NoodleCast #132: Q&A Radio Podcast: Self-Destructive Pleasures, Privacy in a High-Tech Society, Pushy Fundraising, Browsing Locally Then Buying Online

May 142012
 

On Sunday, 13 May 2012, I broadcast a new episode of my live Philosophy in Action Webcast, where I answer questions on the application of rational principles to the challenges of living a virtuous, happy, and free life in a live, hour-long webcast. The webcast is broadcast live every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. In the webcast, I broadcast on video, Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers is on audio, and the audience is in a text chat.

As usual, if you can’t attend the live webcast, you can listen to it later as audio-only podcast by subscribing to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed:

You can also peruse the archives, listening to whole episodes or just individual questions. The archives are sorted by date and by topic.

We hope that you’ll join the live webcast, because that’s more lively and engaging than the podcast. People talk merrily in the text chat while watching the webcast. Greg and I enjoy the immediate feedback of a live audience – the funny quips, serious comments, and follow-up questions. So please join the live webcast when you can!

The Podcast: Episode: 13 May 2012

Listen Now

Duration: 1:00:44
Download the Episode Subscribe to the Feed The Segments: Episode: 13 May 2012

The following segments are marked as chapters in the M4A version of the podcast. Thanks to Tammy Perkins for helping compile the show notes!

Introduction (0:00)

I’m experimenting with moving the webcast to an audio-only stream on BlogTalkRadio, as well as experimenting with my new call-in radio show on Wednesday evening. Soon, ATLOSCon 2012!

Question 1: Self-Destructive Pleasures (3:58)

It is wrong to pursue self-destructive pleasures? Suppose that you know that drinking to excess is not good for your mind or body, but you want to enjoy the oblivion of drunkenness. Or perhaps you know that sleeping with your ex-girlfriend is a very bad idea, but you want the pleasure of sex with a warm body. Is it wrong to pursue these pleasures, if you’re willing to accept their destructive consequences?

My Answer, In Brief: To live morally means to pursue your life and your values with gusto, not jump into the gutter. To yearn for self-destructive pleasures indicates psychological problems in need of fixing.

Links:

  • Philosophy in Action: Hedonism, Taking Drugs, Heavy Drinking
Question 2: Privacy in a High-Tech Society (11:53)

Do you have the right to privacy with respect to information that I can gather about you from observation of you while I’m on my own property? For instance, if I have technology that allows me to gather photons or sound waves that you emit from your property while I’m sitting on my property next door, can I post that information on YouTube or Facebook? For example, imagine that I have an infrared video of your activities emitted through your bedroom wall or the audio of your personal phone conversation that can be detected by sensitive microphones from 100 yards away. Have I violated your rights by gathering and publicizing information you’ve chosen to allow to be broadcast to anyone who can detect it with the right equipment?

My Answer, In Brief: Privacy is a value, and the law ought to recognize a fact-based distinction between private and public activities. The line should likely be drawn at what’s perceptible by the unaided senses or perceptible with ordinary technology.

Question 3: Pushy Fundraising (32:56)

How should I respond to the constant demands to contribute to fundraisers from my child’s school? I am barraged with “requests” for contributions to school fundraisers. This week, for example, each student in the band is asked to put together a “buddy bag” with sweets (against my views), a toy (more plastic junk to fill the landfills), and a gift (I can’t afford that). Every week, there’s another fundraiser, for which parents are asked to spend their money on things they don’t value or aren’t a fair value. Should I refuse these requests – and if so, how should I do so?

My Answer, In Brief: Be a good role model for your kids: recognize that you’re not obliged to contribute, establish your own standards for contribution, and be firm and clear in communicating what you’re willing to do (or not) to others.

Question 4: Browsing Locally Then Buying Online (37:59)

Is it wrong to browse in a local store but then buy online? Suppose that you shop for an item in a brick-and-mortar store, taking advantage of the opportunity to browse and get recommendations from staff, but then make your purchases at a discounted online retailer – for example, browsing through a local bookstore but then buying from Amazon at a lower price. Is that wrong or unfair?

My Answer, In Brief: It’s not wrong to buy online after browsing in a local store, provided that it’s done honestly – just as it’s not wrong to check out reviews online, but then buy in a local store. Be a self-interested consumer!

Links:

Rapid Fire Questions (46:35)

In this segment, I answered a variety of questions off-the-cuff. The questions were:

  • What should you do when you suspect that friends or acquaintances are depending on your opinion in second-handed ways?
  • Why would an egoist want to live in society?
  • What are some resources to communicate with tact and being more clear?
  • Is it wrong to “throw away your vote” on a candidate without any hope of being elected?
  • If the government didn’t own the roads, who would set and enforce traffic laws?
Conclusion (59:40)

Comments or questions? Contact us!

Support the Webcast

The Philosophy in Action Webcast is available to anyone, free of charge. We love doing it, but it’s not free for us to produce: it requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value what we’re doing, please contribute to the webcast’s tip jar!

If you’d like to make a one-time contribution in an amount not listed, use this link. For instructions on canceling or revising your monthly contribution, visit the support page.

Thank you, if you’ve contributed to the webcast! You make our work possible every week, and we’re so grateful for that! Also, whether you’re able to contribute financially or not, we always appreciate your helping us spread the word about this webcast to anyone you think might be interested, as well as submitting and voting on questions for upcoming webcasts.

 

In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I’ll answer questions on self-destructive pleasures, privacy in a high-tech society, pushy fundraising, browsing locally, buying online, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: PhilosophyInAction.com/live

Note: I’m thinking of testing out the webcast on audio-only this week, using BlogTalkRadio. In any case, I’ll make sure that you’re directed to the right place from PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

Here are the questions that I’ll answer this week:

  • Question 1: Self-Destructive Pleasures: It is wrong to pursue self-destructive pleasures? Suppose that you know that drinking to excess is not good for your mind or body, but you want to enjoy the oblivion of drunkeness. Or perhaps you know that sleeping with your ex-girlfriend is a very bad idea, but you want the pleasure of sex with a warm body. Is it wrong to pursue these pleasures, if you’re willing to accept their destructive consequences?
  • Question 2: Privacy in a High-Tech Society: Do you have the right to privacy with respect to information that I can gather about you from observation of you while I’m on my own property? For instance, if I have technology that allows me to gather photons or sound waves that you emit from your property while I’m sitting on my property next door, can I post that information onto YouTube or Facebook? For example, imagine that I have an infrared video of your activities emitted through your bedroom wall or the audio of your personal phone conversation that can be detected by sensitive microphones from 100 yards away. Have I violated your rights by gathering and publicizing information you’ve chosen to allow to be broadcast to anyone who can detect it with the right equipment?
  • Question 3: Pushy Fundraising: How should I respond to the constant demands to contribute to fundraisers from my child’s school? I am barraged with “requests” for contributions to school fundraisers. This week, for example, each student in the band is asked to put together a “buddy bag” with sweets (against my views), a toy (more plastic junk to fill the landfills), and a gift (I can’t afford that). Every week, there’s another fundraiser, for which parents asked to spend their money on things they don’t value or aren’t a fair value. Should I refuse these requests – and if so, how should I do so?
  • Question 4: Browsing Locally, Buying Online: Is it wrong to browse in a local store but then buy online? Suppose that you shop for an item in a brick-and-mortar store, taking advantage of the opportunity to browse and get recommendations for staff, but then make your purchases at a discounted online retailer – for example, browsing through a local bookstore but then buying from Amazon at a lower price. Is that wrong or unfair?
After that, we’ll do a round of totally impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”

If you can’t attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as audio-only podcasts by subscribing to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed:

Be sure to connect with us on social media too.

You can listen to full episodes or just selected questions from any past episode in the Webcast Archive. Also, don’t forget to submit and vote on the questions that you’d most like me to answer from the ongoing Question Queue.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

 

Now that I’ve done three call-in shows on BlogTalkRadio, I’ve been reflecting on the differences between working in video versus audio. As a result, I’m wondering whether I should switch my Sunday Webcast to a purely audio stream — perhaps to BlogTalkRadio or perhaps to some other service.

I’m not sure that the video on my Sunday Webcast adds much value, and I do pay for the use of that. Also, I’ve found that I can speak extemporaneously better if I only have to focus on what I’m saying rather than what I’m doing. That’s been a bit of a surprise to me.

However, I wonder if I’m under-valuing the video for my audience. Also, I’m concerned about the quality of the audio stream offered by BlogTalkRadio. (I record the posted podcasts locally, so you can only judge if you’ve listened to the live show.) I might be able to offer a better live audio stream — perhaps while still using the BlogTalkRadio platform. I might offer that better audio stream only to “premium” subscribers, meaning people who contribute, say, $10 or more each month. Everyone else would have to endure BlogTalkTadio.

However, before I make a decision, I’d like to hear from you. So here’s a quick poll.

Please feel free to post any further thoughts in the comments. I’d like to hear from you!

 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I answered two questions on forgiveness. The first question was:

Should we forgive ourselves? How can a person free himself from guilt over past errors and wrongs, particularly irrationality? Should such a person forgive himself – and if so, what does that entail?
My answer, in brief:
The idea of “forgiving yourself” is somewhat metaphorical, but it’s useful for applying objective moral standards to yourself when recovering from a wrongdoing.
Here’s the video of my full answer:
The second question was:
Can an ordinary person do something unforgivable? Could a friend act in a way that would make rational forgiveness impossible? Might a person do something so hurtful or unfair that you couldn’t ever trust them again? In such cases, how should the person wronged acted towards the unforgivable person?
My answer, in brief:
People can do truly unforgivable things, particularly when they betray the fundamental basis of the relationship.
Here’s the video of my full answer:
If you enjoyed these videos, please “like” them on YouTube and share them with friends via social media, forums, and e-mail! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

NoodleCast #130: Webcast: Forgiving Yourself, Unforgivable Acts, The Meaning of Life, Respecting Intellectual Property Online

May 072012
 

On Sunday, 6 May 2012, I broadcast a new episode of my live Philosophy in Action Webcast, where I answer questions on the application of rational principles to the challenges of living a virtuous, happy, and free life in a live, hour-long webcast. The webcast is broadcast live every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. In the webcast, I broadcast on video, Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers is on audio, and the audience is in a text chat.

As usual, if you can’t attend the live webcast, you can listen to it later as audio-only podcast by subscribing to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed:

You can also peruse the archives, listening to whole episodes or just individual questions. The archives are sorted by date and by topic.

We hope that you’ll join the live webcast, because that’s more lively and engaging than the podcast. People talk merrily in the text chat while watching the webcast. Greg and I enjoy the immediate feedback of a live audience – the funny quips, serious comments, and follow-up questions. So please join the live webcast when you can!

The Podcast: Episode: 6 May 2012

Listen Now

Duration: 1:02:26
Download the Episode Subscribe to the Feed The Segments: Episode: 6 May 2012

The following segments are marked as chapters in the M4A version of the podcast. Thanks to Tammy Perkins for helping compile the show notes!

Introduction (0:00)

I’ve been working on updates to Philosophy in Action, and I’m going to start preparing my talks for ATLOSCon 2012. And… Happy Birthday, Tammy!

Question 1: Forgiving Yourself (3:08)

Should we forgive ourselves? How can a person free himself from guilt over past errors and wrongs, particularly irrationality? Should such a person forgive himself – and if so, what does that entail?

My Answer, In Brief: The idea of “forgiving yourself” is somewhat metaphorical, but it’s useful for applying objective moral standards to yourself when recovering from a wrongdoing.

Links:

  • Philosophy in Action: The Necessity of Forgiveness
  • Philosophy in Action: The Process of Forgiveness
  • Philosophy in Action: Unforgivable Acts
Question 2: Unforgivable Acts (18:05)

Can an ordinary person do something unforgivable? Could a friend act in a way that would make rational forgiveness impossible? Might a person do something so hurtful or unfair that you couldn’t ever trust them again? In such cases, how should the person wronged acted towards the unforgivable person?

My Answer, In Brief: People can do truly unforgivable things, particularly when they betray the fundamental basis of the relationship.

Links:

  • Philosophy in Action: The Necessity of Forgiveness
  • Philosophy in Action: The Process of Forgiveness
  • Philosophy in Action: Forgiving Yourself
Question 3: The Meaning of Life (36:38)

Does life have a purpose or meaning? Religious people say that God gives their lives meaning, purpose, and direction. Other people find meaning in doing good for others or society as a whole. As an atheist and egoist, what do you think the purpose of life is? Does it have any inherent meaning – or should a person arbitrarily decide its meaning? And shouldn’t a person think that something is more important than himself and his own petty concerns?

My Answer, In Brief: A person who fully values himself will reject the idea of an externally-imposed purpose, but instead identify and pursue his own central purpose by reason.

Links:

  • Philosophy in Action: Finding a Central Purpose
Question 4: Downloading and Sharing Online Videos (49:10)

Is downloading music from YouTube a violation of intellectual property rights? Given that content creators can remove YouTube videos that violate their intellectual property rights, is it wrong to assume that they consent to the posting if they’ve not asked to remove it? It is wrong to watch or share clips that seem to be uploaded without permission? It is wrong to download music from YouTube for my own personal use, whether uploaded by the creator or someone else?

My Answer, In Brief: It’s often difficult to judge whether online intellectual property is legitimate or not. Use common sense to judge whether likely legitimate or not, and don’t attempt to sneak out of paying.

Links:

  • Philosophy in Action: The Morality of Pirating Music
Rapid Fire Questions (57:56)

In this segment, I answered a variety of questions off-the-cuff. The questions were:

  • Could you give an example of a central purpose?
  • Is it morally okay to associate with a religious charity if you believe in its secular mission?
Conclusion (1:01:32)

Comments or questions? Contact us!

Support the Webcast

The Philosophy in Action Webcast is available to anyone, free of charge. We love doing it, but it’s not free for us to produce: it requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value what we’re doing, please contribute to the webcast’s tip jar!

If you’d like to make a one-time contribution in an amount not listed, use this link. For instructions on canceling or revising your monthly contribution, visit the support page.

Thank you, if you’ve contributed to the webcast! You make our work possible every week, and we’re so grateful for that! Also, whether you’re able to contribute financially or not, we always appreciate your helping us spread the word about this webcast to anyone you think might be interested, as well as submitting and voting on questions for upcoming webcasts.

Preview: Sunday’s Webcast

May 032012
 

In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I’ll answer questions on forgiving yourself, unforgivable acts, the meaning of life, downloading and sharing online videos, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 6 May 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: PhilosophyInAction.com/live
Here are the questions that I’ll answer this week:
  • Question 1: Forgiving Yourself: Should we forgive ourselves? How can a person free himself from guilt over past errors and wrongs, particularly irrationality? Should such a person forgive himself – and if so, what does that entail?
  • Question 2: Unforgivable Acts: Can an ordinary person do something unforgivable? Could a friend act in a way that would make rational forgiveness impossible? Might a person do something so hurtful or unfair that you couldn’t ever trust them again? In such cases, how should the person wronged acted towards the unforgivable person?
  • Question 3: The Meaning of Life: Does life have a purpose or meaning? Religious people say that God gives their lives meaning, purpose, and direction. Other people find meaning in doing good for others or society as a whole. As an atheist and egoist, what do you think the purpose of life is? Does it have any inherent meaning – or should a person arbitrarily decide its meaning? And shouldn’t a person think that something is more important than himself and his own petty concerns?
  • Question 4: Downloading and Sharing Online Videos: Is downloading music from YouTube a violation of intellectual property rights? Given that content creators can remove YouTube videos that violate their intellectual property rights, is it wrong to assume that they consent to the posting if they’ve not asked to remove it? It is wrong to watch or share clips that seem to be uploaded without permission? It is wrong to download music from YouTube for my own personal use, whether uploaded by the creator or someone else?
After that, we’ll do a round of totally impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”

If you can’t attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as audio-only podcasts by subscribing to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed:

Be sure to connect with us on social media too.

You can listen to full episodes or just selected questions from any past episode in the Webcast Archive. Also, don’t forget to submit and vote on the questions that you’d most like me to answer from the ongoing Question Queue.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

NoodleCast #128: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast

Apr 302012
 

On Sunday, 29 April 2012, I broadcast a new episode of my live Philosophy in Action Webcast, where I answer questions on the application of rational principles to the challenges of living a virtuous, happy, and free life in a live, hour-long webcast. The webcast is broadcast live every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. In the webcast, I broadcast on video, Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers is on audio, and the audience is in a text chat.

As usual, if you can’t attend the live webcast, you can listen to it later as audio-only podcast by subscribing to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed:

You can also peruse the archives, listening to whole episodes or just individual questions. The archives are sorted by date and by topic.

We hope that you’ll join the live webcast, because that’s more lively and engaging than the podcast. People talk merrily in the text chat while watching the webcast. Greg and I enjoy the immediate feedback of a live audience – the funny quips, serious comments, and follow-up questions. So please join the live webcast when you can!

The Podcast: Episode: 29 April 2012

Listen Now

Duration: 1:02:34
Download the Episode Subscribe to the Feed The Segments: Episode: 29 April 2012

The following segments are marked as chapters in the M4A version of the podcast. Thanks to Tammy Perkins for helping compile the show notes!

Introduction (0:00)

My first episode of Philosophy in Action Radio was so much fun! Join me for the next show on Wednesday night at 7 pm MT.

Question 1: The Wrong of Utilitarianism (4:04)

What’s wrong with utilitarianism? The basic principle of utilitarianism is “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” What’s wrong with that as a moral standard? Shouldn’t a person act for the good of society?

My Answer, In Brief: Utilitarianism claims that every person obliged to promote greatest happiness for the greater number. It’s an utterly wrong moral theory based on unjustified hedonism, egalitarianism, and collectivism. When put into practice, the result is massive injustice and misery.

Question 2: The Morality of Working a Government Job (22:02)

Is it moral to work for the IRS? Is it morally wrong to work for government agencies like the IRS (or equivalent tax bureaus), IAS (Indian Administrative Services), or the EPA? I’m an advocate of free markets. Would I be a hypocrite to work for such illegitimate government agencies?

My Answer, In Brief: The morality of working for an illegitimate government agency depends on the kind of work that you’ll be done. In many cases, far better to be on welfare.

Question 3: Optimal Planning (31:50)

How much advance planning is optimal? Some people like to plan everything well in advance, while others prefer to allow events to unfold and make decisions on the fly. Is one approach better than the other? How much does it depend on the circumstances? How can people with different preferences coordinate comfortably?

My Answer, In Brief: There is a reasonable range of preferences for planning based on personality differences and circumstances, with pathology on both extremes.

Question 4: Padding Your Application (41:51)

Is doing activities just to pad you application or resumé dishonest? Some people work on mastering playing the violin, competing in tennis tournaments, learning calculus, and other activities – not because they have any interest in them or because they think they might develop an interest once tried, but rather because they think these activities will look good on an application or resumé. Is that dishonest? Is it unwise?

My Answer, In Brief: A person can make himself a better applicant by various means, and so long as he’s not claiming to have interests or qualities that he doesn’t have, that’s not a moral problem.

Rapid Fire Questions (51:43)

In this segment, I answered a variety of questions off-the-cuff. The questions were:

  • Who owns the moon?
  • How should I respond to a friend always giving me unsolicited advice?
  • Is respecting the rights of others an unchosen obligation?
  • Where’s the line between being sensitive to the feelings of others and being second-handed?
  • What do you think of the idea of “guilty pleasures”?
Conclusion (1:01:34)

Comments or questions? Contact us!

Support the Webcast

The Philosophy in Action Webcast is available to anyone, free of charge. We love doing it, but it’s not free for us to produce: it requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value what we’re doing, please contribute to the webcast’s tip jar!

If you’d like to make a one-time contribution in an amount not listed, use this link. For instructions on canceling or revising your monthly contribution, visit the support page.

Thank you, if you’ve contributed to the webcast! You make our work possible every week, and we’re so grateful for that! Also, whether you’re able to contribute financially or not, we always appreciate your helping us spread the word about this webcast to anyone you think might be interested, as well as submitting and voting on questions for upcoming webcasts.

 

In my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I’ll answer questions on the wrong of utilitarianism, the morality of government jobs, planning in advance, padding your resumé, and more. Please join us for this hour of lively discussion, where we apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous, happy, and free lives!

  • What: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast
  • Who: Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) and Greg Perkins
  • When: Sunday, 29 April 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: PhilosophyInAction.com/live
Here are the questions that I’ll answer this week:
  • Question 1: The Wrong of Utilitarianism: What’s wrong with utilitarianism? The basic principle of utilitarianism is “the greatest happiness for the greatest number.” What’s wrong with that as a moral standard? Should’t a person act for the good of society?
  • Question 2: The Morality of Government Jobs: Is it moral to work for the IRS? Is it morally wrong to work for government agencies like the IRS (or equivalent tax bureaus), IAS (Indian Administrative Services), or the EPA? I’m an advocate of free markets. Would I be a hypocrite to work for such illegitimate government agencies?
  • Question 3: Planning in Advance: How much advance planning is optimal? Some people like to plan everything well in advance, while others prefer to allow events to unfold and make decisions on the fly. Is one approach better than the other? How much does it depend on the circumstances? How can people with difference preferences coordinate comfortably?
  • Question 4: Padding Your Resumé: Is doing activities just to pad your resume dishonest? Some people work on mastering playing the violin, competing in tennis tournaments, learning calculus, and other activities – not because they have any interest in them or because they think they might develop an interest once tried, but rather because they think these activities will look good on an application or resumé. Is that dishonest? Is it unwise?
After that, we’ll do a round of totally impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”

If you can’t attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as audio-only podcasts by subscribing to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed:

Be sure to connect with us on social media too.

You can listen to full episodes or just selected questions from any past episode in the Webcast Archive. Also, don’t forget to submit and vote on the questions that you’d most like me to answer from the ongoing Question Queue.

I hope to see you on Sunday morning!

Video: Poking Fun at Friends’ Ideas Online

Apr 252012
 

In Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed poking fun at friends’ ideas online. The question was:

Is poking fun at people’s ideas on social media rude, offensive, or otherwise wrong? For example, is it proper to make jokes about Jesus, Obama, or environmentalism on Facebook – knowing that some of your Facebook friends are Christians, Democrats, or environmentalists? Should those people be offended? Should a person limit himself to serious arguments?
My answer, in brief:
Facebook and other online media are like a large cocktail party with everyone talking. Don’t rush around seeking out conflict, but rather seek out positive values.
Here’s the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please “like” it on YouTube and share it with friends via social media, forums, and e-mail! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

Join the next Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at PhilosophyInAction.com/live.

In the meantime, Connect with Us via social media, e-mail, RSS feeds, and more. Check out the Webcast Archives, where you can listen to the full webcast or just selected questions from any past episode, and our my YouTube channel. And go to the Question Queue to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcast episodes.

NoodleCast #126: Live Philosophy in Action Webcast

Apr 232012
 

On Sunday, 22 April 2012, I broadcast a new episode of my live Philosophy in Action Webcast, where I answer questions on the application of rational principles to the challenges of living a virtuous, happy, and free life in a live, hour-long webcast. The webcast is broadcast live every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. In the webcast, I broadcast on video, Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers is on audio, and the audience is in a text chat.

As usual, if you can’t attend the live webcast, you can listen to it later as audio-only podcast by subscribing to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed:

You can also peruse the archives, listening to whole episodes or just individual questions. The archives are sorted by date and by topic.

We hope that you’ll join the live webcast, because that’s more lively and engaging than the podcast. People talk merrily in the text chat while watching the webcast. Greg and I enjoy the immediate feedback of a live audience – the funny quips, serious comments, and follow-up questions. So please join the live webcast when you can!

The Podcast: Episode: 22 April 2012

Listen Now

Duration: 1:03:06
Download the Episode Subscribe to the Feed The Segments: Episode: 22 April 2012

The following segments are marked as chapters in the M4A version of the podcast. Thanks to Tammy Perkins for helping compile the show notes!

Introduction (0:00)

I’ve been mopping up from NoodleFood’s move to Philosophy in Action, and I sent out the first Philosophy in Action Newsletter. This week, I’ll be experimenting with Philosophy in Action on BlogTalkRadio! This first radio call-in show will be on Wednesday April 25th at 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT / 7 pm MT / 6 pm PT. Its theme will be “Getting More Done.”

Question 1: Obligation, Responsibility, and Duty (4:03)

What is the difference between obligation, responsibility, and duty? Often, people use these terms interchangeably. What’s difference between them, if any?

My Answer, In Brief: Obligations and responsibilities can be true and powerful — if based on person’s own choices. Duties are claims of obligation deriving solely from the say-so of some authority, and that’s why they are invalid.

Links:

Question 2: Stockpiling Medication (14:06)

Is it wrong to stockpile medication now in the event of an economic crash in the future? We are concerned that increasing economic troubles will raise the prices of some prescription and over-the-counter medications, and make them hard to find in the future. Is it okay to start a stockpile of some medications (most of which have a long shelf-life)? In the case of prescription medications, is it okay to exaggerate to our doctors or play “musical pharmacies” in order to obtain more medication?

My Answer, In Brief: Stockpiling medication in case of an emergency is a very good idea, but don’t undermine your relationship with your doctor by lying about your medical condition.

Links:

Question 3: Poking Fun at Friends’ Ideas Online (24:05)

Is poking fun at people’s ideas on social media rude, offensive, or otherwise wrong? For example, is it proper to make jokes about Jesus, Obama, or environmentalism on Facebook – knowing that some of your Facebook friends are Christians, Democrats, or environmentalists? Should those people be offended? Should a person limit himself to serious arguments?

My Answer, In Brief: Facebook and other online media are like a large cocktail party with everyone talking. Don’t rush around looking for arguments, but rather seek out positive values.

Question 4: Encouraging Friends to Be More Purposeful (39:21)

How can I encourage my friends to be more purposeful and passionate? I have been certain about my life’s purpose – in terms of what career and personal creative works I’d like to pursue – from a young age. I’ve had friends who are above-average in their academic and career work, and who explore various hobbies, but they do not pursue those activities with eager passion. They say that they “do not know what they want out of life” and have not “found their calling.” What is at the root of uncertainty about one’s purpose? Is there a moral breach involved? How can I motivate, encourage, and inspire my friends?

My Answer, In Brief: Be sure that your advice would be welcome to your friends — and that you don’t fall into the trap of assuming that everyone should be like you.

Links:

Rapid Fire Questions (48:08)

In this segment, I answered a variety of questions off-the-cuff. The questions were:

  • What do you think of Earth Day?
  • Is it moral to use a program that blocks website advertisements?
  • Please clarify your position on the morality of using the goods and services stolen from Canadian taxpayers.
  • Is it irrational to feel worse about a disaster if there are people of your own nationality among the victims (assuming they’re all strangers)?
  • Do you think that the government will attempt to crack down on free speech on the internet anytime soon – and if so, how?
Conclusion (1:02:06)

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