Saturday, April 12, 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, 13 April 2014: Q&A on Animals as Property, Overwork, Abortion Rights, Marital Promises, and More

I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 13 April 2014.
  • Question 1: Animals as Property: Are animals a special kind of property? On your blog NoodleFood, you claimed that "the law should recognize that beloved pets are not mere property, but rather a special kind of property. To wrongfully cause the death of a pet should carry a significantly higher penalty than merely compensating the owner for the replacement cost of that pet. Moreover, police officers and government officials who indulge in this kind of reckless killing without good cause should be disciplined severely, preferably fired." Can you explain this view – the theory and the practice – further? Would this standard be akin to that of hate crimes, on the theory that crime is wrong but a crime motivated by hate is more wrong? Would it apply to other property – like my car (because it adds so much value to my life) or family photographs (which have lots of sentimental values but not monetary value)?
  • Question 2: The Problem of Overwork: Does the example set by Ayn Rand's heroes encourage overwork? The heroes of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead seem to have a nearly unlimited well of energy. They work long hours, and they don't have many interests outside work. However, isn't that dangerous? Does this approach to work risk exhaustion and burnout? More generally? what's the rational approach to balancing work and self-care?
  • Question 3: Defending Abortion Rights: How can abortion rights be more effectively defended? Although the biblical case against abortion is weak, the religious right has gained much traction against abortion rights in the last decade or two. The "personhood" movement is growing every year, and incremental restrictions on abortion have mushroomed. Even more alarming, the demographics seem to be against abortion rights: young people are increasingly opposed to abortion. What can be done to more effectively defend abortion rights? Can any lessons be drawn from the success of the campaign for gay marriage?
  • Question 4: Promises of Marriage: Are the promises of marriage binding when a spouse becomes self-destructive? When couples marry, they often promise to stay together "for better or for worse" and "in sickness and in health." But imagine that a wife chooses a self-destructive course of action – say, abusing drugs, profligate spending, or gambling. She refuses to listen to reason or change her behavior. Does the husband have an obligation to stay in the marriage or support her financially due to his past promise? If her self-destructive behavior causes some permanent disability, is he obliged to assist her financially or in some other way? Basically, what do the promises of marriage oblige a person to do?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 13 April 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.

6 April 2014: Q&A on Open Objectivism, Giving Back Gifts, Military Secrets, and More

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

What is 'open Objectivism'? Should a woman give back her engagement ring if the relationship goes sour? Is it wrong to buy a book containing sensitive military information?

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.
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