Saturday, May 25, 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, 26 May 2013: Q&A on Open Relationships, Innate Personality, Alimony, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 26 May 2013.
  • Question 1: The Ethics of Open Relationships: Can open relationships be moral? Can it ever be moral to have sex with someone else while in a relationship, assuming that you're honest with everyone involved? If not, why not? If so, what might be some of the pitfalls to be aware of? For example, should the criteria for selecting sexual partners be stricter than if you were single? How should you navigate the tricky territory of opening a previously closed relationship?
  • Question 2: Innate Personality: Can personality be innate? In past shows, you've indicated that you think that some aspects of personality are innate, rather than acquired by experience. What does that mean? What is the evidence for that view? Moreover, wouldn't that be a form of determinism? Wouldn't that violate the principle that every person is born a "blank slate"?
  • Question 3: Conceiving Again to Save a Child: Is it wrong for parents to have another baby to save the life of their sick child? In 1990, Marissa Ayala was born in the hope that she might be able to save her 16-year-old sister Anissa from a rare form of leukemia. (The parents went to extraordinary lengths to conceive.) Happily, Marissa was a suitable bone marrow donor, and Anissa's life was saved. At the time, many people criticized the decision as "baby farming" and treating the new baby as a "biological resupply vehicle." Yet today, the Ayalas are a close family, Anissa is alive and well, and Marissa is happy to have been born. Were the Ayalas wrong to attempt to save the life of one child by having another? What moral premises would lead a person to condemn this act?
  • Question 4: The Justice of Alimony Payments: Should alimony payments upon divorce be abolished? Traditionally, a man was obliged to financially support his ex-wife upon divorce. Recent reforms have decreased the amount and duration of alimony in some states, as well as made it gender neutral (in theory). But are such payments ever justifiable? If so, under what conditions?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 26 May 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 29 May 2013: Jason Crawford on "Free Objectivist Books for Students"

I'll interview entrepreneur Jason Crawford about "Free Objectivist Books for Students" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 29 May 2013.

The Free Objectivist Books for Students web site aims to help more students read Ayn Rand. It does that by enabling donors to send books by Ayn Rand or about her philosophy of Objectivism to students eager to read them. Jason Crawford will explain how the project works – including the unusual way it connects donors and recipients – and why he thinks students should read Ayn Rand.

Jason Crawford is a software developer and entrepreneur in San Francisco. He was co-founder and CTO of startup Kima Labs, and has worked at Amazon and Groupon. He was introduced to Objectivism in 1992 and has been a part of the Objectivist movement ever since.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 29 May 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.

19 May 2013: Q&A on Individualism, Disabled Children, Arranged Marriages, and More

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

Does individualism imply social isolation and atomism? How can I make my boss more communicative? Should disabled kids be kept out of the public eye? Are arranged marriages legally and socially valid?

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

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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