Morality, Guns with Kids, Tact, Abusive Marriage, and More
Webcast Q&A: 26 June 2011
I answered questions on morality and living well, the risk of guns with kids, tact versus honesty, staying in an abusive marriage for the kids, and more on 26 June 2011. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers was my co-host. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.
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Segments: 26 June 2011
Question: What makes some action or choice of ethical concern? In your description of this webcast, you say that you answer questions on "practical ethics and the principles of living well." What's the line between those categories? When does a person acting unwisely cross the line into immorality? When does a person deserve moral praise for acting wisely? I'd appreciate a few examples, such as career choices, family relationships, eating habits, interacting with strangers, etc.
Answer, In Brief: Ethics concerns the fundamental principles that ought to guide our choices and actions, but many differences in people's choices are due to optional matters of style or values or honest mistake – not immorality.
Question: Should people give up their guns when they have kids? Many people think that having guns in the house with kids is terribly risky, if not child endangerment. They say that the kids might get to the guns, even if locked away, and injure or even kill themselves in an accidental discharge. Is that right? If parents choose to keep their guns in the house, what should they do to minimize the risk of injury?
Answer, In Brief: Don't try to kid-proof guns, but instead, gun-proof your kids by training them in the principles of gun safety.
Question: Is it dishonest to use tact when talking to someone? When I have something important to tell someone and I am concerned that the other person might be put on the defensive or have hurt feelings, I try to say what I need to say with tact. That is, I change what I say from brutal honesty to something easier for a person to hear and accept. However, I worry that I'm being dishonest in doing so. When does using tact cross the line into dishonesty?
Answer, In Brief: Tact may or may not be dishonest. Tact is a matter of style, not content, and sometimes (but not always) it's an effective method of communication.
Question: Is it moral to stay in an abusive marriage for the sake of the children? Should a woman stay in a marriage where the husband is abusive toward her because she has kids with the husband and wants her kids to have some sort of future? Does it matter if the man in question has some – or even all – the financial capability?
Answer, In Brief: Yes, yes, yes! To stay in an abusive marriage for the sake of the children is a farce, because the children will be hugely damaged thereby. The woman needs to be the adult – and take responsibility for herself and her kids.
Rapid Fire Questions (52:24)
- Should Americans celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden?
- Is nuclear power so risky that it should be banned?
- What's the proper view of homosexuality and gay sex?
- What's wrong with a person neglecting his pets and what should be done about such a person?
- Is it okay to require training and have a permit system for guns?
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About Philosophy in Action
I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."
My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.
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I can be reached via e-mail to [email protected].