By Diana Hsieh
In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on knowing your biological parents, second-hand smoke, changing core beliefs with age, man the rational animal, and more with Greg Perkins. Don't miss this engaging hour-long discussion on the application rational principles to the challenges of real life!
- What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio Show
- Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
- When: Sunday, 1 July 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
- Where: www.PhilosophyInAction.com/live
This week's questions are:
- Question 1: Knowing Your Biological Parents: Do adopted people have a right to know who their biological parents are? Some adopted people want to know their biological parents, and knowing one's family medical history could be important to a person. So does a person have a right to know his biological parents? If so, does that apply to children conceived with sperm or egg donors? Do parents giving children up for adoption or donating reproductive tissue have a right to privacy?
- Question 2: Second-hand Smoke: It is wrong to inflict second-hand smoke on other people? Although smoking is detrimental to a person's health, whether or not someone smokes is (or should be) a matter of his personal choice. However, what is the proper moral and legal status of "second-hand smoke"? If second-hand smoke contributes to the development of respiratory diseases or if others simply find it noxious, shouldn't people refrain from smoking in public or smoking around people who haven't consented to it? In a free society, would and should most workplaces ban smoking? Could second-hand smoke be considered a tort, such that the state should forbid smoking around people who object to it?
- Question 3: Changing Core Beliefs with Age: Why are older people less likely to change their core beliefs? Recently, I had a conversation with a long-time committed leftist who "blinked" when confronted with the fact that collectivism always fails, and it fails because the underlying theory is wrong in principle. Many people, particularly older people, are unwilling to reconsider their core views, however. As to the reason why, my hypothesis is that older people have significant sunk costs in their philosophy, such that they could not psychologically survive the realization that they were so wrong for so many decades. Is that right? If so, what can be done to help them change for the better, if anything?
- Question 4: Man the Rational Animal: What does it mean to say that "man is a rational animal"? The fact that man is a rational animal distinguishes him from all other living entities and makes the whole of philosophy possible and necessary. But, taking a step back, what does it mean to say that man is a (or the) rational animal? What is rationality, not as a virtue, but as the essential characteristic of man?
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 recording of the whole episode, as well as individual questions, posted to the episode's archive page: Q&A Radio: 1 July 2012. From that page, you can post comments on the questions before or after the broadcast.
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I hope that you'll join us on Sunday morning!