Nov 252013

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on positive change in Islam, self-esteem and appearance, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 24 November 2013

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Podcast Segments: 24 November 2013

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.


My News of the Week: I’ve been working on various programming projects – including getting all my old podcasts posted. That’s taking more work than I expected.

Question 1: Positive Change in Islam

Question: Can Islam change for the better? Many critics of Islam claim that the religion is inherently totalitarian, violent, and repressive – and hence, that change for the better is utterly impossible. An Islamic reformation or enlightenment will never happen, they say. Is that true? More generally, what are the limits of a religion’s ties to its own scriptures?

My Answer, In Brief: As in every other religion, Muslims are not bound to the barbaric elements of Islamic texts. Islam can change – and hopefully will, for the better.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Self-Esteem and Appearance

Question: How is a person’s appearance related to self-esteem? Should a rational person care much about his body – including height, weight, musculature, beauty, and so on? Is that second-handed somehow? How much effort should a person exert to make himself look the way he wants to look? Should a person’s looks affect his self-esteem?

My Answer, In Brief: A person should care about his body, but he ought to focus more on being healthy, capable, happy, and confident than on satisfying any cultural ideal of beauty.

Listen or Download:


To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions


  • Given that it’s inapt to say taxation is slavery, would it still be a mistake to say that compulsory taxation is ‘partial enslavement’ or ‘a less severe form of slavery’?
  • Is there any validity to the primary/secondary quality distinction?
  • Should a person use the term “black” or “African-American”?
  • Why do socialists want equality of outcome?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 56:46
  • Duration: 12:24
  • Download: MP3 Segment

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.


Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!

  • Start Time: 1:09:11

About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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  • Tom Burroughes

    I thought the discussion around religion was particularly good; interesting observation about polytheism.

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