Saturday, September 28, 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, 29 September 2013: Q&A on Keeping Secrets, Ultimate Ends, Studying History, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 29 September 2013.
  • Question 1: 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?
  • Question 2: Choosing an Ultimate End: Can a person choose an ultimate value other than his own life? Ayn Rand claims that each person's life is his own ultimate value. Similarly, Aristotle says that each person's final end is his own flourishing or well-being. Does that mean that a person cannot have another ultimate value or final end? Or just that they should not?
  • Question 3: Studying History: How should a person approach the study of history? I've always prided myself on being a "student of history" – meaning that I read and think a great deal about the past and try to apply its lessons to the future. Is this a valid concept? Am I missing a bigger picture? Do you have any tips on being a better "student of history"?
  • Question 4: Moral Blacks and Whites: Can life be morally black and white? People often say life is not "black and white," meaning that sometimes we must navigate morally gray zones, particularly when dealing with complex decisions involving other people. However, if we make decisions based on objective absolutes, doesn't that eliminate these so-called "morally gray zones"?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 29 September 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 2 October 2013: Timothy Sandefur on "Occupational Licensing Versus the Right to Earn a Living"

I'll interview Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Timothy Sandefur about "Occupational Licensing Versus the Right to Earn a Living" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 2 October 2013.

Many states require licenses to practice certain professions – from medicine to styling hair. What are the practical effects of such licensing requirements? Do they protect the public from quacks, as their defenders claim? Or do they violate a person's right to earn a living and promote poverty? How have the courts ruled on cases challenging licensing requirements?

Timothy Sandefur is a Principal Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation. As the lead attorney in the Foundation's Economic Liberty Project, he works to protect businesses against abusive government regulation, and has won important victories for free enterprise in California, Oregon, Missouri, and other states. He is the author of three books, Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America (2006), The Right to Earn A Living: Economic Freedom And The Law (2010), and The Conscience of The Constitution: The Declaration of Independence And The Right to Liberty, which will appear in 2014. He has also published more than 45 scholarly articles on subjects ranging from property rights and economic freedom to intellectual property, evolution and creationism, slavery and the Civil War, and the political philosophy of Shakespeare and ancient Greek literature.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 2 October 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.

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

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

What is the moral line between respecting copyrights and fair use? How do I teach my toddlers how to share voluntarily? How can I help my partner accept my doing risky activities?

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

25 September 2013: Jenn Casey on "Living Safely with Food Allergies (Part 1)"

I interviewed peanut allergy mom Jenn Casey about "Living Safely with Food Allergies (Part 1)" on Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"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? This episode is part one of two." 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.

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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