In the next episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh will answer questions on the nature of addiction, unions for government employees, materialism and romance, mandatory child support, and more. The live broadcast and chat starts promptly at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET on Sunday, 27 January 2013. If you miss the live broadcast, be sure to listen to the podcast.

Upcoming Q&A Radio: Sunday, 27 January 2013

Addiction, Government Unions, Marterialism, and More

On Sunday, 27 January 2013, I will host a new episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, answering questions on the nature of addiction, unions for government employees, materialism and romance, mandatory child support, and more. The show airs in the morning, at 8 PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET in Philosophy in Action's Live Studio. If you miss that live broadcast, you can listen to the podcast later.

Question 1: The Nature of Addiction

Is "addiction" a genuine phenomena? Can a person become dependent on alcohol or drugs to the point that he cannot prevent himself from consuming it, except perhaps by a supreme effort of will? Is such addiction physiological – or just a matter of bad habits of thought and action? Similarly, can a person be addicted to certain foods (such as sugar or wheat) or certain activities (like gambling or pornography)? If so, what does that mean? If a person is addicted to something, is the cure to he abstain from it forever?

Question 2: Unions for Government Employees

Should government employees be permitted to unionize? In your 16 December 2012 discussion of "right to work" laws, you said that business owners should have the right to refuse to hire union members (or to fire them). How would that work for government employees? In a free society, could legislators (or departments) forbid government workers from being union members? Could they require union membership? Might unions serve some functions – like providing insurance and other benefits to members – but not engage in collective bargaining over wages or benefits?

Question 3: Materialism and Romance

Are materialistic couples less likely to have a lasting relationship? A recent study by Brigham Young University claims to show that concern for money causes stress in a relationship and that people who love money tend to be more impersonal and less passionate towards their loved ones. (See: ) Is that right? Does it reveal some defect with a morality of worldly values?

Question 4: Mandatory Child Support

Isn't mandated child support basically just welfare for needy children? What is the moral difference between compelling parents to support their children and compelling all people to support the needy in society? Many critics of the welfare state believe that parents should be compelled to support their children with basic levels of physical sustenance and education, such that failing to provide these constitutes violating children's rights. But how is that different from compelling people to support other needy or vulnerable people? Is the blood relationship what creates the obligation to support the child – and if so, how?

Rapid Fire Questions

In this segment, Greg Perkins asks me random questions from the Rapid Fire Queue. I answer totally impromptu, without any preparation.

Listen Live or Listen Later

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About Philosophy in Action Radio

I'm Dr. Diana Hsieh. I'm a philosopher specializing the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My dissertation defended moral responsibility and moral judgment against the doubts raised by Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer four meaty questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Wednesday evenings, I interview an expert guest about a topic of practical importance.

If you join us for the live broadcasts, you can ask follow-up questions and make comments in the text-based chat. Otherwise, you can listen to the podcast by subscribing to our Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the show archives, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.

For regular updates, commentary, and humor, read my blog NoodleFood and subscribe to its Blog RSS Feed. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and connect on social media too.

I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].

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