Join us for the next webcast of Philosophy in Action, broadcast live this Sunday, 13 May 2012, at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. In this week's hour of applying rational principles to the problems of life, we'll answer questions on self-destructive pleasures, privacy in a high-tech society, pushy fundraising, browsing locally, buying online, and more. In the meantime, don't forget to submit and vote on questions for upcoming webcasts!

This Week's Webcast

On Sunday mornings, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh answers questions on the application of rational principles to the challenges of living a virtuous, happy, and free life in a live webcast. The hour-long webcast starts every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. During the broadcast, Diana is on video, Greg is on audio, and the audience is in a text-based chat.

Question 1: Self-Destructive Pleasures

It is wrong to pursue self-destructive pleasures? Suppose that you know that drinking to excess is not good for your mind or body, but you want to enjoy the oblivion of drunkeness. Or perhaps you know that sleeping with your ex-girlfriend is a very bad idea, but you want the pleasure of sex with a warm body. Is it wrong to pursue these pleasures, if you're willing to accept their destructive consequences?

Question 2: Privacy in a High-Tech Society

Do you have the right to privacy with respect to information that I can gather about you from observation of you while I'm on my own property? For instance, if I have technology that allows me to gather photons or sound waves that you emit from your property while I'm sitting on my property next door, can I post that information onto YouTube or Facebook? For example, imagine that I have an infrared video of your activities emitted through your bedroom wall or the audio of your personal phone conversation that can be detected by sensitive microphones from 100 yards away. Have I violated your rights by gathering and publicizing information you've chosen to allow to be broadcast to anyone who can detect it with the right equipment?

Question 3: Pushy Fundraising

How should I respond to the constant demands to contribute to fundraisers from my child's school? I am barraged with "requests" for contributions to school fundraisers. This week, for example, each student in the band is asked to put together a "buddy bag" with sweets (against my views), a toy (more plastic junk to fill the landfills), and a gift (I can't afford that). Every week, there's another fundraiser, for which parents asked to spend their money on things they don't value or aren't a fair value. Should I refuse these requests – and if so, how should I do so?

Question 4: Browsing Locally, Buying Online

Is it wrong to browse in a local store but then buy online? Suppose that you shop for an item in a brick-and-mortar store, taking advantage of the opportunity to browse and get recommendations for staff, but then make your purchases at a discounted online retailer – for example, browsing through a local bookstore but then buying from Amazon at a lower price. Is that wrong or unfair?

Rapid Fire Questions

In this segment, Greg asks Diana random questions from the Rapid Fire Queue. She answers totally impromptu, without any preparation.

About the Webcast

In the week before the webcast, Diana selects four of the most popular and interesting questions from the ongoing queue of questions. (Connect with us if you want to see them in advance!) After answering those questions in the live webcast, everyone has a bit of fun as Diana answers a round of impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

If you can't attend the live webcast, you can listen to it later as audio-only podcast by subscribing to the Philosophy in Action Podcast RSS Feed:

You can also peruse the Webcast Archives, listening to whole episodes or just individual questions. The archives are sorted by date and by topic.

We hope that you'll join the live webcast, because that's more lively and engaging than the podcast. People talk merrily in the chat while watching the webcast. Diana and Greg enjoy the immediate feedback of a live audience – the funny quips, serious comments, and follow-up questions. So please join the live webcast when you can!

Also, Diana blogs about a variety of topics – including announcements and follow-up posts for Philosophy in Action – on her blog NoodleFood. (Greg blogs there occasionally too.) You can subscribe to the feed here: NoodleFood RSS Feed.

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