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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59 votes Vote

Are "stand your ground" self-defense laws proper?

Should a potential crime victim in reasonable fear of of his life be required to attempt to withdraw from a confrontation when possible? Or is it proper to allow him to "stand his ground" and use a firearm to kill the assailant?
Anonymous, 25.03.2012, 09:50
45 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
41 votes Vote

Should dueling and other consensual fights be legal?

In your September 5th, 2012 interview with Dr. Eric Daniels, you discussed some of America's violent past traditions, including the practice of dueling. While I have no intention of challenging my rivals to mortal combat, I cannot see why this...
Bill Callahan, 28.01.2013, 19:42
1 comment
39 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
36 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
34 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
28 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
26 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
26 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
25 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
25 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
23 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
23 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
22 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
22 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., ) seems like justice at its best. So is it wrong?
Kyle, 27.11.2011, 22:57
22 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
22 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
21 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
21 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
21 votes Vote

Should juries nullify bad laws by refusing to convict?

Imagine a criminal case of drug possession, tax evasion, or prostitution -- meaning, where the law is wrong because the outlawed activity doesn't violate rights. Should a rational juror refuse to find the defendant guilty? Would that be morally...
Michael, 16.06.2013, 18:55
1 comment
19 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
19 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
19 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
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
18 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
17 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
16 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
16 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
15 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
14 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

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