Saturday, February 21, 2015

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, 22 February 2015: Q&A on Forcing People to Govern, Herd Immunity, Interruptions at Work, and More

I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 22 February 2015.
  • Question 1: Forcing People to Govern: Could unwilling people be compelled to govern? Imagine a situation in which no-one – not a single person – wants to work for the government. This would create a state of anarchy by default because government requires people to govern. Since the existence of a government is necessary for the protection of individual rights via the subordination of society to objective moral law, would compelling some people to govern be necessary and proper?
  • Question 2: Vaccinating for Herd Immunity: Do parents have a moral duty to vaccinate their children to improve "herd immunity"? My doctor is currently making the case for my son (age 12) getting the Gardasil/HPV vaccination, arguing that even though HPV won't really harm him, he could become a carrier and spread HPV to women he has sex with at some time in the future, and thereby harm them. I don't think he has a duty to become one of the "immunized herd" (referring to the idea of "herd immunity" regarding vaccines) and therefore I am not inclined to have him vaccinated against HPV. Should he choose to do so at a later time, he is free to make that decision. Does my son – or do I as a parent – have an obligation to vaccinate purely to promote "herd immunity"? If not in this case, where there is a clear issue of undergoing the vaccination primarily for the sake of risk to others, then what about in other cases of vaccines? Does a person have an obligation to society in general to become part of the immunized herd, even if taking a vaccination is probably at low risk to that person's health?
  • Question 3: Minimizing Interruptions at Work: How can I minimize interruptions at work? I'm a programmer, and I need long stretches of quiet time in order to be productive. Unfortunately, my work has an open floor plan, and people tend to pop by my desk if they have a question. I hate those interruptions, but I don't know how to discourage them without being snippy or unfriendly. Plus, sometimes my co-workers have good reason to interrupt me with a question or news. So how can I eliminate the unimportant interruptions?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 22 February 2015. 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.

15 February 2015: Q&A on Resilience, Nuisances, Sharing Activities, and More

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

Does developing resilience require enduring hardship? How should nuisance limits be set for new technology? Should spouses always share activities?

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

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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