New Questions in the Queue

 Posted by on 12 September 2012 at 4:00 pm  Question Queue
Sep 122012

As you know, on Sunday morning’s Philosophy in Action Radio, I answer four questions chosen in advance from the Question Queue. Here are the most recent additions to that queue. Please vote for the ones that you’re most interested in hearing me answer! You can also review and vote on all pending questions sorted by date or sorted by popularity.

Also, I’m perfectly willing to be bribed to answer a question of particular interest to you pronto. So if you’re a regular contributor to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar, I can answer your desired question as soon as possible. (The question must already be in the queue, so if you’ve not done so already, submit it. Just e-mail me at [email protected] to make arrangements.

Now, without further ado, the most recent questions added to The Queue:

When should parents refuse to support their adult children?

Some parents continue to support their 30-year-old and even 40-year-old adult children. Usually, these adult children are chronic screw-ups without much interest in improving their lives or even holding down a steady job. Are these parents immoral for helping the child? Are the parents contributing to his or her problems? How can the parents stop in a way that’s fair to the dependent child?

Should an atheist refuse to have a religious wedding?

I’m an atheist, but my fiancée is a not-terribly-devout Christian. My parents – and her parents too – are Christian. Everyone wants and expects us to have a religious wedding, but I don’t want that. My future wife would be willing to have a secular wedding, but she prefers a religious one. Mostly, she doesn’t want to argue with her parents over it. Should I insist on a secular wedding? Or should I just let this one go? What’s the harm, either way?

What’s wrong with campaign finance disclosure laws?

I understand that people should be able to donate to whatever political campaigns they see fit, but what’s the problem with campaign finance disclosure laws? Aren’t transparency and accountability genuine values for voters in today’s complex elections? Shouldn’t voters know who is funding which candidates and what measures?

Should a man be able to prevent his pregnant girlfriend from aborting his baby?

Sometimes, a man will get his girlfriend pregnant accidentally, and they disagree about what should be done. If the man wants the woman to carry the pregnancy to term, whether to give up the baby for adoption or him take sole custody, while the woman wants to get an abortion, should he be able to prevent her? It’s his baby, shouldn’t he have some say?

Should abortion be left to the states?

Many people – some for abortion rights and some against abortion rights – think that abortion laws should be decided by each state, rather than dictated by the federal government. People mostly argue for that view on the grounds that the right to abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution. I’ve also seen someone argue that since murder is defined by state law, whether abortions are deemed murder or not should be a matter of state law. What would result from allowing states to decide abortion law? Would that be the right approach?

Can a romance between an atheist and a religious believer work?

What are the major obstacles? Should the atheist attend church or church socials with his spouse? Should they have a religious wedding ceremony? Should they send their children to religious schools? Do the particular beliefs – or strength of beliefs – of the religious person matter?

Is equality a value – and if so, what kind?

Some people advocate for equality of outcome, while others advocate for equality of opportunity or equality before the law. What’s right or wrong with these concepts of equality? Are any of them part of a rational morality – or a rational legal code?In other words, can people be made equal in some sense? If so, should that be attempted?

What are the moral principles governing collaboration with other people?

What kinds of alliances with others – particularly in cultural or political activism – are moral and practical? What kinds are immoral or impractical? When should a person form ad hoc rather than enduring alliances? Are “big tents” sometimes appropriate? Might circumstances be so dire that short-term alliances with unsavory people are warranted?

How can I make my boss more communicative?

My boss hardly ever communicates with me. As a result, I’ve wasted days and weeks on useless work, and I’ve gotten into needless conflicts with co-workers. I’m always guessing at what I should be doing, and I just hate that. What can I do to encourage my boss to be more communicative with me?

How can I politely tell my co-workers that I’m not interested in socializing?

I have always struggled with the pressure to form friendships at work. Personally, I don’t want to hang out with my coworkers after work. I don’t want to chit chat during work. I won’t want to celebrate birthdays or other personal events. This is always interpreted as me being snobbish, aloof, and worst of all “not a team player.” It’s so annoying. I just want to do a good job and then leave, not join a social club. How can I communicate that without being offensive?

What is the value of understanding personality differences?

You’ve become increasingly interested in personality theory lately. What are the major practical benefits of better understanding personality? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the various personality theories? Is understanding personality differences as important – or perhaps more important – than knowing philosophy?

Does a doctor violate a woman’s rights by refusing to perform an abortion?

Many people on the left claim that a doctor who refuses to perform an abortion – or a pharmacist who refuses to dispense Plan B – is thereby violating the rights of the woman. Those doctors and pharmacists, however, claim that they’re exercising their own freedom of religion. Who is right?

How can I make up for my being accidentally rude for years to a friend?

I recently discovered that my friend hates the nickname that I’ve used for him for years. I feel really bad about that, but I also wish he’d spoken up sooner. What should I do now? Should I apologize – or just stop using the nickname?

Does government welfare protect people against theft and violence by the poor?

If government welfare were abolished, the poor would have to fend for themselves. Granted, some would finally start working, but others would likely resort to theft and violence. So isn’t welfare in the interests of the middle and upper classes, despite the cost in tax dollars? Isn’t welfare a way to buy safety and security?

Does everything happen for a reason?

When confronted with some unwelcome turn of events, many people tell themselves that “everything happens for a reason.” What does that mean – and is it true? Is it harmless – or does believing that have negative effects on a person’s life?

To submit a question, use this form. I prefer questions focused on some concrete real-life problem, as opposed to merely theoretical or political questions. I review and edit all questions before they’re posted. (Alas, IdeaInformer doesn’t display any kind of confirmation page when you submit a question.)

    New Questions in the Queue
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