Saturday, March 29, 2014

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, 30 March 2014: Q&A on Evolution's Ethical Implications, Body Image, Theology, and More

I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 30 March 2014.
  • Question 1: Evolution's Ethical Implications: Should ethics begin with facts about evolution, including altruism? The ethical egoism advocated by Ayn Rand doesn't seem to incorporate genetics or evolution. Having evolved in tribal and family groups, we are creatures tuned to group behavior more than to individual behavior. Altruism wasn't invented by religion. In a tribe, helping those around you helps you survive too. Helping your kin helps your genes survive. The fact is that feeling good when you help others is built into the core of being human. The fact is that much status seeking and other seemingly irrational actions are techniques to ensure the propagation of our genes. Objectivism starts with "A is A." But, if reality is most important, shouldn't people base their ethics on the facts about humans as they actually are – altruism and all?
  • Question 2: Cultivating a Healthy Body Image: How does a person cultivate a healthy body image? Suppose that a woman realizes that she has been unconsciously influenced by unrealistic body images – as portrayed in movies, magazines, and so on? She is basically healthy, and so it would be good for her to feel good about how she looks. But a person can't always change everything about herself: she can't change her height, however much she dislikes it. Even if a person can make changes, most people need to accept that they will never look like movie stars. So how does a person cultivate a healthy body image? How might a person notice and combat an unhealthy obsession with appearance?
  • Question 3: The Value of Studying Theology: Can a rational person extract any value from studying theology? Theology includes a mix of arguments for the existence of God, plus views on ethics, and more. It's the earliest form of philosophy. Can a person benefit by cherry picking ideas from theological teachings or does the mysticism and other faults outweigh any benefits?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 30 March 2014. 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 podcast archives, sorted by date or by topic. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast RSS feed too.

23 March 2014: Q&A on Future Generations, Privatizing Prisons, Returning Goods, and More

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

Should I care about future generations? Is running prisons a legitimate function of government or should they be privatized? Is it wrong to buy goods with the intent to return them?

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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