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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8 votes Vote

Why did Ayn Rand and Emma Goldman develop such divergent political views?

Ayn Rand and Emma Goldman had some striking similarities. Both were born in Russia, saw the rise of communism, and then fled to America. Both espoused ethical egoism and individual liberty (they both explicitly held the 'pursuit of happiness' to...
Adam, 13.08.2013, 14:16
0 comments
8 votes Vote

What counts as a right?

The passage of ObamaCare inspired me to think more about the nature of rights, particularly what constitutes a right. It seems to me that two criteria are required for a right: (1) it must be universally applicable (at least within the group --...
James, 08.09.2013, 00:03
0 comments
8 votes Vote

Should corporations employ lobbyists to protect their rights?

Free market advocates (including me) rightly decry cronyists for using the state regulatory apparatus to get special privileges. However, many corporations regard having lobbyists in Washington as a strategy to protect their rights. Is that a...
Adam, 10.11.2013, 10:10
0 comments
8 votes Vote

Are some people so awful as to be unworthy of any friendship?

Dennis Rodman is friends with North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un. When asked about it, "Rodman said he hoped the friendly competition would "open the doors" to "talk about certain things," but he isn't going to bring up the regime's human rights...
T-Dawg, 06.01.2014, 12:15
1 comment
8 votes Vote

Is 'scientism' an anti-concept?

In discussions about philosophy and social science, the pejorative label of "scientism" often arises. It seems to have two definitions. The first is "the improper application of scientific-sounding jargon to rationalize unscientific assertions."...
legendre007, 28.01.2014, 17:32
0 comments
8 votes Vote

Is more information always better in making medical decisions?

In debates about health care reform, some doctors and policy wonks have argued that certain screening tests are overused. They say, for example, that women shouldn't get routine mammograms before age 50 and that men shouldn't get routine PSA...
Anonymous, 14.04.2014, 21:18
0 comments
8 votes Vote

Does the virtue of pride create an infinite loop?

Pride is a response to your own virtuous moral character, but pride is also a component of that virtuous moral character. Hence, in order to have the utmost pride, a person would have to have the utmost virtue; but, in order to have the utmost...
Adam, 18.06.2014, 04:09
0 comments
7 votes Vote

What is an ultimate value?

What is each person's proper ultimate value? Why is that so? Is that ultimate value intrinsically satisfying? Does it give meaning to life? Also, how does that ultimate value affect a person's actions?
Kin Nicharesuk, 01.04.2012, 10:06
0 comments
7 votes Vote

Is equality a value -- and if so, what kind?

Some people advocate for equality of outcome, while others advocate for equality of opportunity or equality before the law. What's right or wrong with these concepts of equality? Are any of them part of a rational morality -- or a rational legal...
Anonymous, 05.09.2012, 23:20
0 comments
7 votes Vote

What's the difference between laws enforcing property rights and regulations?

Laws preventing fraud and defending property rights can be complex -- and, in my opinion, they need to be strengthened and actually enforced. What distinguishes such proper laws from rights-violating regulations? For example, a mining company does...
Allen Farris, 12.11.2012, 11:15
0 comments
7 votes Vote

What are the rights involved in surrogacy of a deformed fetus?

Recently, a married couple contracted with a surrogate to carry a child to term. In the middle of the pregnancy, the fetus was diagnosed with serious developmental deformities. The parents attempted to invoke the abortion clause in their...
Emily C, 09.03.2013, 08:31
0 comments
7 votes Vote

Should a person preserve or eradicate his unusual accent?

I'm often embarrassed when friends or family point out that I'm speaking with a distinctive accent. I'm a native English speaker, and I appreciate (albeit with some annoyance, sometimes) people who've learned English as a second language....
Ellie, 22.05.2013, 05:22
2 comments
7 votes Vote

How should a person judge whether an activist organization is worthy of support or not?

What is the proper process for judging activist and advocacy organizations? Do the standards for moral support differ from those of financial support? What kinds of problems would make you withdraw support from an organization?
Joshua Brownstein, 09.06.2013, 19:47
0 comments
7 votes Vote

How do emotional desires and intellectual judgments motivate actions?

Is desire merely feeling a physical or emotional urge to have or do something? Or is it an intellectual judgment that to have or do something would be good? Or is it the combination of the two of them? Many people seem to mean just the first...
Eric Maughan, 23.06.2013, 11:15
1 comment
7 votes Vote

Does a person ever benefit from being forced to act against his own judgment?

Should you hide the gun of a drunk who plans to go shooting, even if you know he'd hurt no one but himself? Does he benefit from your taking his guns? Is it a violation of his rights? What about emptying a bottle of a dangerous snake-oil medicine...
John, 19.07.2013, 14:05
-1 comment
7 votes Vote

Is laughing at absurd but tragic events wrong?

I work for a modest land surveying company in South Florida. Today, a seemingly deranged man parked his van on top of a highway interchange ramp, pulled out a rifle with an American flag stuck in the barrel, put a noose around his own neck, and...
John, 11.11.2013, 16:18
0 comments
7 votes Vote

Should children star in films not suitable for children?

It is immoral to put a child actor in an adult-level movie, such as horror movies that involve lots of murder? Consider the R-rated horror movie "Child's Play," starring a child actor battling a homicidal doll. Is it wrong to expose the child...
Benjamin, 17.12.2013, 16:45
0 comments
7 votes Vote

Should a business be penalized for past atrocities?

Is it wrong to do business with a company that used to do business for the Nazis? Allianz, the largest insurance company in the world, was started in Berlin in 1890. During the Third Reich, it insured companies belonging to the Nazi government...
david, 18.04.2014, 06:55
0 comments
7 votes Vote

Are the police in a mixed economy worthy of respect?

The United States is currently a mixed economy -- meaning, a mixture of freedom and rights-violating government controls. Where the rubber meets the road is the police, particularly the officers that enforce the law and interact directly with the...
James, 26.06.2014, 08:55
0 comments
7 votes Vote

Was Facebook's psychological experiment unethical?

Recently, Facebook allowed their network to be used for a psychological experiment on mood. They did not tell people they were participating in the experiment. Was this unethical? Do people have a right to informed consent for these kinds of...
Trey Peden, 28.06.2014, 21:45
1 comment
7 votes Vote

Are sports fans collectivists?

A friend of mine thinks that sports fans are living vicariously through the players and are thus collectivistic. I think this is an overgeneralization from contact with super-fans of pro sports. Getting mad when "my" team loses and saying things...
Josh, 04.08.2014, 15:00
0 comments
6 votes Vote

Should a person cultivate good luck or karma?

Is it useful for a person to seek to cultivate "good luck" or "karma" -- even if they don't exist -- because then the person would be acting purposefully toward his goals and acting justly toward other people? Can't wrong ideas sometimes be...
Brandon Paumen, 20.01.2012, 13:08
0 comments
6 votes Vote

Is it moral to knowingly ignore or violate a website's terms of service?

Suppose that during the sign up process for a website you are presented with some terms of service and a checkbox indicating that you have read them, and that the checkbox is disabled until you've scrolled to the bottom of the terms. Leaving aside...
shlevy, 02.06.2012, 13:40
0 comments
6 votes Vote

Do I have to spend money to use the potty?

I recently blogged about an incident at a gas station: http://treygivens.com/?p=4613 As a basic rule of courtesy, I spend money in places when I stop to use the bathroom on road trips. I don't believe there's any moral demand for this nor do I...
Trey, 23.12.2012, 18:35
1 comment
6 votes Vote

Are the police putting ordinary people at risk by militaristic tactics?

Recently, a man was shot and killed when a tactical unit of the Memphis police served a warrant for animal cruelty after dark. (The man was suspected of being an animal hoarder.) Was that approach necessary? Are the police endangering people's...
Lauren, 14.01.2013, 16:02
2 comments
6 votes Vote

Is it wrong to invest in crony businesses?

Crony companies -- similar to Orren Boyle's Associated Steel in "Atlas Shrugged" -- seek government favors, such as subsidies for themselves and controls on competitors. Yet their stock may perform well in the short to medium term. Is it immoral...
Cary Yates, 15.04.2013, 09:33
0 comments
6 votes Vote

What is the proper relationship between ownership and control over property?

Today, politicians seem to want to reduce a person's control over his property, such that it's ever-closer to ownership in name only -- such as by limiting the capacity of landowners to develop property. Also, selling plots of land on Mars would...
Tjitze de Boer, 30.04.2013, 02:32
0 comments
6 votes Vote

Should the law permit the removal but not the killing of a viable fetus from a woman who wishes to terminate her pregnancy?

I agree that the woman has a right to have the fetus removed from her body: she's not obligated to serve involuntarily as its host. But could it be argued that the "baby" has the right to be removed in a way that doesn't result in its death?...
NathanSmith, 11.07.2013, 13:49
0 comments
6 votes Vote

What are the implications of the importance of conflict in literature for real life?

In her lectures on ?The Art of Fiction," Ayn Rand argues that conflict is the most important element of plot, and that one must try to include as much conflict as possible in a novel in order to make it interesting and enjoyable. Does this mean...
Adam, 14.07.2013, 06:12
0 comments
6 votes Vote

Should Bradley Manning have been prosecuted for leaking military secrets?

After being arrested for leaking secret documents, Bradley Manning was held for over two years. He's currently being prosecuted in military court, and he's pled guilty to 10 counts. As of July 23, 2013, the trial is currently ongoing. This...
tom cirillo, 17.07.2013, 08:32
0 comments

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