Breaking Rules, Sexual Relations with Minors, and More
Q&A Radio: 28 June 2015
I answered questions on exceptions to rules, judgments of men versus women for sexual relationships with minors, and more on 28 June 2015. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
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Segments: 28 June 2015
Question: When should exceptions to established rules be granted? People often oppose some proposed exception to the rules on the grounds that doing so would set a dangerous precedent and engender abuse. For example, suppose that an honest and diligent student is in the hospital, and he wants to keep up with his school work as much as possible. His parents propose that he take his math exam from the hospital, and they'll monitor him during the exam. The school refuses on the grounds that if all students were allowed to do that, then cheating would be rampant because not all parents would be honest or diligent monitors. Is that a valid reason for refusing this proposed exception to the rules? When should exceptions be granted to established rules?
Answer, In Brief: Rules are not sacrosanct. The critical point – for both rule-makers and rule-followers/rule-breakers is to respect the relevant underlying principles and goals. From that basis, reasonable exceptions can be made.
Question: 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 boys could have been harmed, and they thought an adult male teacher having sex with a female student would be much more predatory. Besides, those commentators often added, the female teachers in these cases were "hot." At the time, I agreed with those views, but lately, I've been thinking that I should check my premises. So is it the case that an adult man having sex with a female minor is more predatory than an adult woman having sex with a male minor? Are the teenage male minor's rights violated if he is seduced into a sexual relationship with a female teacher? Is a double standard at work here?
Answer, In Brief: My basic advice is to ignore the media hyperventilating over these kinds of cases: you can't know enough about the relationship to judge. In the meantime, check your premises about male versus female sexual desire.
Rapid Fire Questions (57:24)
- Is strength a virtue or a moral amplifier?
- Given that you take requests for questions to answer, how much does voting on the questions really matter? (I'm just curious--your show, your rules!)
- My coworker makes unfunny, snide comments to me under the guise of kidding around. When I defend myself with cutting responses, he acts taken aback and accuses me of being sensitive. What should I do?
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.
From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.
My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. 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 second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.
I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].