Saturday, June 01, 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, 2 June 2013: Q&A on Abortion, Obama, Infidelity, Family Time, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 2 June 2013.
  • Question 1: Abortion Rights and the Violinist Argument: Can abortion rights be justified based on Judith Thomson's "violinist" argument? Even if we accept that an embryo is a person with a right to life, can't abortion rights be justified on the basis of Judith Thomson's famous "violinist" thought experiment – meaning, on the grounds that one person does not have the right to use another person for life support?
  • Question 2: Obama's Cultural Impact: Will Obama's second term further damage American culture and values? I'm not as worried about the tax hikes, foreign policy, and other concrete policies of Obama's second term as I am about the cultural change that his administration will instill in society over the next four years, just as it did over the last four years. The next generation of liberals – college age kids, that is – are little socialists who repeat the phrases like "social justice" and "fair share." Is such cultural change a genuine problem? If so, what can be done to combat it?
  • Question 3: Laws Against Marital Infidelity: Should marital infidelity be illegal? Many states, including Colorado, have laws against marital infidelity on the books. These laws are rarely if ever enforced. Politicians often attempt to repeal them, but those attempts are often unsuccessful. Many people think that the government ought to "take a moral stand" even if the law isn't enforced. Does that view have any merit? Should these laws be repealed? Why or why not?
  • Question 4: Managing Demands for Family Time: Should I limit my time away from family in deference to their cultural expectations? My family comes from a conservative Turkish background. They see the amount of independence granted me as a 19-year-old as more than enough. I see it as unsatisfactory. In fact, they feel pushed to their limit by the amount of time I ask to spend away from family on a daily basis. They believe I should not ask for any more independence, as they are already trying their hardest to accept me having even a small amount. However, what I'm allowed is very little compared to most people my age. It affects what I can do or not with my life, not just in the short-term but in the long-term too. Should I respect my family's wishes on this point, given that they are already trying their hardest within the context of their own cultural values? Or should I ask for more independence, even if that violates their beliefs?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 2 June 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Note: Philosophy in Action Radio will not broadcast on Wednesday, 5 June 2013.


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.

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

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

Can open relationships be moral? Can personality be innate? Is it wrong for parents to have another baby to save the life of their sick child? Should alimony payments upon divorce be abolished?

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

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

I interviewed entrepreneur and activist Jason Crawford about "Free Objectivist Books for Students" on Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"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 explained 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.

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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