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.
On Sunday, 29 January 2012, I broadcast
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The Podcast: Episode: 29 January 2012
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The Segments: Episode: 29 January 2012
The following segments are marked as chapters in the M4A version of the podcast. Thanks to Tammy Perkins for helping compile the show notes!
Unfortunately, I’ve been distracted by the WTFuffles this week. However, since the matter is of little significance to me, and I’ll be focusing on my real work this upcoming week, and I encourage others to do the same. Also, remember that SnowCon 2012 will be March 15th to 18th in mountains of Colorado.
Question 1: Being Pragmatic (5:51)
What’s wrong with being pragmatic? My dictionary defines being pragmatic as “dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.” What’s wrong with that, if anything? Is that the same as “pragmatism”?
My Answer, In Brief: Pragmatism is a philosophic view that rejects thinking long-range and on-principle in favor of short-term expediency. However, many people just use the term to mean “practical,” and others are honestly confused by all the bad theories and principles rampant in the culture.
Question 2: Feigning Indifference to Attract a Man (22:12)
Should I act uninterested in a man to attract him? One common theme in romance advice is that a woman should act aloof and unattainable in order to attract a man or to get him to commit to a relationship. Is that dishonest? Is it counterproductive?
My Answer, In Brief: It’s wrong to make people into conquests in romance. If you do, the kind of person that you’ll attract is not the kind of person that you’ll want to be with. And you’ll not be the kind of person that a good person will want to be with.
Question 3: Ignosticism Versus Atheism (28:57)
Should rational people describe themselves as “ignostics” rather than “atheists”? By rational principles, no cognitive consideration should be given to arbitrary assertions. Since the concept of God is invariably a floating abstraction and incoherent in its definition, shouldn’t the claim that God exists be dismissed as arbitrary and invalid – rather than being answered in the negative? If so, shouldn’t rational people describe themselves as ignostics? In contrast to atheism, ignosticism is “[the] view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed. Furthermore, if that definition is unfalsifiable, the ignostic takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of God (per that definition) is meaningless.” [Wikipedia]
My Answer, In Brief: “Atheism,” not “ignosticism,” is the proper name to describe a person who reject the claim that God exists, and that’s justified not only by the failure of the arguments for the existence of God, but also God’s impossible qualities.
Question 4: Explaining Atheism (39:36)
How can I effectively explain my atheism to religious believers? When I discuss religion with believers – mostly Christians – I find that I can’t easily explain why I don’t believe in God. Should I appeal to the principle of the “primacy of existence”? Should I explain the problems with the arguments for the existence of God? Or should I try a different approach?
My Answer, In Brief: The best way to discuss the reasons for rejecting belief in God depend on the context, particularly whether you are explaining your own views or trying to convince the other person. Either way, be patient and try to speak to their rational concerns.
Rapid Fire Questions (57:59)
In this segment, I answered a variety of questions off-the-cuff. The questions were:
- Why did you and Paul choose to live in Colorado?
- Recently, Tim Thomas decided not to attend the Bruins trip to the White House. If you were a part of a team going to the White House, would you attend? What if you were personally invited to the White House?
- What is your opinion of the OPEN Act as an alternative to SOPA and PIPA?
- How can we start an American philosophical revolution that encourages students to value freedom, independent thinking, and rational egoism rather than altruism and egalitarianism?
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