Q&A Radio: Sunday, 10 March 2013
I answered questions on universalization as an ethical test, regretful parents, online privacy, disruptive kids in public school, and more on Philosophy in Action Radio on Sunday, 10 March 2013. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. You can listen to or download the podcast below.Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.
My News of the Week: I've been planning the last-minute details of SnowCon, plus frantically putting the house in order by Thursday. Then we flew out to attend the wedding of Eric Daniels and Rachael Griffin. It was lovely! Also, this will be my 200th podcast!
- Duration: 1:02:58
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Segments: 10 March 2013
Question: Are arguments of the form "what if everyone did that" valid or not? Often, people will claim that some action is wrong on the grounds that not everyone could or should act that way. For example: it’s wrong for a couple not to have children because if no one had children, civilization would collapse. Or: it’s wrong for you not to donate to charity for the poor because if no one donated, lots of innocent people would suffer. Or: it’s wrong for any doctor to limit his practice to concierge service because if every doctor did that, most people would not have access to medical care. What’s right or wrong with this kind of argument?
Answer, In Brief: While proper ethical principles are universal, universalization is not a valid test of morality. Ethics should be based on the factual requirements of human life and happiness, including the virtues.
Question 2: Regretful Parents (18:56)
Question: What should parents do if they regret ever having children? In 2008, Nebraska permitted parents to abandon children of any age without penalty. As a result, quite a few older children were abandoned before the state changed the law. That shows that some parents deeply regret ever having children, and surely many more parents have major regrets, even though they'd never abandon their children. What should a parent do if he or she realizes that having kids was a mistake? What should prospective parents do to ensure that they'll not regret having kids?
Answer, In Brief: Parents who regret having kids should not force those kids to pay for their mistakes. They are obliged to parent well – or, as a last resort, find a substitute.
Question 3: Online Privacy (28:45)
Question: What kinds of privacy can people reasonably expect online? Online privacy is an increasing concern in the media and the culture. The FTC is working on redefining what companies are and are not allowed to do with data they collect online. But given that the internet functions by sending your data through lots and lots of different systems, what rights and/or reasonable expectations should people have concerning their privacy online?
Answer, In Brief: Online privacy is partly protected by contractual provisions about privacy. However, a person needs to take responsibility for his own privacy online by not sharing private information on insecure networks and using robust passwords.
Question: How should a public school teacher discipline unruly students? Since school attendance is mandatory, what is the proper and moral way to handle discipline in class? I'm a Spanish teacher in public school, and I hate to threaten or punish the few unruly kids. But for the sake of students who are truly interested to learn Spanish, I have to resort to methods like assigning detention and taking away phones for students who are not interested in Spanish. They are in my class only because they are pressured by their counselors. How can I deal with disruptive students in a way that respects their rights?
Answer, In Brief: In this case, the problem is not public school, but rather the more general problem of dealing with a bored student. The critical issue is that any disruptive student should not be permitted to slow down or halt the learning of students who do wish to learn.
- Do we see a little bit of the univeralization effect in the used car market? Everyone assumes that the used car salesperson is lying about the condition of the car, so everyone discounts the price.
- Does the Institute for Justice advocate for any causes that you don't support?
- Why is belief often treated as a choice? If I'm not convinced by an argument isn't that the end of that?
- Do you have any advice for advocating gun rights outside the US?
- What do you think of the Obama Administration's policy of drone killings, including of other Americans?
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Remember, Philosophy in Action Radio is available to anyone, free of charge. That's because our goal is to spread rational principles for real life far and wide, as we do every week to thousands of listeners. We love doing that, but each episode requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value our work, please contribute to our tip jar. We suggest $5 per episode or $20 per month, but any amount is appreciated. You can send your contribution via Dwolla, PayPal, or US Mail.
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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.
I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].