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

What should be the limits of government spying on citizens, residents, and foreigners?

I have been getting into arguments with my friends about the ethics of Edward Snowden's whistleblowing and the ethics of NSA spying on foreigners. My friends say Snowden's disclosure is evil because it undermined legitimate spying the NSA does for...
legendre007, 19.04.2014, 00:45
0 comments
2 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, 05:55
0 comments
0 votes Vote

Should revenge porn be illegal?

Apparently, it is increasingly common after a break-up for a person to share sexual pictures or videos of his/her former lover that were taken while in the relationship. Some people think that sharing sexual images intended to be kept private...
NathanSmith, 15.04.2014, 16:58
0 comments
3 votes Vote

Was Atlas Shrugged intended to save America?

Recently, I ran across this comment on the internet: ""Saving America wasn't the point of Atlas Shrugged, that's not the happily ever after it proposes in the end. It chronicles the main characters getting over that misguided mission and why."...
Jose Bernus, 15.04.2014, 12:37
0 comments
6 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, 20:18
0 comments
5 votes Vote

Is it a mistake to enter into a serious relationship with a person with serious psychological problems?

Recently, my wife took her own life after a long struggle with major depression and other psychological issues. When we started dating, I saw clearly that she had issues although they were not as bad at the time. She was also intelligent,...
TheFairlaner, 14.04.2014, 10:04
2 comments
8 votes Vote

Does the morality of homosexuality depend on it being unchosen?

It seems that the advocates of gay rights and acceptance are obsessed with proving that homosexuality is never a choice. I find this confusing as it doesn't seem to be the best argument. Even if sexual orientation were chosen, I don't see why...
Matthew Tobias, 08.04.2014, 23:56
0 comments
5 votes Vote

Is it wrong to participate in superstitious rituals without taking them seriously?

If I make some perfunctory observance or participation in some superstitious ritual, and do not believe the superstitious ritual is of any literal importance, am I still promoting irrationality? If I regularly read the horoscope in the newspaper,...
legendre007, 08.04.2014, 16:16
0 comments
1 vote Vote

Can a person derive any self-esteem or happiness from university study?

Study is not a productive activity: it is preparation for future productivity. In light of this, how can I draw any self-esteem from my studies, whether successful or not? Can I consider my learning as "productive" achievement even though I am not...
Peter M., 06.04.2014, 21:05
1 comment
6 votes Vote

Is displaying the Confederate flag racist?

I've been told by southerners that displaying the flag of the Confederate States amounts to a display of "southern pride." I think it amounts to a display of racism, given the history of the south. That flag was used in a time when the...
Zak Szalewski, 28.03.2014, 06:39
0 comments
13 votes Vote

Should the government mandate vaccination?

Advocates of free markets often disagree about whether vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary -- and whether they could be justly mandated by law. One problem is that the refusal to vaccinate oneself might put others at risk. Not everyone...
legendre007, 27.03.2014, 19:59
2 comments
3 votes Vote

How can I stop obsessing over past conversations?

After having a conversation with someone, I often obsess about what I said to them and the way that I said it. I think about they ways they could have misinterpreted what I meant, and I worry that they thought I was being rude or disrespectful....
Adam, 17.03.2014, 00:28
0 comments
3 votes Vote

Can evil be requited with good?

Christians claim that evil can and ought to be requited with good. So in "Les Miserables", the Bishop inspired Jean Valjean to reform by telling the police that he willingly gave Jean the silver plate (and added the candlesticks) even though Jean...
Anonymous, 13.03.2014, 17:33
0 comments
6 votes Vote

Does egoism suffer from "one thought too many"?

Bernard Williams argues that utilitarianism suffers from a problem of inappropriate motivation in which a person has "one thought too many" before acting morally. So, for example, a good utilitarian must calculate whether the general welfare is...
Anonymous, 13.03.2014, 17:25
0 comments
12 votes Vote

Is sharing an interest in philosophy necessary for a good romance?

I am extremely interested in philosophy. I'm studying it and planning to make it my career. My girlfriend is not. She wants nothing to do with philosophy, although she is perfectly happy with me doing it. However, I find that I am missing that...
Kendall, 28.02.2014, 17:55
1 comment
1 vote Vote

Is creating art necessary for a moral life?

Since material values are a human need, independence requires that human beings engage in productive activity. Can the same logic be applied to art? Since art is a human need, does independence require human beings to be artistically creative?...
Adam, 28.02.2014, 12:45
0 comments
4 votes Vote

What is the value of artistic creation?

In "The Romantic Manifesto," Ayn Rand discusses the value of art to those who experience it, but she does not say much about the value for those who create it. What is the value of artistic creation and expression to a rational person? Is artistic...
Adam, 28.02.2014, 07:59
0 comments
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
3 votes Vote

Do confidentiality agreements justify privacy lies?

Some professions, like clinical psychology, law, or sex work commonly utilize confidentiality agreements between professionals and clients due to the sensitive nature of the information shared between them. Generally, such professionals can (and...
shlevy, 24.02.2014, 13:32
0 comments
4 votes Vote

How can I become more comfortable advocating free market ideas?

In the past, I have found opportunities to express free market opinions to friends and acquaintances. However, I have found that in doing so, I lose focus on what matters most to me (i.e. my work and family) and my stress level spikes. For...
AlfredStappenbeck, 07.02.2014, 13:28
0 comments
2 votes Vote

Is evil is necessary for good to exist?

Often people -- particularly religious people -- say that evil exists so that we know what good is. I think this is wrong, because a thing is what it is regardless of whether it can be contrasted with an opposite. Also, this idea seems to imply a...
Katarina, 01.02.2014, 15:19
0 comments
2 votes Vote

How can I overcome my past failure to capitalize on the perfect opportunity?

Two years ago, after years of struggling in the post-2008 job market, I had a job opportunity that could have been the best thing that ever happened to me. It was a job that represents my values and could have brought me much-needed financial...
Toasty, 29.01.2014, 22:56
0 comments
3 votes Vote

How can I trust a therapist to help me?

I have psychological problems, and I probably need help. However, I have a negative view of the mental health profession in general due to bad experiences in the past. It bothers me that therapists are educated in modern universities where all...
Donovan Bailey, 28.01.2014, 18:43
0 comments
6 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, 16:32
0 comments
4 votes Vote

Is Immanuel Kant's distinction between noumenal and phenomenal realms valid?

In the past, I've dismissed Kant's distinction between noumenal and phenomenal realms simply because Kant seems to suggest that the noumenal realm is unknowable. If that were true, then not only can he not say anything about the noumenal realm,...
AlfredStappenbeck, 28.01.2014, 11:47
0 comments
6 votes Vote

Do dog owners violate rights by allowing their dogs to poop on others' lawns?

I live in a residential urban area along with many dog owners. On a daily basis, I observe those dog owners allowing their dogs to defecate on other peoples' lawns. I view this action as a trespass and violation of property rights, whether or not...
Michael, 25.01.2014, 12:41
0 comments
10 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
0 comments
15 votes Vote

Is jury nullification moral and proper?

Jury nullification happens when the jury knows that the defendant in a criminal case broke the law, yet that jury finds the defendant not guilty due to moral objections to the law. For instance, during Prohibition, a jury might have proof beyond...
legendre007, 25.01.2014, 02:22
0 comments
9 votes Vote

Why aren't women strongly condemned for sexual relationships with underage boys?

A few years ago, I saw a flurry of news stories about female teachers in their twenties committing statutory rape by having sex with their teenage male students. At the time, many public commentators and comedians said that they didn't see how the...
legendre007, 25.01.2014, 02:14
0 comments
11 votes Vote

Should a rational person's atheism be weak or strong?

People often distinguish between "weak atheism" and "strong atheism." The weak atheist regards the arguments for the existence of God as invalid, such that God's existence has not been proven. The strong atheist positively asserts that God does...
Drew, 24.01.2014, 07:15
1 comment

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