Saturday, February 28, 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, 1 March 2015: Q&A on Character, Revenge Porn, Atheism, and More

I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 1 March 2015.
  • Question 1: The Nature of Character: What is the nature of character? What is meant by a person's "character"? Is that broader than moral character? What is the relationship between character, personality, and sense of life?
  • Question 2: Revenge Porn: Should revenge porn be illegal? Apparently, it is increasingly common after a break-up for a person to share sexual pictures or videos of his/her former lover that were taken while in the relationship. Some people think that sharing sexual images intended to be kept private should be illegal, while others argue that such "revenge porn" is protected speech. Which view is right? Should the consent of all parties be required for the posting of sexual imagery?
  • Question 3: Coming Out as an Atheist: How can I avoid coming out as an atheist to my boyfriend's parents? I'm gay and my boyfriend recently came out to his parents. They are older and pretty religious, but they are doing their best to be accepting to our relationship. However, my boyfriend says that they believe that I am changing him for the worse in that he has not been as communicative and open with them because he didn't come out to them sooner and has not been sharing the progression of our relationship with them. (The whole concept of being in the closet seems completely alien to them.) But they do know our relationship is serious, so they have invited us to spend the holidays with them in order to get to know me better. My boyfriend says that they will insist that we attend church with them and has asked that I not tell them that I'm atheist right away. I've explained to him that I am not going to lie about anything, but I am not sure how to remain true to my convictions without making things more difficult for my boyfriend and upsetting his parents. What are your suggestions for making the Christmas holidays pleasant while maintaining my integrity?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 1 March 2015. The podcast will be posted later that day. For more details, check out the episode page.

Sunday morning, 8 March 2015: Q&A on Fraud, Honesty, Business Schemes, and More

I'll answer these questions on the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday morning, 8 March 2015.
  • Question 1: Fraud and Deception: Does fraud require deliberate deception? Some libertarians, most notably Walter Block, have tried to argue that fraud does not require deliberate deception. For example, argues Block, if I tried to sell you a square circle, and I believed that square circles existed, and so did you, and you agreed to the transaction, then, since square circles do not actually exist, this would still count as fraud, even though no deliberate deception has taken place. Block has used this argument to indict fractional reserve banking, by arguing that it still counts as fraud even though all parties are knowingly consenting. Is he talking rationalist nonsense?
  • Question 2: People Unworthy of the Truth: Are some people unworthy of the truth? "Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it", said Mark Twain in his Notebook (1902). Is that true? Does that justify lying – or merely withholding information?
  • Question 3: Deception in a Business Partner: How can I decide whether a business associate has crossed the line? I am part of a very specialized marketing co-op group. Businesses provide samples to the marketer, who then sells them at his own profit, to the tune of thousands of dollars a month. The marketer also does many web promotions and a monthly set of videos to promote the makers of these samples. This business has worked well in sending customers my way in the past. However, a few months ago, the marketer threatened to call the whole thing off for a month, claiming there were not enough samples to sell. So all the businesses rallied and sent in more. Two weeks later the marketer posted publicly that his spouse's hours had been cut the month before, and he was strapped for cash. This apparent dishonesty turned me off from using the service for many months. When I finally sent in samples again, I found that the same thing is still happening: the marketer is threatening to call off the promotion for the month if more samples are not sent in. Does this kind of behavior warrant dropping this business tool from my arsenal? Or am I just reacting emotionally?
The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 8 March 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.

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

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

Could unwilling people be compelled to govern? Do parents have a moral duty to vaccinate their children to improve 'herd immunity'? How can I minimize interruptions at work?

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

1 March 2015: Q&A on Character, Revenge Porn, Atheism, and More

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

What is the nature of character? Should revenge porn be illegal? How can I avoid coming out as an atheist to my boyfriend's parents?

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.
If you're interested in more from Philosophy in Action, be sure to like our Facebook Page and subscribe to our Newsletter!

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