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 January 2015: Q&A on Credibility, Third Party Payments, Racial Insults, and More
I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 11 January 2015.
- Question 1: The Importance of Credibility: Should a person's credibility matter in judging his empirical claims? Is it rational to use a person's track record – meaning the frequency or consistency of truth in his past statements – in judging the likely truth of his current statements? In "Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics," Tara Smith explains that to believe something just because someone said it is a violation of the virtue of independence. Also, to judge an argument by the speaker is known as the fallacy of "ad hominem." However, doesn't the character of the speaker matter when considering whether to believe his claims? For example, when Thomas Sowell makes an empirical claim, my knowledge that he vigorously tests his hypotheses against the facts makes me more likely to judge his claim as true, even before I've confirmed his statement. Likewise, if a person is frequently wrong in his factual claims, I'd be sure to require lots of evidence before believing him. Is that rational? Or should all factual claims be treated equally regardless of who makes them?
- Question 2: Third Party Payments in Medicine: What should be done about third party payments in medicine? I was fascinated by your statement in your November 7th, 2012 discussion of the election that the real need in medicine was to do away with third party payments. It's quite a radical proposal, one of the most radical I've heard from you. How would you think such a think might be implemented through ethically proper means – as opposed to measures such as legally prohibiting third party payments? Are there types of medical care – perhaps catastrophe illness or injury – where third party payment would need to be kept in place, or where people in a free economy would likely still choose to keep them in place?
- Question 3: Insulting with Racial Epithets: Is it wrong to use racist epithets to insult the truly evil? A now-former Facebook friend used a racist epithet in reference to Islamic terrorists. I asked him if he understood that it was a racist term and he said he did and said that he used it on purpose to insult those evil-doers because they are so evilly evil that they deserve not even a little respect. I told him he was wrong because race is not the same as ideology and that I can't find any justification for racism, so I un-friended him. I agree that Islamic terrorists are evil, but is it morally okay to be a racist toward evil people?
Thursday evening, 15 January 2015: Chat about "Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Six"
I'll chat about "Responsibility & Luck, Chapter Six" with listeners on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Thursday evening, 15 January 2015.
Can an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility solve the problem of moral luck? In particular, how does the theory of responsibility for actions handle the proposed cases of "circumstantial moral luck"? I will answer these questions and more in this discussion of Chapter Six of my book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.
The live broadcast begins at 6 pm PT / 7 MT / 8 CT / 9 ET on Thursday, 15 January 2015. The podcast will be posted later that evening. For more details, check out the episode page.
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 January 2015: Q&A on Superstitious Rituals, Punishing Yourself, and More
I answered these questions on Sunday's Philosophy in Action Radio:
Is it wrong to participate in superstitious rituals without taking them seriously? Should a person punish herself for wrongdoing by depriving herself of a value?
You can listen to or download the podcast below, and visit the episode's page for more, including audio files for individual questions.
- Duration: 1:16:40
- Download: Enhanced M4A File (27.5 MB) or Standard MP3 File (26.3 MB)
- Tags: Business, Communication, Ethics, Holidays, Honesty, Humor, Independence, Integrity, Justice, Moral Character, Moral Wrongs, Pride, Punishment, Rationality, Religion, Sanction, Science, Superstition, Values
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.
- January 5: Activism Recap
- January 5: NoodleCast #327: Superstitious Rituals, Punishing Yourself, and More
- January 9: Preview: Sunday Radio: Credibility, Third Party Payments, Racial Insults, and More
- January 9: Link-O-Rama