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, 8 February 2015: Q&A on Egoism and Altruism, Changing Jobs, Boycotts, and More
I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 8 February 2015.
- Question 1: Egoism and Altruism: Are egoism and altruism mutually exclusive? Most people have a common-sense view of ethics. They think that a person should spend lots of time pursuing his own goals and happiness. They also think that a person should sometimes set aside such pursuits to help others. Basically, on this view, a person can be an egoist and an altruist, and that he should be a little of both. Yet I've heard that egoism and altruism are two wholly incompatible moral theories too. So what's right or wrong about the common-sense view?
- Question 2: Changing Jobs Quickly: Is it immoral or unwise to accept a better job soon after starting a different one? I am ready to change jobs. I could probably move to another role within my company pretty quickly and easily and continue to move my career forward, but I could make more money and get better experience outside of my company. Outside job hunts can be lengthy and full of disappointments and all the while I would have to work at a job that is, frankly, killing my soul. I think it's pretty clear that – if I accept a new job in my company and immediately turn around and give notice to go somewhere else – I run a high risk of burning bridges with key contacts at my current company. But would it be unethical in some way to do that? When you accept a job are you making a tacit promise to work there for some period of time? If so, what's the minimum amount of time?
- Question 3: The Morality of Boycotts: It is moral to advocate for the boycott of a business? Over the holidays, my brother and I discussed cases in which businesses are compelled by government to provide services against their will. For example, the Colorado courts demanded that a bakery make cakes for gay couples or face fines. We agreed that the business should be left free to operate as they see fit, absent violating anyone's actual rights, and reap the rewards or penalties from their choice. Where we diverged was on the moral status of the business owner and whether the bakery deserved to be boycotted. In my view, the decision of the owner of the Colorado bakery was immoral: they were being irrational, discriminating by non-essentials. My brother disagreed. Moreover, my brother opposed any advocacy of a boycott, seeing this as a call for force to be applied against the owner. This would be wrong, in his view, but he would be fine with suggesting that people patronize a different store. Ultimately, I found that I could not adequately explain why I think people might actively and openly oppose wrong acts by businesses, even if those acts don't violate rights. So what justifies such boycotts, if anything?
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.
- February 2: Activism Recap
- February 3: New Questions in the Queue
- February 4: Preview: Sunday Radio: Egoism and Altruism, Changing Jobs, Boycotts, and More
- February 4: Paul Hsieh PJM Column: Herd Immunity Applies to Guns as Well as Vaccinations