Saturday, April 13, 2013

Philosophy Weekend: News from Philosophy in Action

By Diana Hsieh

Every Saturday, I post the news of the week from my primary work, Philosophy in Action, where I apply rational principles to the challenges of real life. Here's this week's update.

Upcoming Radio Shows

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. Below are the episodes upcoming this week. I hope that you join us! More upcoming episodes can be found here: Episodes on Tap.

Sunday Morning, 14 April 2013: Q&A on Obesity, Parental Consent, Negative Terms, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 14 April 2013.
  • Question 1: Moral Judgments of Obese People: Is it right or wrong to condemn people for being obese? Obviously, obese and morbidly obese people have made mistakes in their lives. Are they morally culpable for those mistakes? How should other people judge their characters? If I see an obese person on the street, should I infer that he is lazy and unmotivated? Should I refuse to hire an obese person because I suspect he won't work as hard as a non-obese person? Is obesity a moral failing – or are there other considerations?
  • Question 2: Parental Consent for Abortion: Should minor girls be required by law to obtain parental consent for an abortion? Normally, parents are legally empowered to make medical decisions for their minor children, and minors cannot obtain medical procedures without parental consent. How should that apply in the case of pregnancy? Should pregnancy and abortion be treated differently from other medical conditions? Should parents be allowed by law to force a daughter under 18 to carry a pregnancy to term or to abort against her will? Should minor teenagers be granted more power over their medical decisions? Should the law grant exemptions in cases of potential abuse or neglect if the pregnancy or abortion were discovered?
  • Question 3: Atheist as a Negative Term: Should people define themselves using the negative term "atheist"? To me, a rational person sells himself short when he calls himself an "atheist": he's only saying what he doesn't stand for, not what he does stand for. Plus, to use the term "atheist" seems to be accepting the religious frame of reference. A rational person values individual healthy human life, and everything else he believes follows from that, such as respect for reality, reason, and rights. When a person defines himself in those positive terms, what he's against follows. So, can a person be more clear and persuasive when he focuses on what he's for rather than what he's against? If so, what terms might he use to describe himself?
  • Question 4: Living Longer: Should a life-loving person always wish to live longer? Suppose that a person was offered some medical therapy that would extend his life by 10 or 20 years, while preserving or even improving health. Would a life-loving person always choose to do that, assuming that he could afford it? Would refusing that therapy constitute a kind of passive suicide, perhaps even on par with that of a drug addict? In other words, assuming good health but no personal tragedies, might a life-living person not wish to live any longer?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 14 April 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 17 April 2013: Eric Barnhill on "Cognition, Movement, and Music"

I'll interview pianist and graduate student in medical physics Eric Barnhill about "Cognition, Movement, and Music" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 17 April 2013.

How does cognition connect to physical movement, tone, and rhythm? Can moving to music help the development of cognitive skills or capacities?

Eric Barnhill is a Juilliard-trained concert pianist and the creator of Cognitive Eurhythmics music movement therapy. He is pursuing a Ph.D in medical physics at the University of Edinburgh, where he studies brain-muscle interaction using magnetic resonance physics.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 17 April 2013. The podcast will be posted later that evening. For more details, check out the episode page.

Recent Podcasts

The podcasts of last week's radio shows are now available. Check out the full collection of past radio shows in the archives, sorted by date or by topic. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast RSS feed too.

7 April 2013: Q&A on Gay Marriage, Is-Ought Gap, Political Disagreements, and More

I answered these questions on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

Is "gay marriage" a valid form of marriage? What is the solution to the is-ought problem? What's the proper response to the dissolution of a friendship within a social group? Can people with divergent political views enjoy a good romantic relationship?

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.

10 April 2013: John P. McCaskey on "Libertarianism's Moral Shift"

I interviewed professor John P. McCaskey about "Libertarianism's Moral Shift" on Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"As the libertarian movement has become more mainstream in recent decades, its justification for liberty has changed. How so – and is that change for the better? Is the libertarian movement today capable of offering a vigorous and compelling defense of liberty?" Dr. John P. McCaskey is an historian of philosophy who spent twenty years in the computer industry before returning to academia. He has been teaching at Stanford University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and most recently in the Political Science department at Brown University.

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more.

Recent Blog Posts

Here are last week's posts to Philosophy in Action's blog NoodleFood, ordered from oldest to newest. Don't miss a post: subscribe to NoodleFood's RSS Feed.

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