Mar 242011

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on the nature of love, unrequited love, bisexuality and relationships with men and women, hypotheticals in ethics, recommending the upcoming Atlas Shrugged movie, asking a person out, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 20 March 2011

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Podcast Segments: 20 March 2011

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


My News of the Week: Let’s get started!

Question 1: The Nature of Love

Question: What is love? How would you distinguish between romantic love and the love of close friendship? What is the difference between infatuation and love? How can a rational person know when he or she is “in love”?

My Answer, In Brief: For a person to be in love with another person does not just concern the strength of the emotional attachment, but also the nature of the relationship and depth of knowledge of the other person.

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

Question 2: Unrequited Love

Question: How does one best deal with unrequited love? I am most interested in this from the perspective of someone who harbors feelings for a friend. In particular, how do you “move on”? When I have been in this situation, I have found it difficult to be interested in others I’m trying to date when so “hung up”. Is it necessary to distance oneself from the object of one’s affection, even if it means to some extent giving up a life-enhancing friendship? What if one would rather remain single than diminish the friendship? Can that be a rational choice? If so, for how long? Does the answer change if the initial rejection was not unequivocal, but based on some possibly temporary circumstances (like a current relationship)?

My Answer, In Brief: While much depends on the particular circumstances, the crucial question is whether the friendship can be maintained as a friendship despite the love-interest or not – or whether feelings of angst or jealousy are simply so strong as to require a break.

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

Question 3: Bisexuality and Relationships with Men and Women

Question: If one is bisexual and derives different values from relationships/sex with men than with women, is it proper to maintain concurrent relationships with both? Assume here, that if such an individual were to forsake having a relationship or sex with either gender, he/she would feel like something is missing and would long for the other.

My Answer, In Brief: It’s not possible, in my view, to maintain a deep and meaningful sexual relationship with more than one person. So the answer to this dilemma seems to lie in introspection and perhaps experimentation.

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

Question 4: Hypotheticals in Ethics

Question: Are hypothetical scenarios useful in ethics? In your 27 February 2011 webcast, you talked about a hypothetical in which saving a stranger costs $200 and two hours of time. How can you know such details, except by stipulation? Aren’t such hypotheticals useless because they’re not the like the circumstances that people actually face, which usually involve lots of unknowns?

My Answer, In Brief: Hypotheticals are useful in ethics provided that they are metaphysically and epistemically realistic.

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

Question 5: Recommending the Upcoming Atlas Shrugged Movie

Question: Assuming the Atlas Shrugged movie turns out to be decent, would it be immoral to recommend it to others since the movie is backed by a trustee of The Atlas Society?

My Answer, In Brief: While the movie’s connection to The Atlas Society is regrettable (see why), that connection is tenuous enough that recommending the movie cannot be construed as an endorsement thereof. However, the critical thing is that people recommend reading the book, not just watch the movie!

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

Question 6: Asking a Person Out

Question: How should one approach a girl one is interested in? How does one go about asking her on a date?

My Answer, In Brief: Be straightforward: ask to spend some time together based on the nature of your interest (which should be more than mere looks).

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To comment on this question or my answer, 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: 1:00:19

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