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 ShowsPhilosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and Thursday 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, 11 May 2014: Q&A on Varieties of Atheism, Psychological Struggles, Juries, and More
I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 11 May 2014.
- Question 1: Weak Versus Strong Atheism: Should a rational person's atheism be weak or strong? People often distinguish between "weak atheism" and "strong atheism." The weak atheist regards the arguments for the existence of God as invalid, such that God's existence has not been proven. The strong atheist positively asserts that God does not exist. Which of these views is correct?
- Question 2: Dating People with Psychological Problems: Is it a mistake to enter into a serious relationship with a person with serious psychological problems? Recently, my wife took her own life after a long struggle with major depression and other psychological issues. When we started dating, I saw clearly that she had issues although they were not as bad at the time. She was also intelligent, beautiful, and ambitious – among other good qualities. At the time, I thought she could work through her psychological issues with support, and she did improve for a while. However, after her loss, I've decided that, when and if I'm to the point where I'm interested in dating again, I will avoid becoming involved with women who display clear psychological problems. This decision has forced me to wonder if it was a mistake to become involved with my wife in the first place. So is it a mistake to enter into a serious relationship, knowing that the person has serious psychological struggles?
- Question 3: The Presence of Juries at Trials: Should juries be present at trials? In fictional portrayals of trials, the jury is often told to disregard certain statements. Also, interruptions in the form of objections are common. Wouldn't it be easier for the jury to be absent from the trial itself, then presented with all and only the admissible evidence and testimony afterward? In fact, the jury need not see the parties in question, nor even know their names. Wouldn't that eliminate the possibility of racial discrimination and other irrelevant judgments?
Thursday morning, 15 May 2014: Q&A on Egoism, Cashier's Mistake, Philosophy in Romance, and More
I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Thursday morning, 15 May 2014.
- Question 1: Egoism and Harm to Others: Should an egoist be willing to torture millions to benefit himself? In your discussion of explaining egoistic benevolence on December 22, 2013, you indicated that you regarded such a scenario as absurd. Could you explain why that is? Why wouldn't such torture be not merely permitted but rather obligatory under an egoistic ethics? Why should an egoist even care about what happens to strangers?
- Question 2: Correcting a Cashier's Mistake: Is it wrong to remain silent when a cashier makes a mistake in your favor? At a popular department store, I wanted to buy two items for $2.94 each and condoms for $14.00. The cashier was about my grandmother's age. She scanned the $2.94 items three times and said the total was $8.82. I knew the price wasn't right, , but I didn't want to say to the elderly woman, "Excuse me, but you didn't scan my condoms." I got a good deal, but I think that was somewhat immoral on my part. Is that right? What should I have done?
- Question 3: Philosophy in Romance: Is sharing an interest in philosophy necessary for a good romance? I am extremely interested in philosophy. I'm studying it and planning to make it my career. My girlfriend is not. She wants nothing to do with philosophy, although she is perfectly happy with me doing it. However, I find that I am missing that intellectual engagement with her. I've asked a number of times if she would try to talk to me about any sort of philosophical issue – really just anything deeper than day to day happenings – and she just can't do it. She becomes uninterested or even begins to get overwhelmed and frustrated to the point of tears. Is it necessary for us to engage in this activity together to be happy? Is there any way that I can help her to engage in rational inquiry without it being forced on her, if at all?
Recent PodcastsThe 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.
4 May 2014: Q&A on Body Dysmorphia, Licensing Parents, Irresponsible Siblings, and More
I answered these questions on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio:
What should I do when a friend exhibits severe body dysmorphia on social media? Should parents be licensed? Is a person responsible for his incapable sibling?
You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.
- Duration: 1:13:48
- Download: Enhanced M4A File (26.5 MB) or Standard MP3 File (25.4 MB)
- Tags: Benevolence, Body Dysmorphia, Body Image, Child Abuse, Children, Communication, Crime, Duty Ethics, Egoism, Ethics, Family, Finances, Government, Health, Law, Obligation, Parenting, Psychology, Regulation, Relationships, Responsibility, Rights, Rule of Law, Sacrifice, Self-Esteem, Self-Sacrifice, Siblings, Social Media, Welfare
Recent Blog PostsHere 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.
- May 3: Link-O-Rama
- May 4: Activism Recap
- May 5: NoodleCast #280: Body Dysmorphia, Licensing Parents, Irresponsible Siblings, and More
- May 5: ATLOSCon: Talk on Honesty and More
- May 6: Reminders: Follow Our Work
- May 6: Rube Goldberg Machine of Animals
- May 8: Preview: Sunday Radio: Varieties of Atheism, Psychological Struggles, Juries, and More
- May 9: Explore Atlas Shrugged: Calling All Grammar Nazis