Saturday, December 14, 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 most 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, 15 December 2013: Q&A on Egoistic Benevolence, Public Shamings, Photography, and More

I'll answer these four questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 15 December 2013.
  • Question 1: Egoistic Benevolence: Can actions done for the sake of others be egoistic? In your October 7, 2013 radio show, you mentioned that people have a difficult time understanding how exercising benevolence towards one's friends is egoistic and self-interested. Instead, they think that being benevolent toward anyone is "other-regarding" and hence, altruistic. How can we untangle and explain this seeming conflict between egoism and benevolent action?
  • Question 2: Public Shamings: Are public shamings morally justifiable? I often read of judges handing down sentences designed to humiliate the offender, such as standing at a busy intersection wearing a sandwich board apologizing for their offense. Many people favor these kinds of punishments in lieu of jail time because they consume less resources of the penal system. They may be more effective too. Does that justify such shamings? Moreover, what's the morality of similar shamings by parents and businesses? A bodega in my neighborhood posts surveillance camera footage of shoplifters, usually with some snarky comment about their theft. I find this practice amusing, but is that moral? Is it akin to vigilantism?
  • Question 3: Problems with an Aggressive Dog: What should a person do about a neighbor's aggressive dog? My husband was attacked (but barely injured) by a neighbor's dog. No one else was in the room at the time. Our children often play at this person's house, and the dog has always been friendly in the past. How do you suggest handling the situation? Should we allow our children to play with the dog, as we always have in the past? What should the owner do about the dog?
  • Question 4: Photography as Art: Does photography qualify as art? I've always viewed photography as a legitimate form of art. However, many people I disagree: Ayn Rand argued that it's a technical rather than a creative skill. However, I regard photography as a technical and creative skill, just like painting. So does photography qualify as art? If not, does that mean that photography doesn't have value – or has less value than proper art forms like painting? If photography has value nonetheless, what is the source of that value?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 15 December 2013. The podcast will be posted later that day. 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.

8 December 2013: Q&A on Secular Humanism, European Colonizers, Declaring Love, and More

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

What are the similarities and differences between Objectivism and secular humanism? How should European colonizers be judged for their treatment of Native Americans? When should a person declare his love for another?

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

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!

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