Philosophy In Action

Every Sunday morning, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh answers your questions on the principles for living a happy, virtuous, and free life in her live Philosophy In Action Webcast. It's at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at http://www.PhilosophyInAction.com. Submit your questions here!
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54 votes Vote

Are the moral arguments for vegetarianism rational?

People often argue for vegetarianism on the grounds that a person can (and perhaps should) regard the lives of animals to be a higher value than the advantages to eating meat such as taste or nutrition. Is this a rational moral outlook,...
Arianna, 01.01.2013, 10:53
3 comments
40 votes Vote

Should we use an alternative voting system?

Does the current voting system make it too difficult for decent candidates to win? Right now, it seems that we end up with candidates who appeal to the hard core base of the major parties (such as anti-abortion Republicans or hard-left...
Anonymous, 05.11.2011, 15:34
4 comments
39 votes Vote

What is the relationship between philosophy and science?

People commonly assert that science proves that the traditional claims of philosophy are wrong. For example, they'll say that quantum mechanics proves that objective reality and causality are just myths and that psychology experiments disprove...
Anonymous, 08.12.2012, 17:18
1 comment
36 votes Vote

Is John Rawls' argument for egalitarianism based on the "veil of ignorance" objective?

In his seminal book "A Theory of Justice," political philosopher John Rawls argues for an egalitarian welfare state in which inequality is only permitted if of benefit to the least well-off person. He claims that everyone would agree to this...
Anonymous, 01.12.2011, 11:25
1 comment
32 votes Vote

How can a proper government be ideologically neutral if based on an ideology of individual rights?

A proper government should not have a position on specific ideas such as communism, Christianity, or Objectivism. It should not promote or suppress any ideology. However, a proper government is also necessarily based on a specific set of ideas,...
gidreich, 21.11.2011, 13:08
0 comments
32 votes Vote

How can parents and teachers effectively oppose calls for "service" in schools?

Today, more schools have "community service" requirements for graduation or promote "service learning" opportunities for students. The teachers and parents who support these initiatives are often well-intentioned: their motive seems to be...
Anonymous, 07.06.2013, 11:10
0 comments
31 votes Vote

Would an ideal government issue bans/regulations to prevent harmful activity?

At the turn of the 20th century it was common to use cyanide gas to fumigate buildings. Although it was well-known that cyanide gas was extremely poisonous and alternatives were available, its use continued and resulted in a number of accidental...
Trey Peden, 31.12.2011, 07:41
2 comments
31 votes Vote

Do libel and slander laws violate or protect rights?

Every few weeks, the media reports on some notable (or absurd) defamation case -- meaning a claim of "false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, as by slander or libel." While a person's reputation as a business or person is...
Tim Cheadle, 25.01.2012, 08:13
1 comment
29 votes Vote

Is "self-ownership" a valid concept?

Libertarians sometimes stress "self-ownership" -- the principle that you rightfully own yourself -- as a basis for political liberty. However, some criticize the concept of self-ownership is a stolen concept. This criticism says, "If you own X,...
legendre007, 25.06.2013, 08:11
0 comments
27 votes Vote

What's morally right or wrong about adverse possession laws?

Adverse possession laws essentially state that if you make a good faith effort to find the owner of a property but are unable to do so, then "conspicuously and openly" occupy the home for a period of time, you can take possession of the property....
Santiago J Valenzuela, 01.08.2011, 12:19
1 comment
27 votes Vote

Why do businessmen attribute their successes or failures to luck?

In his bestseller "Good to Great," Jim Collins reports that corporate leaders attributed their results to luck (p. 33-5). Great companies had 'good luck', and their competitors had 'bad luck.' Why would leaders of comparable companies attribute...
JimWoods, 03.08.2011, 19:31
1 comment
27 votes Vote

Is a moral career in law enforcement possible today?

Today, anyone involved in law enforcement would likely be required to enforce immoral laws, such as those against drug use, prostitution, and failure to pay taxes. Given that, can a career in law enforcement be moral?
Nathan, 19.04.2013, 09:19
0 comments
27 votes Vote

Should a person always care to work or earn money?

Most people need to work to earn their bread, so to speak. They need to be productive -- and be paid for that -- to survive. However, that's not true in all cases. Perhaps someone has inherited enough money to provide for his life, or he has...
NathanSmith, 14.06.2013, 20:27
2 comments
26 votes Vote

To what extent are voters responsible for the actions of politicians?

Suppose that a candidate announces his plans and actions for next term before the election. Are the people who vote for that candidate morally sanctioning and/or responsible for those actions, for better or worse? For example, you vote for a...
blunereid, 06.11.2011, 10:40
1 comment
26 votes Vote

Should the government mandate vaccination?

Advocates of free markets often disagree about whether vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary -- and whether they could be justly mandated by law. One problem is that the refusal to vaccinate oneself might put others at risk. Not everyone...
legendre007, 27.03.2014, 19:59
2 comments
25 votes Vote

What's so special about the seven virtues?

Ayn Rand identified seven virtues: rationality, honesty, productiveness, independence, justice, integrity, and pride. What's different about those qualities -- as compared to other commonly-touted virtues like benevolence, creativity, temperance,...
Anonymous, 18.06.2013, 07:55
0 comments
24 votes Vote

Is it wrong to be a government employee in a mixed economy?

In a free society, police officers and judges would be essential to the protection of rights. But in a mixed economy like ours, police officers and judges are required to uphold some immoral laws -- such as drug laws, antitrust laws, and...
Anonymous, 10.04.2012, 13:52
1 comment
23 votes Vote

Should I participate in "mixed bag" projects that might clash with my values?

Some time ago, I was asked by my school to consider taking part in an "ethics" commission, which was supposed to outline whether and how "ethics" might be introduced to the curriculum. It was either going to be a separate class, or, more likely,...
Fabian Bollinger, 22.11.2011, 07:32
0 comments
23 votes Vote

Is it wrong to con jerks and blowhards?

I know that dishonesty is wrong, but conning jerks and blowhards out of their money (e.g., http://ragecollection.com/20653 ) seems like justice at its best. So is it wrong?
Kyle, 27.11.2011, 22:57
0 comments
23 votes Vote

Is it moral to fake your IP address to get better TV?

Canada has different copyright and broadcasting laws than the US, and as a result we have vastly different online viewing options. For example, Hulu and Amazon Prime are not accessible in Canada, and instead of watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix...
Heather, 05.12.2012, 08:33
0 comments
21 votes Vote

Are some ideas inherently dishonest?

Some people claim that certain ideas -- such as communism -- cannot be advocated honestly. Is that right? What ideas qualify as inherently dishonest? Conversely, are some ideas inherently honest?
Tjitze de Boer, 09.08.2012, 03:15
0 comments
21 votes Vote

What should happen when the energy practices of one nation threaten another nation's property?

Suppose that global warming were in the process of causing a substantial rise in the sea level, such that the coasts of all nations were in danger of being obliterated. Would that be a violation of rights? What should be done about it, by...
AlfredStappenbeck, 12.11.2012, 13:31
0 comments
21 votes Vote

What can be done to prevent the hijacking of Ayn Rand's ideas?

Ayn Rand has become more and more popular over the last decade, and her ideas have begun to spread into academia. There is more literature being written about Objectivism now then ever before. But there is one thing that worries me. There is a...
Adam, 06.09.2013, 14:59
2 comments
18 votes Vote

Why is self-interest moral?

I was raised to think that morality is a restraint on self-interest, so that we don't harm others by pursuing what we want. However, you seem to think that morality is nothing more than self-interest. Why? Do you think that it's moral to hurt...
Anonymous, 14.11.2011, 12:40
0 comments
18 votes Vote

What's the best approach for a first date?

What are some good activities for a first date? Dinner, then coffee, perhaps? Should I ask the woman, or just plan it out myself? Should I joke -- and if so, what sort of humor should I use? Should I refrain from talking about myself or saying...
John Harris, 30.03.2013, 09:10
0 comments
18 votes Vote

Are "psychopathy" and "sociopathy" distinct from evil?

Many psychologists and psychiatrists want their disciplines to be "value-free," and they claim not to make moral judgments. However, they call behavior destructive to self and others psychologically unhealthy and pathological, with the cruelest...
legendre007, 14.07.2013, 18:23
4 comments
18 votes Vote

Does the government monopoly on the use of force violate rights?

Anarchist libertarians have long argued that a rights-respecting government is a contradiction in terms. A government, by its very nature, must have a monopoly on the use of force. That must be a coercive monopoly, since the government will not...
Marco Otero, 06.11.2013, 08:45
1 comment
17 votes Vote

Are the purported weaknesses of capitalism genuine problems?

Even supporters of capitalism often say that "capitalism has its weaknesses." What are those claimed weaknesses? Are they genuine problems of capitalism -- or problems with our current mixed economy? What can and should be done about them, if...
Sam Cox, 31.10.2012, 11:14
0 comments
17 votes Vote

What is the free market solution to climate change?

Most political arguments about global warming revolve around the question of whether global warming truly exists or not, and if so, whether its cause is industry. Assuming that global warming is a real and dangerous phenomena, what is the free...
Anthony Kluska, 08.01.2014, 00:24
0 comments
17 votes Vote

Can laws against animal cruelty be justified without animal rights?

In past radio shows, you've said that animals don't have rights -- even though you condemn cruelty toward animals. You've also explained why the "marginal humans" argument does not validate animal rights. If that's the case, is there any hope...
legendre007, 25.01.2014, 02:26
0 comments

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