 3: Explaining a Break-Up: Do I owe my boyfriend an explanation for my breaking up with him? I dated my recently-ex-boyfriend for a few months. Over the past few weeks, I realized that some personality and value differences preclude any long-term prospects. When I broke up with him, I didn't give him any reasons why, and that really upset him. Do I owe him an explanation? Would that help or hurt our chances of a cordial relationship in the future? If I should talk to him about my reasons, what should I say?
  • Question 4: Keeping Contact with Questionable Family: Should I keep in contact with my morally questionable and mystical father? Recently, I initiated contact with my father. I've not seen or spoken to for most of my life. He left behind him a lot of damage, and I was very hurt by that. I made amends with him, thinking that he was in recovery. However, I recently discovered his eastern mystic philosophy. Also, although he is fully recovered, he still has moral problems. Now I'm second guessing my decision. Would it be immoral for me to break off the contact with him after I've made peace with him? Should I preserve the relationship to keep my character intact? Or should I cut ties with him, on the principle that I should only maintain relationships of value to me?

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. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 11 November 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio, I'll answer questions on adopting ideas by default, griping versus moral judgment, veganism as child abuse, sharing lecture notes, and more with Greg Perkins.

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio: Default Ideas, Unjust Complaints, Veganism, and More
  • When: Sunday, 18 November 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

This week's questions are:

  • Question 1: Adopting Ideas by Default: Should a person allow his ideology to set his default positions? When people adopt a religion, philosophy, or politics as their own, they often don't think through every issue – or they've not done so yet. Does accepting the various positions of that ideology as a kind of default amount to accepting them on faith? What should a person do when he hasn’t thought through the issue for himself?
  • Question 2: Griping Versus Moral Judgment: What's the difference between griping about people and morally judging them? I take the virtue of justice seriously: I try to be careful and objective in my moral judgments of others, and then I act on those judgments. However, I've found that most people don't do that. Instead, they bitch about other people out of annoyance, including about serious wrongs, but then continue to deal with those people as before, perhaps after a cooling-off period. I hate to listen to these unserious and often unjust complaints about others, and I don't relish the thought of people complaining about me in that way to others. How can I explain my objections to such bitching in a friendly way? How can I avoid being bitched-to or bitched-about?
  • Question 3: Veganism as Child Abuse: Should it be considered child abuse to feed a child a vegan diet? Most experts agree that children need some of the nutrients found in meat and dairy products to develop properly. I've read lots of stories about children whose development is impaired or stunted due to being fed a vegan diet. Should it be considered child abuse to feed a child a strict vegan diet? If so, at which point should the state intervene and take legal recourse against the parents?
  • Question 4: Sharing Lecture Notes: Is it wrong to refuse to share lecture notes with a lazy student? A classmate of mine is nice enough but a bit odd. She's always at least 30 minutes late for lecture, and she doesn't come to lab sometimes. In lecture, she does not take notes but instead usually draws the whole class period. Today, she asked to borrow some of my lecture notes. I told her that I noticed that she was always late and that she didn't take notes, and she denied that. Still, I told her that lending her my notes would be inconvenient, then I suggested that she ask someone else. Normally, I'd be happy to share my notes, but in this case, I didn't want to share the results of my efforts in attending this class on time, every day, and paying attention. Was that wrong?

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. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 18 November 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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  • 2 weeks later...

In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on sexual harassment laws, rooting for anti-heroes, child beauty pageants, teaching children philosophy, and more with Greg Perkins. I thought that might be of interest!

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Radio: Sexual Harassment, Anti-Heroes, Kids, and More
  • When: Sunday, 25 November 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

This week's questions are:

  • Question 1: Sexual Harassment Laws: Are laws against sexual harassment proper? We already have laws against sexual assault and sexual battery, so do sexual harassment laws protect or violate rights? Also, what kind of sexual harassment policies should private companies have, if any? Should people be more skeptical of sexual harassment claims of the kind levelled against Herman Cain during the Republican primary?
  • Question 2: Rooting for Anti-Heroes: Is it wrong to root for anti-heroes in movies? I often root for characters like Daniel Ocean (of Ocean's 11, 12, etc.), Erik Draven (of The Crow), Harry Callahan (a.k.a. Dirty Harry), and "Mad" Max. Should I instead seek out movies with more consistently good heroes?
  • Question 3: Child Beauty Pageants: Are child beauty pageants wrong? The TLC show Toddlers and Tiaras is a reality show that follows child beauty pageant contestants and their parents around. The behavior on the show is frequently outrageous to a point where questions about parental responsibility and even abuse may come to mind. Putting aside the questionable behavior of the people on this show who may not represent typical pageant contestants or parents, these events ask children to compete based on beauty and talent. So are child beauty pageants immoral?
  • Question 4: Teaching Children Philosophy: Why isn't philosophy taught to young children? It seems that teaching philosophy to young children – as young as kindergarten – might result in much better reasoning skills, as well as greater willingness to think independently and question what they're taught. So is philosophy not taught to the young just because some parents and politicians might not like those good results?

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.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio podcast from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 25 November 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on moral luck, parental support of adult children, guaranteed pensions for government employees, right to die, and more with Greg Perkins. I thought that might be of interest!

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Radio: Moral Luck, Adult Children, Promised Pensions, and More
  • When: Sunday, 2 December 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

This week's questions are:

  • Question 1: Moral Luck: Isn't 'moral luck' a self-contradictory term? What does it mean? Does it exist?
  • Question 2: Parental Support of Adult Children: When should parents refuse to support their adult children? Some parents continue to support their 30-year-old and even 40-year-old adult children. Usually, these adult children are chronic screw-ups without much interest in improving their lives or even holding down a steady job. Are these parents immoral for helping the child? Are the parents contributing to his or her problems? How can the parents stop in a way that's fair to the dependent child?
  • Question 3: Guaranteed Pensions for Government Employees: Should pensions to government employees be guaranteed? Many cities and states are running into fiscal trouble and are reneging on promises to pay pensions to retired government employees, such as policemen. Should those promised payments be guaranteed, even if that means raising taxes or cutting back elsewhere? After all, those payments are part of a contract made between the employer and the employee. Or if money is tight for the city/state government, should the retirees have to share the same risk of default as anyone else the government owes money to?
  • Question 4: Right to Die: Is there a right to die and/or a right to be killed? Does a person have a right to die? If so, under what conditions? Moreover, does a person unable to kill himself (due to illness) have a right to be killed by a willing person?

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.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio podcast from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 2 December 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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In Wednesday evening's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio Interview, I'll interview Dr. Doug McGuff on "Strength Training Using Body by Science." WOOT!

I've used Dr. McGuff's methods for over a year and half now, and I've kept myself in great shape for riding horses and skiing with just 30 minutes of weight training per week -- with little soreness and minimal risk of injury. (You can read my periodic reports here.)

Here's the info on the episode. If you can't listen live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh, with physician and fitness expert Dr. Doug McGuff
  • What: Philosophy in Action Internet Radio: Strength Training Using Body by Science
  • When: Wednesday, 5 December 2012, 6 pm PT / 7 pm MT / 8 pm CT / 9 pm ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

Most people suppose that fitness requires long "cardio" sessions of running, biking, stair-climbing, or the like. In contrast, Dr. Doug McGuff advocates brief, infrequent, and high-intensity weight training using slow movements. Does this approach work? What are its benefits and costs compared to other fitness regimens?

Dr. Doug McGuff is an emergency medicine doctor practicing in South Carolina with a long-time interest in fitness, weightlifting, and high-intensity exercise. In 1997, he opened Ultimate Exercise, where he and his his instructors explore the limits of exercise. Dr. McGuff is the best-selling co-author of Body by Science and The Body by Science Question and Answer Book. You can read Dr. McGuff's blog at www.BodyByScience.net.

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. If you attend the live show, you can share your experiences and ask questions by calling the show or via the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: 5 December 2012: Dr. Doug McGuff on Strength Training Using Body by Science.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Wednesday evening!

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In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on nihilism, radical honesty, poor effort in a terrible job, philosophy versus psychology, and more with Greg Perkins. I thought that might be of interest!

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Internet Radio: Nihilism, Radical Honesty, Psychology, and More
  • When: Sunday, 9 December 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

This week's questions are:

  • Question 1: Nihilism: What is philosophic nihilism? Some people seem to be quick to apply the label "nihilistic" to a broad range of phenomena, particularly art and ideas. So how should the term be used? Can a philosophy be very harmful and destructive without it being nihilistic?
  • Question 2: Radical Honesty: Should people be 'radically honest'? Psychotherapist Brad Blanton claims that people should be "radically honest" – meaning that they should say what they think all the time. Is that a life-serving policy – or simply an excuse for rudeness? For example, if my friend is telling me a story that I don't care to hear, should I tell her of my disinterest? Would that foster a more authentic and valuable relationship? Should I try to gently signal my disinterest? Or should I try to cultivate some interest in her story? In other words, is tact a value – or a destructive form of pretense?
  • Question 3: Poor Effort in a Terrible Job: Is it wrong for a person to do less than his best at work? At work, I used to go above and beyond my basic obligations routinely. However, I was never recognized or rewarded for my superior performance. Instead, I was paid the same as those who barely functioned in their jobs. To this day, my employer uses only collective or team recognition; he does not appreciate individuals. Also, those who do poorly or make serious mistakes are not being disciplined, while those of us who work hard are given more duties. My response has been to lower my own work output. While I meet the minimum standards of my employment and still do far more than my equally paid coworkers, I am not performing nearly close to the level I could. Is that wrong of me? Should I do my best at work, even though my employer doesn't seem to value that? Should I continue to suggest ideas for improvement – and perhaps work on them on the side, in secret, if ignored?
  • Question 4: Philosophy Versus Psychology: What's the proper distinction between philosophy and psychology? Given that psychology concerns the mind, I don't see how to clearly distinguish it from philosophy. For example, when would emotions be a philosophic concern versus a psychological concern? In other words, where is the dividing line between philosophy and psychology? Can they be separated?

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.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio podcast from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 9 December 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on right to work laws, deception in a crisis, philosophy versus psychology, the value of gift exchanges, and more with Greg Perkins. I thought that might be of interest!

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Internet Radio: Right to Work, Deception in a Crisis, Gifts, and More
  • When: Sunday, 16 December 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio

This week's questions are:

  • Question 1: Right to Work Laws: Do "right to work" laws violate or protect rights? Some states are attempting to pass "right to work" laws, despite massive union opposition. Under such laws, employers cannot require employees to be a member of a union – as often happens due to federal law. These laws aim to empower employees against unwelcome unions. Are these laws legitimate – perhaps as defense against unjust federal law or a step toward freedom of contract? Or are they indefensible because they violate the rights of employers to dictate the terms of employment?
  • Question 2: Deception in a Crisis: Is it moral to deceive to someone to help him through a crisis? Imagine that a man is about to break up with his girlfriend (or divorce his wife), but then he discovers that she has a serious disease or she suffers a serious accident. Is it moral for him to help her through the crisis under the false pretense of a stable, loving relationship? (What if that would take months of deception?) Or should the man be frank with the woman as soon as possible about parting ways, perhaps only only offering help as a friend, if that? Would that be cruel?
  • Question 3: Philosophy Versus Psychology: What's the proper distinction between philosophy and psychology? Given that psychology concerns the mind, I don't see how to clearly distinguish it from philosophy. For example, when would emotions be a philosophic concern versus a psychological concern? In other words, where is the dividing line between philosophy and psychology? Can they be separated?
  • Question 4: The Value of Gift Exchanges: What is the purpose of exchanging gifts during the holidays? To me, gift exchanges seem meaningless: they're a waste of time and money. What am I missing?

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.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio podcast from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 16 December 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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