On Sunday, 17 June 2012, I broadcast a new episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, answering questions on objectively assessing yourself, friendships with subordinates at work, keeping up with the news, child labor laws, and more. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was the episode’s co-host.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to audio podcasts of selected questions or the whole episode. You’ll find those posted below, as well as on this episode’s archive page: Q&A Radio: 17 June 2012.

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Q&A Radio: Episode: 17 June 2012

The Whole Episode

My News of the Week: I’ve been very busy with upgrades to Philosophy in Action, as well as promoting it. It’s exciting – and it bit nerve-wracking! Also, you can now contribute using Dwolla, which is a far better form of online payment than PayPal.

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You can also download or listen to particular questions from this episode.

Question 1: Objectively Assessing Yourself (3:42)

In this segment, I answered a question on objectively assessing yourself.

How can a person objectively assess his own character? If a person has a good character, then he’ll recognize that fact. But if a person has a bad character, then he’ll probably deceive himself into thinking himself good. So it seems likely that every person will think that he has a good character, even when that’s not true. So, is objective assessment of one’s own character possible? If so, how?

My Answer, In Brief: While judging your own character can be difficult, any person willing attend to the feedback of reality and other people can do so objectively.

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Tags: Character, Ethics, Introspection, Judgment, Justice, Objectivity

Relevant Links:

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

Question 2: Friendships with Subordinates at Work (17:40)

In this segment, I answered a question on friendships with subordinates at work.

Is it wrong to be friends with subordinates at work? Work is a place where you have a certain contractual and moral obligation to the company you work for to put the company’s interests ahead. With workplace friendships, particularly with subordinates, this can lead to problematic situations, particularly in maintaining a sense of objectivity both to yourself and among your peers and subordinates. There are also problems with the friendship itself; items that you are not supposed to share with subordinates and big events in your friend’s life (looking for another job, for example) that either put you in a rough situation or have to be left out of the friendship entirely. Is being friends with someone who is subordinate to you at work practical or moral?

My Answer, In Brief: A manager should be friendly with his directs – equally friendly. To single out some as friends is unprofessional and creates moral conflicts.

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Tags: Business, Ethics, Friendship, Management, Work

Relevant Links:

  • Manager Tools: “Can I Be Friends with My Directs?” Part 1 and Part 2

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

Question 3: Keeping Up with the News (33:17)

In this segment, I answered a question on keeping up with the news.

Should I keep up with current affairs? As we know, most reporting is pretty bad. In print, and especially on the rolling 24-hour news channels. It’s myopic, biased, and lacking in any principled coverage. The reporters are just clueless, and are like children pointing at all the pretty, crazy colors. But there must be some value in reading the paper, right? Or is it only for people in certain intellectual occupations, whose work involves commentary on the world today? I’ve not followed current affairs for the last few years myself, and I’m happy for it, but do just worry that I’m missing something.

My Answer, In Brief: A person should be purposeful and discriminating about the information he consumes, including about current events. Unless doing so serves some genuine purpose, a person is likely to waste time or even damage his psyche.

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Tags: Activism, Culture, Media, Politics

Relevant Links:

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

Question 4: Child Labor Laws (45:25)

In this segment, I answered a question on child labor laws.

Should children be protected by child labor laws? Currently, federal and state governments restricts “child labor” in various ways. The US Department of Labor “restricts the hours that youth under 16 years of age can work and lists hazardous occupations too dangerous for young workers to perform.” The goal is to “protect the educational opportunities of youth and prohibit their employment in jobs that are detrimental to their health and safety.” Is this a proper function of government? Does it violate the rights of parents, children, and/or employers? If so, what’s the harm done?

My Answer, In Brief: Children can and should be able to work without meddling government regulations.

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Tags: Children, Law, Parenting, Politics, Work, Young Adults

Relevant Links:

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

Rapid Fire Questions (59:51)

In this segment, Dr. Diana Hsieh answered questions impromptu. The questions were:

  • Does the FDA have a proper role in protecting us from harm by unproven drugs?
  • Ayn Rand said that her philosophy was for living on earth. Does that mean that there is a different philosophy for living in space?
  • Who is the wealthiest Objectivist you know?
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To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.

Conclusion (1:11:12)

Thank you for joining us for this episode! If you enjoyed this episode, please contribute to contribute to our tip jar. Also, please submit and vote on questions for upcoming shows in in the question queue.

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