Saturday, July 05, 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 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, 6 July 2014: Q&A on Psychological Egoism, Atlas Shrugged, Generosity, and More

I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 6 July 2014.
  • Question 1: Psychological Egoism: Isn't everyone selfish? If you dig deep enough, everyone seems to act in their own interests. I work because that's easier than being a welfare queen. But a college student might cave to his parents about his choice of career because that's easier than standing up for himself. Even the nun who seems to sacrifice everything is doing what she enjoys most and thinks best by her own religious standards. So isn't true altruism impossible? Isn't everyone selfish?
  • Question 2: The Purpose of Atlas Shrugged: Was Atlas Shrugged written to save America? Recently, I ran across this comment on the internet: ""Saving America wasn't the point of Atlas Shrugged, that's not the happily ever after it proposes in the end. It chronicles the main characters getting over that misguided mission and why." Two questions come to mind: (1) What was Ayn Rand's purpose in writing Atlas Shrugged? And (2) Do you think that being inspired to "save America" after reading Atlas Shrugged is misguided?
  • Question 3: Limiting Another's Generosity: How much generosity is too much? Generosity seems like a trait that would fit well into your theory of moral amplifiers. But how does one best deal with someone who is being overly generous? I recently relocated to a new city and one of my coworkers with whom I am friendly has really gone above and beyond trying to help me get settled. She is constantly offering to help, lend me things, or even give me things to make life easier. I appreciate her offers and turn down many of them as politely as I can. But I struggle to find the right balance of accepting her generosity in due proportion to our friendship. She seems to be fairly wealthy, so I don't think her offers are sacrificial in any way, my issue is that we are friends, but not close enough friends to justify the incessant barrage of motherly offerings. Through consistent communication about what I am willing to accept and what I won't – and also owing to actually getting settled in the new city – she's backed off a bit. More broadly, how would you recommend dealing with this sort of problem? How can a person make sure not to make this mistake of being overly generous?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 6 July 2014. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Thursday evening, 10 July 2014: Q&A on The Proper Role of Government, Enjoying the Moment, and More

I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Thursday evening, 10 July 2014.
  • Question 1: The Proper Role of Government: Should the government of a free society be permitted to do more than just protect rights? If the proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights, why shouldn't a government of a free society do other, additional things as long as it does them without violating anyone's rights? If courts, police, and military could be publicly financed without the use of force, couldn't roads and schools? Is there some reason besides reliance on taxation why these sorts of government programs are bad?
  • Question 2: Enjoying the Moment: How can I convince myself that the grass isn't always greener on the other side? I always think that the grass must be greener on the other side of the fence. Whatever subject I study, I think about all the other subjects I'm not studying. Whatever work I'm doing, I think about all the other work I'm not getting done. Whatever book I'm reading, I think about all the other books I could be reading. I want to do everything, and I want to do all of it right now. How can I convince myself to be happy with what I'm actually doing and able to do? How can I stop this perpetual cycle of boredom and longing for change?
The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Thursday, 10 July 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.

3 July 2014: Dr. Paul Hsieh on "Understanding the Three Languages of Politics"

I interviewed physician and activist Dr. Paul Hsieh about "Understanding the Three Languages of Politics" on Thursday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"How many times have you been in political discussions with friends where you find you're talking past one another? You'll make points they consider irrelevant, whereas they'll focus on issues you consider nonessential. Such problems can be overcome, at least in part, using Arnold Kling's concept of the "Three Languages of Politics." Paul Hsieh explained how freedom advocates (e.g., Objectivists and better libertarians), conservatives, and liberals tend to use three vastly different metaphors in political discussions, which can create unintentional misunderstandings and miscommunications. He discussed how to frame discussion points so they better resonate with those speaking the other "languages" without compromising on principles. " 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 columns, 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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