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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2 votes Vote

Does state secrecy contradict the principle of government transparency?

In civics class, many students are taught that a classically liberal republic governs according to the principle of transparency. As every citizen has equal rights, every citizen has an equal right to know exactly what it is that the government...
legendre007, 11.06.2014, 10:26
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Should medical debt be treated like any other debt in a person's FICA score?

Recently, credit scoring company FICO announced that it wouldn't treat medical debt the same as other debts. Most unpaid debts are medical debts. A FICO representative explained the change as follows: “What research has shown us is medical...
Josh Yokela, 10.08.2014, 21:28
1 comment
2 votes Vote

Can morality be studied via scientific studies?

In other words, is it possible to conduct research into morality, especially larger field studies, thereby bolstering the case for ethical egoism? I've seen several such studies that examine moral behavior and what it might mean. For example, I...
Tili Jubilee, 11.09.2014, 14:26
1 comment
2 votes Vote

Is random jury selection necessary to ensure defendants receive a fair trial?

In your 15 May 2011 podcast, you discussed whether or not it is moral to compel people to serve on juries. I agree with your conclusion that it is not moral, and that jury duty should instead be voluntary. But you went on to suggest that...
sirchess, 11.09.2014, 14:29
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Is there a reason why the villains of "Atlas Shrugged" don't want to live?

Toward the end of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart realize that the looters do not want to live. Does it make sense to ask why that is -- meaning, why don't they want to live? In other words, is the question so...
Adam Jensen, 09.10.2014, 13:23
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Is it morally wrong for an atheist to work for a business that is affiliated with a church?

For many years I had a job teaching at a private preschool that is a part of a Methodist church, and I really loved my job. Every now and then I would get the feeling that I did not really belong among my coworkers since most of them were devout...
Kristin Power, 15.10.2014, 15:43
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Does social convention have any place in politics or ethics?

Every culture has its social conventions. Are they worthy of respect? Might be worthwhile to sometimes "go along to get along," even if that conflicts with rational ethical principles? Might social convention sometimes influence rights? Would...
Michael Marincic, 25.10.2014, 12:37
1 comment
2 votes Vote

Is it wrong to contribute to a podcaster with odious political views?

I listen regularly to about a dozen different podcasts and I try to contribute financially to those that request listener contributions (with the exception of those produced by NPR). I generally feel that if I am getting some value from a service...
Ben Doublett, 24.12.2014, 12:58
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Are people living in a free society obliged to contribute to its government?

Given that each person benefits hugely from the protection of his and others' individual rights by the government of a free society, does each person have an obligation to contribute to that government in some fashion? If so, is that obligation...
Michael, 11.01.2015, 18:23
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Why are there so many popular songs idealizing women who don't know they are beautiful?

I've noticed that there are lots of pop songs that glorify women who don't know they're physically attractive. Here's an example: "You don't know you're beautiful, That's what makes you beautiful." Does this indicate something about what men want?...
Anonymous, 29.05.2015, 07:19
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2 votes Vote

Do my parents have a right to force me to take a paternity test?

My parents' marriage has always been rocky, with doubts about my mother's faithfulness pervading their relationship despite the fact that her infidelity has never been proven. About a year ago, my parents approached me out of the blue about...
Erin M, 14.06.2015, 21:18
0 comments
2 votes Vote

How can I counter the effects of ghosting in dating?

Ghosting is when one person disappears from a relationship -- suddenly cutting off all contact -- without rhyme or reason or explanation of any kind. How does that affect the ghoster and the ghostee? Personally, when I go on dates, it does not...
Daniel Golliher, 13.07.2015, 23:12
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Is collecting and selling organs from aborted fetuses morally abhorrent?

A controversial story about abortion recently arose after some undercover reporters published a video online (https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=273&v=jjxwVuozMnU). The reporters were pretending to be businesspeople seeking to collect organs from...
NathanSmith, 15.07.2015, 12:41
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Is it wrong to work on a programming project that files tax returns?

I am a programmer, and I work for a private company. I am the lead developer on a on a system that files tax returns. I believe that all taxation is theft, and that our current tax system massively violates rights. I feel like hypocrite for...
Marnee, 01.10.2012, 22:15
4 comments
1 vote Vote

Why do some organizations change their own names so often?

Over the years, I've seen several businesses and institutions change their names while staying the same for all intents and purposes. Is this intentionally done to confuse people? To me, it seems like an attempt to play matador whenever a...
Tjitze de Boer, 26.11.2012, 05:58
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Should politicians refrain from making religious appeals and claims?

The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom says that " ... all men shall be free to profess, and ... to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, ... their civil capacities." Is that...
Glenn Shrom, 18.12.2012, 17:36
1 comment
1 vote Vote

Are horse rescues a worthy charitable cause?

I know that you love horses, and that you've adopted dogs and cats from rescues. So what's your opinion of horse rescues? Are they charities worth supporting? Are they a good alternative to euthanasia or slaughter? Would you ever adopt a...
Anonymous, 24.02.2014, 16:48
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Should a person study mindsets before philosophy?

In a prior radio show, you said that adopting a rational philosophy like Objectivism is not a guarantee of rationality and other virtues in practice, but appears more to be a kind of "moral amplifier." If I remember correctly, you said that...
legendre007, 31.08.2014, 11:56
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Can crowdsourcing raise money for an academic paleontology project?

I would like to begin a project that would require some funding, and I have been considering crowdsourcing, similar to your recent efforts on the anti-personhood campaign. My project is a systematic study of fossils found in various counties in...
James, 19.09.2014, 08:54
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Are some opinions more valid than others?

Many people, including my boyfriend, have told me that everyone has an opinion, and nobody is ever "right" or "wrong" in their opinion on something. But is that accurate? I often tell those people that opinions are personal evaluations of things...
Zak Szalewski, 20.10.2014, 08:06
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Should a political candidate deceive voters in the service of protecting rights?

Telling a lie is perfectly moral, even obligatory, if it is done to protect your rights. But can this idea be extended to the realm of politics? Imagine that the majority of the electorate in a democratic society is opposed to free markets. The...
Adam, 11.11.2014, 01:35
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Is suicide a wrong choice for a person with terminal illness?

In early November 2014, Brittany Maynard ended her life by choice. She was suffering from terminal brain cancer and probably wouldn't have survived till 2015. The story was highly publicized and elicited a lot of reactions. Some people asserted...
Zak Szalewski, 13.11.2014, 10:23
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Is it wrong to live tweet conversations between strangers that you overhear?

A woman recently live tweeted a date between two people who met on Tinder. Based on her tweets, the date was pretty awful. Lots of people found what she wrote funny, and her tweets were widely circulated. But was what she did wrong? Would it...
Trey, 13.11.2014, 12:22
1 comment
1 vote Vote

How do altruists cope with their own moral hypocrisy?

Since learning about the egoism of the Objectivist ethics, I've been fascinated by how often morally righteous altruists -- who live with their ideas and push them on others -- are able to maintain a seemingly high level of psychological strength,...
Patrik, 05.06.2015, 11:11
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Is it wrong for a woman not to report a sexual assault?

I harshly judge grown women who do not report or otherwise address sexual assault. (I say "address" because I'm super picky about bringing in the police on questionable matters, but saying something about it to mutual contacts often might be...
Michelle Fire Eater, 19.06.2015, 09:03
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Is loving and excelling at the process of the work enough for a career?

In your June 14th, 2015 discussing of choosing a career, you said that a person should love the day-to-day process of doing the work, not merely the effects it creates. What about the reserve problem -- meaning that you enjoy the day-to-day work...
Peter M., 21.06.2015, 04:58
0 comments
1 vote Vote

How do we keep good ideas from becoming trite?

Individualism is a big part of American culture, so much so that I think certain aspects of it have become trite. I know that as a kid I would always roll my eyes at such cliches as "be yourself" and "follow your dreams." Even though on reflection...
Eric Nunley, 02.07.2015, 20:07
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Did Hank Rearden really threaten to beat up Lillian Rearden in Atlas Shrugged?

Consider the following quote from Atlas Shrugged: "'Lillian,' he said, in an unstressed voice that did not grant her even the honor of anger, 'you are not to speak of her to me. If you ever do it again, I will answer you as I would answer a...
NathanSmith, 15.07.2015, 13:12
0 comments
1 vote Vote

What is the difference between familiarity and intimacy?

In a recent Facebook post, you wrote: "Lately, I've been thinking about the difference between mere familiarity with another person and the intimacy of a deep connection. By familiarity, I mean that each person knows what the other is up to, how...
Anonymous, 28.07.2015, 13:00
0 comments
0 votes Vote

Can the debates over gay marriage be solved by new terminology?

I'd like to propose that the acrimonious arguments over gay marriage be solved by the following compromise. In our laws, we could replace the term "marriage" with "uniage", such that we would have three subcategories of uniage: marriage between...
Glenn Shrom, 18.12.2012, 17:37
1 comment

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