Saturday, October 26, 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, 27 October 2013: Q&A on Checkered Pasts, Racist Names, Gun Rights, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 27 October 2013.
  • Question 1: Revealing a Checkered Past: How forthcoming should I be with new people I meet about my checkered past? My past is not a source of pride for me. Over four years ago, I read "Atlas Shrugged." That book altered the radical change I was already bringing into my life for the better. I've recently begun meeting other fans of Ayn Rand in real life, and I dislike discussing my white-trash, moocher-esque history with these new acquaintances. (At the time, I was between 17 and 20 years old.) If I shared my past with these people, I think they might judge me harshly and cut ties with me, given that they don't know me well. However, given my past, I have a clearer understanding of the irrational, twisted, cruel, and nasty nature of people who choose to live like leeches off of other human beings. I think that sharing these experiences with others can be a source of strength to them. (I don't want others to stumble into these poor decisions when they could do better!) So how much of my past should I share with other people, and how should I share it?
  • Question 2: Racist Names of Sports Teams: Should sports teams with racist names change them? Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins has vowed never to the team's name, insisting that it stands for bravery. I've read conflicting reports about polls of Native Americans. Some are offended, and some don't care. It appears that D.C. area politicians and various academics looking to make names for themselves are leading the charge to change the name, and they seem to have much to gain thereby. Personally, I am not offended by the name, but I wouldn't go onto a reservation and address the people there as "redskins." While the name may be racist and offensive to some, is that a sufficient reason to change it?
  • Question 3: 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 to disarm in face of such signs?
  • Question 4: Explaining Facebook Unfriendings: Does a person owe others an explanation for unfriending them on Facebook? I'm "friends" with many people on Facebook who I can't stand and with whom I would never willingly spend time in real life. I've purged many Facebook friends I didn't really know and/or who've contributed nothing of value to my life, all for the better. Now I am considering whether to unfriend former lovers and one-time real life friends from my youth for a host of insurmountable reasons – for example, our politics don't jive, I'm annoyed by seeing endless photos of their pets, and so on. Odds are I will never have any dealings with these people again, mostly because I don't want to. Do I owe them an explanation for the unfriending?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 27 October 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Wednesday Evening, 30 October 2013: Chat about "Reading of Responsibility & Luck, Chapter One"

I'll chat about "Reading of Responsibility & Luck, Chapter One" with live callers on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Wednesday evening, 30 October 2013.

What is the problem of moral luck? Why does it matter? In this podcast, I will read Chapter One of my new book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Wednesday, 30 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.

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

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

Is an egalitarian society a better society? Once some children are genetically engineered, wouldn't discrimination against natural children be inevitable? Are the Ten Commandments of value to an atheist?

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

23 October 2013: Paul Hsieh on "Highlights from the Personality Theory Workshop"

I chatted with my own Paul Hsieh about "Highlights from the Personality Theory Workshop" on Wednesday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"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.

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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