Philosophy in Action Sunday Radio: Biological Parents, Rational Animals, and More

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Diana Hsieh

Jun 30, 2012, 1:29:51 PM6/30/12
In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I will
answer questions on knowing your biological parents, second-hand
smoke, changing core beliefs with age, man the rational animal, and
more with Greg Perkins. Don't miss this engaging hour-long discussion
of applying rational principles to the challenges of real life at!

* What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio Show
* Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
* When: Sunday, 1 July 2012 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
* Where:

This week's questions are:

* Question 1: Knowing Your Biological Parents: Do adopted people have
a right to know who their biological parents are? Some adopted people
want to know their biological parents, and knowing one's family
medical history could be important to a person. So does a person have
a right to know his biological parents? If so, does that apply to
children conceived with sperm or egg donors? Do parents giving
children up for adoption or donating reproductive tissue have a right
to privacy?

* Question 2: Second-hand Smoke: It is wrong to inflict second-hand
smoke on other people? Although smoking is detrimental to a person's
health, whether or not someone smokes is (or should be) a matter of
his personal choice. However, what is the proper moral and legal
status of "second-hand smoke"? If second-hand smoke contributes to the
development of respiratory diseases or if others simply find it
noxious, shouldn't people refrain from smoking in public or smoking
around people who haven't consented to it? In a free society, would
and should most workplaces ban smoking? Could second-hand smoke be
considered a tort, such that the state should forbid smoking around
people who object to it?

* Question 3: Changing Core Beliefs with Age: Why are older people
less likely to change their core beliefs? Recently, I had a
conversation with a long-time committed leftist who "blinked" when
confronted with the fact that collectivism always fails, and it fails
because the underlying theory is wrong in principle. Many people,
particularly older people, are unwilling to reconsider their core
views, however. As to the reason why, my hypothesis is that older
people have significant sunk costs in their philosophy, such that they
could not psychologically survive the realization that they were so
wrong for so many decades. Is that right? If so, what can be done to
help them change for the better, if anything?

* Question 4: Man the Rational Animal: What does it mean to say that
"man is a rational animal"? The fact that man is a rational animal
distinguishes him from all other living entities and makes the whole
of philosophy possible and necessary. But, taking a step back, what
does it mean to say that man is a (or the) rational animal? What is
rationality, not as a virtue, but as the essential characteristic of

After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other
listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat. If you
miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio recording of the whole
episode, as well as individual questions, posted to the episode's
archive page:

From that page, you can post comments on the questions before or after
the broadcast.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts live every Wednesday evening and
Sunday morning. Take a peek at the Episodes on Tap -- -- for the scoop on upcoming

In the meantime...

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* Peruse the Q&A Radio Archives:
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I hope that you'll join us on Sunday morning!

-- Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy)
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