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 Submit your questions here!
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58 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
55 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
46 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
46 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
1 comment
45 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
42 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
1 comment
39 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
1 comment
37 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
37 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
36 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
33 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
33 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
32 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
32 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
30 votes Vote

What's right or wrong in Michael Huemer's critique of "The Objectivist Ethics"?

I found Professor Michael Huemer's essay "Critique of 'The Objectivist Ethics'" to be a very thoughtful and persuasive essay. It convinced me that Ayn Rand's ethics has a number of logical and possibly empirical flaws in it. Do you find any of...
Joshua Brownstein, 17.08.2014, 19:36
1 comment
28 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
26 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
26 votes Vote

Would genetic engineering of children be wrong?

In future, technology might permit parents to choose the qualities of a future child -- such as eye color, hair color, sex, and more. Would this be moral? Should it be legal? Could this be a "step towards eugenics" or "playing God"? What would...
Adam, 27.07.2013, 14:29
24 votes Vote

Isn't reproduction -- not life -- the standard of value?

In "The Objectivist Ethics," Ayn Rand claims that "an organism’s life is its standard of value," meaning that "that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil." She claims that on the grounds that the physical...
Anonymous, 17.02.2013, 13:09
22 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
21 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
21 votes Vote

Should polluters pay damages for destroying the property of others?

By the trader principle, voluntary transactions ought to produce mutual benefit. However, what should happen when third parties are harmed, such as when pollution destroys another person's property? Should those polluters pay damages? If so,...
Declan, 10.01.2012, 18:18
21 votes Vote

How should cheating in professional sports be handled?

Recently, the New Orleans Saints were heavily penalized for their defense's three-year "bounty program," which offered cash rewards for injuring players on opposing teams. (See...
pabr0505, 21.03.2012, 10:44
1 comment
20 votes Vote

Do humans ever act on instinct?

Animals are supposed to act by instinct and learning. Humans, on the other hand, have the capacity choose their actions based on rational thought. Does that mean that humans don't have any instincts, not even an instincts to live, eat, sleep, or...
Anonymous, 08.12.2012, 17:50
20 votes Vote

Should scientists value philosophy?

Recently, when an interviewer asked the famous astrophysicist and science popularizer Neil deGrasse Tyson about his opinion on philosophy, Tyson replied that he has low regard for the entire discipline of philosophy. Tyson said that the problem...
legendre007, 12.08.2014, 05:33
19 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
18 votes Vote

Is it wrong for an atheist to work for a faith-based organization?

If a company is based on and promotes a certain religion, should atheists (and others with opposed religious views) forgo working there? For example, suppose that a person works at a Christian university, one that explicitly promotes Christianity...
Michael Sweet, 28.02.2012, 22:33
18 votes Vote

Does the limited-liability of corporations allow them to harm people with impunity?

I have heard libertarians argue that the limited-liability status of corporations allows them to violate rights and not pay the full cost of doing so. I've heard an argument like this: suppose ten billionaires, each with a net worth of $1 billion,...
legendre007, 17.10.2013, 00:21
17 votes Vote

How should I judge the rapper Eminem?

I love the rapper Eminem. In terms of lyrical writing ability, I consider him the most gifted individual probably in the history of music, and a better poet than anyone who writes poetry. Much of his content, which includes lyrics glorifying drug...
Clive Andrews, 07.10.2013, 14:56
17 votes Vote

Is it moral to circumvent crony capitalism by purchasing drugs abroad?

In 2006, the FDA begin banning pharmaceuticals that have been in use for decades, and sometime, centuries. For instance, the use of Quinine for nocturnal leg cramps is banned and only a prescription version is now available. The FDA is also...
c andrew, 11.02.2012, 13:44

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