Saturday, August 03, 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, 4 August 2013: Q&A on Dangerous People, Evolution, Annoying Kids, Infatuation, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 4 August 2013.
  • Question 1: Identifying Dangerous People: How can I better identify dangerous or immoral people in my life? I don't like to be morally judgmental about personality and other optional differences. In fact, I like being friends with a variety of kinds of people: that expands my own horizon. Yet I've been prey to some really awful people in my life. Looking back, I'd have to say that I ignored some signs of trouble – dismissing them as mere optional matters, as opposed to moral failures. How can I better differentiate "interesting" and "quirky" from "crazy" and "dangerous" in people I know?
  • Question 2: Evolution and Objectivism: Does evolutionary theory contradict the principles of Objectivism? I am new to atheism and Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, and I embrace both wholeheartedly. However, I take issue with the theory of evolution. Atheism seems to imply evolution, but evolution seems to clash with Objectivism. Evolution holds that man is an insignificant piece of the larger, grander picture of the randomness that is life, that man is just one small insignificant step in the collective evolution of the earth, and that man is one with Mother Earth, not superior to it. In contrast, Objectivism holds that man has a purpose and that man is the most significant being, supreme over all other life. Also, Objectivism holds that "A is A" and that "Existence exists." Evolution, in contrast, claims that life came from non-life, fish came from non-fish, and man came from non-man – meaning that A came from non-A. Am I correct in my criticisms? Might some theory other than evolution be more compatible with Objectivism?
  • Question 3: Scolding Other People's Children: Is it wrong to discipline other people's children when they refuse to do so? I was eating lunch at an outdoor market. A woman and her son stopped near me, and the boy (who was probably around 8 years old) leaned over my table and stuck his finger in my food. Then he started laughing and ran around in circles. The mom looked at me and dismissively said, "He's autistic." Then she walked away. How should I have responded? Is there a respectful way to tell a stranger that her son's behavior is unacceptable in a public setting? Would it be wrong to speak to the boy directly?
  • Question 4: Romantic Infatuation: Is it wrong to indulge romantic infatuation? I am infatuated with a young woman for whom I am not a suitable match, including because I am 30 and she is 16. It is strictly a fantasy; I make no effort to pursue or to make my feelings known to her and have no intention to ever do so. However, in private, I am deeply in love with her and practically worship her like a celebrity and collect all her pictures. (I refrain from masturbating to her because doing so makes me feel guilty.) Due to deficiencies in my life that I consider unfixable, I have low self-esteem and have given up on dating for the foreseeable future, if not indefinitely. Do you think my behavior is creepy, immoral, or bad for my own well being?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 4 August 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 7 August 2013: Tom Varik on "Gay Marriage and Spousal Privilege"

I'll interview attorney Tom Varik about "Gay Marriage and Spousal Privilege" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 7 August 2013.

Why does gay marriage matter? What elements of marriage cannot be covered by ordinary contracts? What is the significance of the recent Supreme Court cases on gay marriage? Attorney Tom Varik will answer these questions and more.

Tom G. Varik is an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio, where he currently works for the Social Security Administration. He attended the University of Akron School of Law, earning a JD in 2009. Before that, he studied motion picture production at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where he produced several short films featured in various international underground film festivals, and earned a BFA in 2006.

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

28 July 2013: Q&A on Social Contract, Excusing Wrongs, President Obama, and More

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

Is a 'social contract' the proper basis for government? Are there moral limits to romanticizing historical figures in art? Does mental illness excuse wrong behavior? How should I respond to friends who fanatically hate President Obama?

You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.
31 July 2013: Eric Daniels on "Why Small Government Isn't the Answer" I interviewed historian Eric Daniels about "Why Small Government Isn't the Answer" on Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio: "Is "big government" the fundamental problem of American politics? Historian Eric Daniels will explain why this common formulation is misleading, wrong, and even dangerous to liberty." Dr. Eric Daniels teaches history and works on curriculum development at the LePort Schools in Irvine, California. He has previously taught at Clemson, Georgetown, and Duke Universities. He has a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Wisconsin. 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. If you're interested in more from Philosophy in Action, be sure to like our Facebook Page and subscribe to our Newsletter!
Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar

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