On Sunday, 15 April 2012, I broadcast a new episode of my live Philosophy in Action Webcast, where I answer questions on the application of rational principles to the challenges of living a virtuous, happy, and free life in a live, hour-long webcast. The webcast is broadcast live every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. In the webcast, I broadcast on video, Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers is on audio, and the audience is in a text chat.
As usual, if you can’t attend the live webcast, you can listen to it later as audio-only podcast by subscribing to the NoodleCast RSS Feed:
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We hope that you’ll join the live webcast, because that’s more lively and engaging than the podcast. People talk merrily in the text chat while watching the webcast. Greg and I 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!
The Podcast: Episode: 15 April 2012
- Subscribe to the Enhanced M4A Feed in iTunes or in your RSS reader
- Subscribe to the Standard MP3 Feed in iTunes or in your RSS reader
The following segments are marked as chapters in the M4A version of the podcast. Thanks to Tammy Perkins for helping compile the show notes!
I’ve been busy working on transferring NoodleFood over to WordPress on Philosophy in Action. It’s still a work in progress!
When is it moral to break the law? Laws should be written to protect individual rights. Unfortunately, many laws today violate rights. When should I abide by a rights-violating law, and when is it proper to break it?
My Answer, In Brief: A person does not have any moral obligation to submit to violations of his rights. However, the proper course – whether complying with the law, breaking the law overtly, or breaking the law covertly – depends on the particulars of the situation. Mostly, get legal advice first!
Where is the line between justice and vigilantism? When is it moral to take the law into your own hands – meaning pursuing, detaining, and/or punishing criminals as a private citizen? Suppose that you know – without a shadow of a doubt – that some person committed a serious crime against you or a loved one. If the justice system cannot punish the person due to some technicality, is it wrong for you to do so? If you’re caught, should a judge or jury punish you, as if you’d committed a crime against an innocent person?
My Answer, In Brief: The vigilante is not an agent of justice, but a threat to innocents and to the foundations of civilized society.
- “The Objectivist Ethics” in The Virtue of Selfishness
Should “stealing valor” be a crime? Rencently, a man was arrested by the FBI in Houston and charged with “stolen valor.” This is the charge made against someone who falsely poses as a decorated soldier. Is it proper to make this a crime? Why or why not?
My Answer, In Brief: Undoubtedly, “stealing valor” is reprehensible, but not everything reprehensible should be a crime. The legal response to “stealing valor” ought to be the same as for other kinds of credentials fraud, whether protect speech, civil fraud, or criminal fraud.
- Facebook: Discussion of Stolen Valor
- Criminal Fraud by Ellen Podgor
- Criminalizing Lying about Heroism by James Joyner
- Ninth Circuit: Lying About Military Honors Is Protected Speech by Doug Mataconis
- The Atlantic: Why It’s Criminal to Lie About Military Honors
- Knowingly False Statements of Fact and the First Amendment by Eugene Volokh
- Emotional Distress, Knowing Lies, Xavier Alvarez, Warren Spahn, and the Bronze Star by Eugene Volokh
What should a businessman do if he decides that his product or service is not really good? More specifically, what should a businessman do if he’s rises up in the business world on promoting a particular product or service, only to learn decades into the ventures that there are better alternatives? As a fictional example, let’s take a mattress manufacturer CEO. He has spent decades of his life trying to make the most comfortable mattresses possible, but then read scientific studies that concludes that there is no healthier sleeping surface than the solid floor, and in using his honest judgment he agrees. Being so high up and so long involved in the mattress world, what are the moral range of options for him?
My Answer, In Brief: Morality in business does not requires producing optimal products, but only good products for honest trade. In this case, the businessman has a range of options, including some moral pitfalls to avoid.
- Philosophy in Action: Overcoming Perfectionism
In this segment, I answered a variety of questions off-the-cuff. The questions were:
- Why are vigilante movies so popular?
- How is a citizen’s arrest different from vigilantism?
- Is there a lower threshold for when it’s okay to break a regulation?
- Given the lack of Antonin Scalia’s “New Professionalism” in police action, is the exclusionary rule is an important safeguard?
- If a government actor has ruined your life unjustly is vengeance a moral option?
- Is moral perfection a habit and if so is it one of yours?
- Must a political candidate be chosen by conflating him/her with the party they happen to be running under, or is it reasonable to select a candidate but not agree with the party they run under?
- Where does Ayn Rand talk about a “central purpose” – and what does she mean by it?
Comments or questions? Contact us!
- Diana Hsieh: Philosophy in Action: [email protected]
- Greg Perkins: Objectivist Answers: [email protected]
The Philosophy in Action Webcast is available to anyone, free of charge. We love doing it, but it’s not free for us to produce: it requires our time, effort, and money. So if you enjoy and value what we’re doing, please contribute to the webcast’s tip jar!
Thank you, if you’ve contributed to the webcast! You make our work possible every week, and we’re so grateful for that! Also, whether you’re able to contribute financially or not, we always appreciate your helping us spread the word about this webcast to anyone you think might be interested, as well as submitting and voting on questions for upcoming webcasts.