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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3 votes Vote

Does intuition have any validity?

Intuition is defined as "the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning." Assuming that we're not talking about mystical insight, is this possible? When, if ever, should a person rely on such intuitions?...
Anonymous, 03.02.2015, 08:56
0 comments
3 votes Vote

What are the signs of emotional repression?

It's very important not to repress your emotions, especially if you are a person with rationalistic tendencies. But how might a person identify when he's repressing some emotions? What are the signs? What can be done to avoid and overcome the...
Adam, 01.02.2015, 18:17
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Should it be illegal to smoke around children?

A recently introduced bill in New Mexico would forbid smoking with kids in the car. With all the research related to the dangers of second-hand smoke, does smoking with a child strapped in the back seat really amount to a form of child abuse or...
Gregory Mullen, 28.01.2015, 14:02
0 comments
1 vote Vote

What's the value of hierarchical organizations?

One of the main goals of socialists is to abolish hierarchy. They seek to do this by abolishing capitalism, which they see as inherently hierarchical. Advocates of free markets have pointed out, however, that it is perfectly possible for a...
Adam, 28.01.2015, 04:20
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Are the religious freedoms of Christian bakers being infringed?

Over the past year, the news has been inundated with stories about Christian bakery owners refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings. These bakers are defended by the Christian right for exercising their "religious liberty" and decried by the...
Zak Szalewski, 26.01.2015, 10:50
0 comments
3 votes Vote

Is the existence of a prison system congruent with a free and just society?

Prisons are seen as a kind of "criminal holiday resort" by some and by others as a sort of criminal "training center." Prisons help criminals network, harden their character, and learn new crime skills. In addition, the prison system has grown up...
Adam, 20.01.2015, 03:23
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Should I trust the medical profession more?

I suffer from a serious chronic disease. I have become extremely dismayed both at how limited medicine is in its ability to help me and how consistently wrong the doctors I've consulted have been about everything they've ever said. I have come to...
Brian Gates, 12.01.2015, 21:00
0 comments
1 vote 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, 19:23
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Is it hypocritical to manufacture products based on wrong ideas?

I work in CNC manufacturing (computer numerical control), and I recently purchased one of our machines in order to start a side business as a craftsman. Many immediate family members, for instance, would be interested in personalized home...
Ryan Babcock, 11.01.2015, 10:12
0 comments
2 votes Vote

How should a doctor respond to questions about her religious beliefs?

My wife recently told me about a colleague of hers -- a physician and an atheist -- being caught off guard when asked by the parents of one of her cancer patients in the hospital if she believed in God. These parents wanted their son treated...
Jose, 01.01.2015, 09:06
0 comments
2 votes Vote

How does personality theory affect ethics?

In your 21 December 2014 discussion of the relationship between philosophy and science, you stated that your grasp of personality theory has given you a fresh perspective on ethics and changed your understanding of the requirements of the virtues....
Andrew, 29.12.2014, 16:41
0 comments
1 vote 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, 13:58
0 comments
5 votes Vote

Should I pursue a career that interests me even if I don't have much aptitude for it?

I have a strong interest in the field of bioengineering for what it can potentially accomplish. However, in my own estimation, I have little aptitude for hard science and seriously doubt whether I can succeed academically in the areas necessary...
Donovan Bailey, 23.12.2014, 09:48
1 comment
3 votes Vote

What is the moral status of actions aimed at tending to one's body?

In an egoistic ethics, the ultimate end of moral action is the growth and continuation of one's own life. Ayn Rand elaborated on discussed many of the kinds of actions required to achieve this goal, but she didn't discuss matters of "bodily care,"...
Adam, 21.12.2014, 01:44
0 comments
2 votes Vote

How much confidence should a person express in his/her own opinions?

I work with a woman who constantly makes declarative statements about things for which she lacks sufficient facts and knowledge. The result is that she is often contradicted and people have to tell her, "That's not true." She will argue with them...
Trey, 10.12.2014, 10:08
0 comments
4 votes Vote

How should the police respond to people resisting arrest?

Recently, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York City have made headlines because they were killed by police officers who, many feel, used excessive force during their respective encounters. While the two cases were quite...
Sajid Anjum, 04.12.2014, 13:18
0 comments
4 votes Vote

Should I cut ties with my homophobic family?

My boyfriend and I visit my family every year for Christmas, and every year they treat him rudely and unfairly. This is solely because they do not accept my sexuality, and they blame him for it. I have made it very clear that if their behavior...
Brad, 30.11.2014, 21:48
0 comments
5 votes Vote

What is the value of "political correctness"?

I used to be a fairly typical 'right-winger' who would regularly cry out 'political correctness has gone mad!' While I still come across politically correct ideas that I find ridiculous (e.g. the ban bossy campaign), I'm finding myself more...
MTobias, 17.11.2014, 19:33
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, 13:22
1 comment
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, 11:23
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, 02:35
0 comments
4 votes Vote

Why do socialists hate the market yet use it for their needs?

Socialists have to eat, wear clothes, stay warm in the winter, use transportation, etc., like everyone else. They could live in public housing, use public transit, and get health care supplied by the state. But for their other goods and services,...
Mark Plus, 31.10.2014, 10:12
1 comment
3 votes Vote

What counts as a fair book review?

Independent authors who publish their books on their own to Amazon owe much of their success or lack thereof to the star ratings given on their work. Higher average star ratings make their work appear in featured areas of the site and appear...
Trey, 28.10.2014, 11:11
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, 13:37
1 comment
5 votes Vote

Should the police obligated to protect citizens from harm?

On your Facebook page, you recently posted a story about a man who had to fight off a crazed knife-murderer in New York's subway, in full view of police officers, there specifically to capture this madman. Yet they did never interfered until after...
Fabian Bollinger, 21.10.2014, 13:52
1 comment
4 votes Vote

How should deadly diseases be kept out of a free society?

A free society is supposed to have open borders, yet wouldn't that make preventing the entry of foreign diseases impossible? A society that opens it borders inevitably puts itself at risk for foreign diseases simply because people aren't being...
Drew, 20.10.2014, 18:35
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, 09:06
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, 16:43
0 comments
12 votes Vote

Does the patent system need to be reformed?

Patents were meant to spur innovation and reward inventors financially. However, the system seems to have many flaws, such as: (1) Many patents are awarded to obvious "inventions" (such as one-click shopping) or whole problems (not just particular...
Alok, 12.10.2014, 08:09
2 comments
2 votes Vote

How can I learn to trust people again after years of behind-the-back betrayals?

I have been dealing with a problem that seems unsolvable. I met a Muslim man who blatantly lied to me about being married. Somehow this man has pitted my family, friends, employers, and strangers against me. I did nothing to this man. This has...
Lynn Lesth, 11.10.2014, 16:03
1 comment

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