Moral Saints, Inventing Stories, and More
Q&A Radio: Thursday, 13 February 2014
I answered questions on moral saints, inventing stories about yourself, and more on Philosophy in Action Radio on Thursday, 13 February 2014. 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: We've been enduring a major ice storm and its aftermath in Aiken, South Carolina. We lost power on Wednesday morning, and so we have no water, no heat, and no electric. We're camping out, relying on the generator periodically to heat the apartment and charge our devices. We've not ridden for three days, but our lessons resume tomorrow. Also, regular pricing ends for SnowCon 2014 on February 16th. Be sure to check out the six lectures just announced!
- Duration: 1:07:06
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Segments: 13 February 2014
Question: Should a person want to be a "moral saint"? In her classic article "Moral Saints," Susan Wolf argues that a person should not wish to be morally perfect, i.e. a moral saint. What is her basic argument? What's right or wrong about it? Does it apply to rational egoism?
Answer, In Brief: In Susan Wolf's fascinating article "Moral Saints," a moral saint is a model of perfect altruism. Wolf persuasively argues that the lives of such people are "too good for their own good" – and ultimately, literally selfless.
Question: Is it wrong to invent stories about yourself to tell to strangers? In the past, I've made up stories about myself (basically assuming a character) and told them to strangers on the bus or in an airport. When I mentioned this to my spouse, I hadn't really thought of this as lying until I saw his horrified reaction. Do you think this is wrong? If so, why? Would it be acceptable in some contexts, such as for an acting class?
Answer, In Brief: To entertain yourself by lying to strangers about yourself is not moral: you're treating another person with contempt without any just cause. Moreover, you risk incurring the justified wrath and distrust of those people, as well as others.
- Do you know ways to measure and improve your "focus"?
- Are tears of happiness really a sign of the malevolent universe premise? It seems to me that tears are just a way of releasing strong emotion, whether positive or negative.
- What is the difference between truth and fact?
- Who are your biggest heroes?
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Support Philosophy in Action
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 first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback, as well as for Kindle and Nook. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting 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.
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I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].