Saturday, September 21, 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, 22 September 2013: Q&A on Fair Use, Sharing in Children, Risky Fun, Secrets, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 22 September 2013.
  • Question 1: Fair Use of Intellectual Property: What is the moral line between respecting copyrights and fair use? From a moral rather than legal perspective, what are the requirements to respect someone's right to their own work? For example if you have a movie on DVD is it moral to switch it to electronic form for your own use or should you buy the other form? When is quoting from an article or making a spoof fair use versus not respecting the owner's ownership?
  • Question 2: Teaching Children to Share: How do I teach my toddlers how to share voluntarily? I'm the father of 23 month-old girl/boy twins who are just beginning to develop morality. I'm also an atheist with strong Objectivist leanings. I don't want to teach my children that they shouldn't commit a particular offense because God is watching them, as that will instill only fear of the unknown in them. What should I do instead? The twins will fight over particular things (e.g. toys, books, plastic containers, etc.). Too often I find myself trying to keep the peace with the one word command of "Share!" Forced sharing offends me but I find myself using it with the children because their understanding is limited and because it's easy to use. What might I do instead?
  • Question 3: Accepting Risks in Fun: How can I help my partner accept my doing risky activities? I would describe my partner as modestly adventurous. He's willing to try things now and then, but there are lots of things that I'd like to do that he not only refuses to do but forbids me to do as well. For example, I saw a deal to take a beginner pilot lesson on LivingSocial. I have no interest in getting my pilot's license, but I think it would be fun to sit in the seat with a teacher and learn a little something about how it's done. To my mind, this is perfectly safe. My partner, however, says, "No way." Also, I want to go swimming with sharks (with supervision, inside a cage). Yes, there's some risk, but I think that sounds like a lot of fun. My boyfriend disagrees. I did talk him into going skydiving with me once, but he refuses to go again. He bought me a gift certificate so I could do another tandem dive. But I loved it enough that I would consider getting certified to jump on my own. Yet he forbids it. People do these kinds of activities all the time without injury or any other harm. Plus, I want to do them with all proper supervision and safety precautions. I'm certain that my boyfriend understands these mandates of his carry little to no weight with me, but I wish he would be a little more reasonable about the way he assesses these risks. I definitely wish he'd find a better way of expressing his concern for my safety than just issuing commands about what I will and will not do. What should I do?
  • Question 4: Keeping Secrets: When should I respect a person's request to keep information secret? Often, people ask me to keep something they've told me (or will tell me) to myself. Or, they'll ask me not to share it with anyone other than my spouse. Such secrets might consist of happy news that will soon be known, such as future career plans or a pregnancy. That's no problem. However, when the matter is more serious – like psychological struggles, personal wrongdoings, marital troubles, and conflicts with mutual friends – I feel like I'm caught in a bind. Often, I have reason to fear that other people I care about might be hurt, and I feel an obligation to warn them. Is that right? Or am I obliged to keep secrets scrupulously?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 22 September 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 25 September 2013: Jenn Casey on "Living Safely with Food Allergies"

I'll interview peanut allergy mom Jenn Casey about "Living Safely with Food Allergies" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 25 September 2013.

Many Americans have food allergies to common foods such as peanuts, dairy, and eggs. Some of those allergies are so serious as to be life-threatening. Jenn Casey's son has a life-threatening peanut allergy, diagnosed when he was a toddler. What must people diagnosed with such allergies do to protect themselves from accidental ingestion? How can parents keep their children with such allergies safe? How should other people in their lives – such as family, friends, and teachers – do to protect them from harm? What should schools, clubs, and other organizations do?

Jenn Casey is a homeschooling mom to three hilarious kids, wife, small business owner, CrossFit athlete and coach, Positive Discipline educator, sometime blogger, puppy trainer, reluctant 5K runner, urban-chicken-raising wannabe, amateur gardener, humor dabbler, serious Beatles enthusiast, longtime Objectivist, economics nerd, even bigger operations management nerd, Sauvignon Blanc lover, bourbon appreciator, and President of ATLOS.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 25 September 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.

15 September 2013: Q&A on Central Purpose, Kant on Sex, Voter Education, and More

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

How can I identify my own central purpose? What are Immanuel Kant's views on sex? How should I educate myself so that I can cast informed votes in elections? Is it wrong for an atheist to patronize religious businesses?

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

18 September 2013: Robert Garmong on "Censorship in China"

I interviewed Professor Robert Garmong about "Censorship in China" on Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"How does censorship work in China? What can ordinary people access or not? What is the Chinese government most concerned to conceal? What are the consequences of speaking out? What do ordinary people think of the censorship? Robert Garmong, an American living and working in China, will answer these questions and more." Robert Garmong is Lecturer of Business at the Surrey International Institute of Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China. He studied economics and political science at the University of Chicago, and has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas (Austin). His blog is "Professor in Dalian."

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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