Peikoff’s Seventh Podcast

Leonard Peikoff released his seventh podcast today. Following is my brief review of the discussion (which again should not be taken as a substitute for the podcast).

1. Mother Teresa would not have been happy at a Fortune 500 company; does this show that productive work is not necessarily one’s proper, primary purpose?

Peikoff first discusses the value of productive work as a means to sustain one’s self and contribute to one’s happiness; it is not itself the “primary purpose” of ethics. Nor does productive work guarantee happiness; it should be a part of a whole set of consistent values. Moreover, one cannot judge the happiness of a person from superficial appearances or statements.

A point that I was thinking of, but that Peikoff does not make, is that working for a Fortune 500 company is not necessary for productive work. For example, The Fountainhead offers examples of artists who do the work that they love, even if it means a reduced income.

2. Is it a “moral crime” to purchase the works of an artist who at some level opposes one’s core values? Peikoff answers, “it depends.”

3. What is the difference between the terms “hate” and “despise?” Hatred involves an element of fear.

4. Are various rules, such as mandatory auto insurance, legitimate for government-owned roads? Peikoff replies that roads should be privately owned, but, so long as they are run by the government, the government must set (and we should follow) various rules.

5. What’s a good dictionary? Peikoff likes the Random House College dictionary for regular use, and the Oxford dictionary for more philosophical work.