Saturday, June 29, 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, 30 June 2013: Q&A on Aristotle, Corrupt Siblings, Studying Philosophy, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 30 June 2013.
  • Question 1: Aristotle on the Final End: Is Aristotle's argument for flourishing as the final end valid? In the "Nicomachean Ethics," Aristotle argues that flourishing (or happiness) is the proper final end. What is that argument? Does it have merit? How does it differ from Ayn Rand's argument for life as the standard of value?
  • Question 2: Dealing with a Morally Corrupt Sibling: How should I respond to my morally corrupt sister? My 20 year old sister is morally destitute. She is an unapologetic shoplifter. Her justifications amount to things like: "My shoplifting is not an addiction because I can stop anytime I want to," "everyone does it," "companies account for shoplifters in their business plans so they mark prices higher to compensate for it," "I'd never steal from a friend," "I need to steal while I look young and can get away with it because no one suspects me," etc. Over the years she has stolen hundreds if not thousands of dollars from our parents, too. She lies and cheats frequently. She's accepted money in return for writing a paper for a friend. She knows what she does is "wrong," and she maintains that such is better than not knowing, at least. (That makes no sense, I know.) I also just found out that she's selling marijuana because, as she says, she needs a way to support her expensive taste in clothes and makeup. She has no integrity or moral conscience. She doesn't care about my horror at her behavior. She does not respond to reason. Part of me wants to help her by trying to talk sense into her. I care about her, and I want her to be a healthy person and not have a miserable life. Another part of me wants to forget her and let her ruin herself. Yet I don't want to stand by and watch that happen, and I also know that there's only so much I can do to really help her. What is the rational thing to do?
  • Question 3: Studying Philosophy: Is studying philosophy in academia a waste? I have a strong interest in Objectivism, and I'd like to learn more about philosophy. However, my experience taking philosophy classes has been horrible. I'd like a class in which (1) I can trust the professor's objectivity enough to enjoy a lecture, (2) I can agree with the professor's analysis of a particular topic, and/or (3) the class and material is taught in an integrated, logical fashion. I've not found any of that. When I've mentioned my interest in Ayn Rand, I've gotten comments like "Well, I think she's someone to be outgrown." Do you know of any schools with good philosophy departments? How should I approach studying philosophy in academia? How could I make the best of what's offered?
  • Question 4: The Legality of DDoS Attacks: Should "Distributed Denial of Service" (a.k.a. DDoS) attacks be illegal? DDoS computer attacks are illegal in the United Kingdom. Are such attacks analogous to convincing people to send many letters to an organization or to calling on the phone repeatedly, thereby crippling its infrastructure? Or are they more like trespassing on property? How should the law deal with them?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 30 June 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Tuesday Morning, 2 July 2013: Fran Santagata on "Preparing for Wildfires and Other Natural Disasters"

I'll interview Community Preparedness Program Manager Fran Santagata about "Preparing for Wildfires and Other Natural Disasters" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Tuesday Morning, 2 July 2013.

Colorado is experiencing yet another very destructive – even deadly – fire season. What can people do to prepare for that? How can they mitigate the risk to their property? How can they make sure that people and animals are evacuated safely?

Fran Santagata currently serves as the Community Preparedness Program Manager for the Office of Preparedness for Homeland Security & Emergency Management for the state of Colorado. She responsible for all aspects of community preparedness for the state. Prior to her current position, Santagata served as the Director of Emergency Management for Douglas County, Colorado.

Take note of the unusual day and time! Ms. Santagata's schedule would not permit her to appear in the usual time slot. But I learned so much from her when she spoke to our neighborhood that I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to interview her while Colorado is in the midst of such an awful fire season.

The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Tuesday morning, 2 July 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.

23 June 2013: Q&A on Self-Control, Lying for Surprise, Teen Parents, and More

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

Should a person cultivate his powers of self-control? Is it ever okay to tell a lie as part of a happy surprise for someone else? What's the rationale for declaring some physically mature people too young to have children?

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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