On the next episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on animals as property, the problem of overwork, defending abortion rights, promises of marriage, and more. This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 13 April 2014, in our live studio. If you can’t listen live, you’ll find the podcast on the episode’s archive page.
This week’s questions are:
- Question 1: Animals as Property: Are animals a special kind of property? On your blog NoodleFood, you claimed that “the law should recognize that beloved pets are not mere property, but rather a special kind of property. To wrongfully cause the death of a pet should carry a significantly higher penalty than merely compensating the owner for the replacement cost of that pet. Moreover, police officers and government officials who indulge in this kind of reckless killing without good cause should be disciplined severely, preferably fired.” Can you explain this view – the theory and the practice – further? Would this standard be akin to that of hate crimes, on the theory that crime is wrong but a crime motivated by hate is more wrong? Would it apply to other property – like my car (because it adds so much value to my life) or family photographs (which have lots of sentimental values but not monetary value)?
- Question 2: The Problem of Overwork: Does the example set by Ayn Rand’s heroes encourage overwork? The heroes of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead seem to have a nearly unlimited well of energy. They work long hours, and they don’t have many interests outside work. However, isn’t that dangerous? Does this approach to work risk exhaustion and burnout? More generally? what’s the rational approach to balancing work and self-care?
- Question 3: Defending Abortion Rights: How can abortion rights be more effectively defended? Although the biblical case against abortion is weak, the religious right has gained much traction against abortion rights in the last decade or two. The “personhood” movement is growing every year, and incremental restrictions on abortion have mushroomed. Even more alarming, the demographics seem to be against abortion rights: young people are increasingly opposed to abortion. What can be done to more effectively defend abortion rights? Can any lessons be drawn from the success of the campaign for gay marriage?
- Question 4: Promises of Marriage: Are the promises of marriage binding when a spouse becomes self-destructive? When couples marry, they often promise to stay together “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health.” But imagine that a wife chooses a self-destructive course of action – say, abusing drugs, profligate spending, or gambling. She refuses to listen to reason or change her behavior. Does the husband have an obligation to stay in the marriage or support her financially due to his past promise? If her self-destructive behavior causes some permanent disability, is he obliged to assist her financially or in some other way? Basically, what do the promises of marriage oblige a person to do?
After that, we’ll tackle some impromptu “Rapid Fire Questions.”
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The podcast of this episode will be available shortly after the live broadcast here: Radio Archive: Q&A: Animals as Property, Overwork, Abortion Rights, Marital Promises, and More. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:
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Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.