Saturday, October 19, 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, 20 October 2013: Q&A on Inequality, Genetic Engineering, Ten Commandments, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 20 October 2013.
  • Question 1: The Social Effects of Inequality: Is an egalitarian society a better society? The 2009 book "The Spirit Level" argues that income inequality has a broad range of negative effects on society. According to the summary on Wikipedia, "It claims that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries."Are these egalitarian arguments wrong? If so, what's the best approach to refuting them?
  • Question 2: Favoritism for the Genetically Engineered: Once some children are genetically engineered, wouldn't discrimination against natural children be inevitable? Assume that humanity has advanced to the technological capacities of the movie "Gattaca," where the best possible genes for each child could be (and mostly would be) chosen before implantation of the embryo. In that case, how could society prevent discrimination against people who were conceived naturally? Those chosen genes would include genes for determination, the desire to learn, motivation, and more, such that engineered people would always win out based on merit. The movie "Gattaca" shows a natural child rising above his engineered counterparts because of his great determination and spirit. The movie's tagline is even "there is no gene for the human spirit." But if there is such a thing as a human spirit, then there surely must be a gene for it. So would discrimination against natural children be inevitable? If so, would it be unjust?
  • Question 3: The Value of the Ten Commandments: Are the Ten Commandments of value to an atheist? Are the Ten Commandments a useful guide to living a good life, even for people who are not Jewish or Christian? Should a rational person look to religious scriptures for ethical guidance?
  • Question 4: Property Owners Prohibiting Firearms: Should a person respect signs prohibiting guns in certain areas? Some businesses and government offices announce that firearms are prohibited in the building, yet no screening is conducted to ensure that firearms are excluded. In such "pretend gun-free zones," law-abiding people will disarm, while criminals and other dangerous or careless people will not. Is this a violation of a person's right to self-defense? Should people refuse disarm in face of such signs?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 20 October 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 23 October 2013: Paul Hsieh on "Lessons from the Personality Theory Workshop"

I'll chat with my own Paul Hsieh about "Lessons from the Personality Theory Workshop" on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 23 October 2013.

In early October, I gathered a few close friends in Atlanta to discuss the ins and outs of personality theory. We focused on various theories of personality, as well as the effects of personality differences at work, in parenting, in personal relations, and in activism. In this episode, my husband Paul and I will share the highlights.

Dr. Paul Hsieh is a physician in practice in South Denver. He is the co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM). He has written scores of op-eds, mostly on health care policy, as well as articles for The Objective Standard. He blogs offbeat tech news at GeekPress.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 23 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.

16 October 2013: Jenn Casey on "Living Safely with Food Allergies (Part 2)"

I interviewed peanut allergy mom Jenn Casey about "Living Safely with Food Allergies (Part 2)" 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 Two of Two. Be sure to listen to Part One."

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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