Deliberately Unhealthy Choices
Radio Q&A: Sunday, 10 June 2012, Question 2
In the live broadcast of Philosophy in Action Radio on 10 June 2012, I answered a question on deliberately unhealthy choices.
Is it moral to smoke, drink, or eat unhealthy foods if one recognizes the costs of doing so? Suppose a friend makes a deliberate decision to eat foods he know to be unhealthy (such as frequent sugary desserts). He knows that it might harm his health, but he says that the personal enjoyment and satisfaction outweigh the risk of shortened lifespan and possible future harmful health effects. In other words, he claims he is making a rational choice to maximize his overall happiness. Is that moral?
My Answer, In Brief: Risks and trade-offs are inherent in life, and a person is not obliged to maximize lifespan. However, in this case, the person is likely discounting the troubles and pains of future health problems, as well as indulging in compulsions rather than genuine pleasures.
- Download: MP3 Segment
- Duration: 10:29
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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.
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