Saturday, August 30, 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, 31 August 2014: Q&A on The Friend Zone, Hard Choices, Reforming Courts, and More

I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 31 August 2014.
  • Question 1: "The Friend Zone": Is there any validity to the concept of "the friend zone"? The "friend zone" is used to describe the situation of a man who is interested in a woman, but she's not interested in being more than friends with him. Then, he's "in the friend zone," and he can't get out except by her say-so. So "nice guys" in the friend zone often use the concept to describe the frustration of watching the women they desire date "bad boys" while they sit over to the side waiting for their chance to graduate from being just friends to being something more. Feminists suggest that this concept devalues a woman's right to determine the context and standard of their sexual and romantic interests, that it treats a woman's sexual acceptance as something that a man is entitled to by virtue of not being a jerk. Is that right? Or do women harm themselves by making bad choices about the types of men they date versus the types they put in the "friend zone?"
  • Question 2: Making Hard Choices: How can a person make better hard choices? How to make hard choices was the subject of a recent TED talk from philosopher Ruth Chang. Her thesis is that hard choices are not about finding the better option between alternatives. Choices are hard when there is no better option. Hard choices require you to define the kind of person you want to be. You have to take a stand for your choice, and then you can find reasons for being the kind of person who makes that choice. Her views really speaks to me. In your view, what makes a choice hard? How should a person make hard choices?
  • Question 3: Judges Exercising Discretion: Should judges refuse to hear cases from lawyers behind frivolous suits? In your 15 May 2014 show, you expressed curiosity about possible improvements to the justice system. I came up with the following idea after sitting on a jury for a civil trial where, after the plaintiff presented his case, the judge dismissed the suit without even having the defendant present his defense. In cases where a judge thinks everyone's time and money were wasted by a pointless case, the judge should refuse to hear any future cases from the lawyer for the losing side. That would cause the lawyer to think twice about representing any frivolous cases, since he would risk being banned from the presiding judge's courtroom henceforth. In addition, judges who know each other could share lawyer blacklists, preventing the lawyer from wasting other judges' time as well. Would this be possible? Would it fix the problem of frivolous lawsuits?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 31 August 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.

24 August 2014: Q&A on Reclaiming Personality, Debating Ethics, Conning Jerks

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

Can I reclaim lost personality traits? Why is the Objectivist ethics superior to Christian ethics? Is it wrong to con jerks and blowhards?

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

28 August 2014: Kelly Elmore on "Why Growth Mindsets Matter"

I interviewed educator Kelly Elmore about "Why Growth Mindsets Matter" on Thursday's Philosophy in Action Radio:

"Carol Dweck's book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success offers a new perspective on learning. People with a "fixed mindsets" believe that traits like intelligence or social skills are fixed and cannot be changed much. People with "growth mindsets" believe that humans have the potential to change the traits they possess and constantly learn and improve. As a part of the research for her dissertation, Kelly Elmore has explored the psychological research conducted by Dweck and other cognitive psychologists that led to Dweck's development of the concept of "mindsets." In this interview, Kelly explained what mindsets are, how they impact our lives, and how we can develop growth mindsets in ourselves and encourage them in others." Kelly Elmore is working on her PhD in rhetoric and composition at Georgia State University, teaching freshman composition, helping her 10 year old daughter educate herself, and working with students from 8-18 on writing, Latin, grammar, and rhetoric at a local homeschool co-op. Kelly is in the planning stages of writing her dissertation, which will focus on Carol Dweck's concept of mindset and its relevance to writing. She also cooks (homemade mayo, anyone?) and practices yoga and mindfulness. She doesn't have spare time because she fills it all up with values, happiness, and breathing in and out.

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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