Peikoff 19

Here I briefly summarize Leonard Peikoff’s recent podcast. My goal here is to raise interest in the podcasts and create textual markers, not provide a substitute for Peikoff’s remarks. Peikoff also has a 20th and 21st podcast available.

Is it appropriate to purchase stock in tobacco companies, for instance? Peikoff replies that the harm of smoking depends on the context. Many items can be abused but are not inherently evil, including guns and baked goods. It’s morally fine (but not mandatory) to invest in anything that is “legitimately legal” and possible to use rationally. Offhand, I had trouble thinking of a product that is impossible to use rationally. Even drugs that are currently illegal have legitimate medical uses. Of course, it would be wrong to promote particular groups known to be immoral, such as racist groups, but there the issue is not a product but the actions of particular people.

Does divorce harm children? Peikoff points out that, while divorce is inherently difficult for children, the level of difficulty all depends on how the particular parents handle it. A bad marriage is worse than a divorce for children.

Peikoff addresses a question regarding the metaphysical versus epistemological sense of the primary of existence.

What is an “Objectivist” person? Peikoff replies that generally it’s much more important to evaluate the character of a person than whether the person is an Objectivist.

Is immortality possible? If it’s true that something cannot fundamentally come into or go out of existence, then how can the soul cease to exist? Peikoff agrees with the principle that something cannot come from nothing or fade into nothing. I’ll throw in this example: it’s possible to burn a log, in which case the log ceases to exist, but the matter of the log is transformed into heat, light, smoke, and ash. Peikoff points out that “an action can cease to exist.” Soul refers to our consciousness, a faculty that performs certain actions (specifically, the action of perceiving reality). Is it possible for the faculty of sight to go out of existence? Obviously, Peikoff points out; a person can go blind. The faculty of sight can be destroyed. Likewise, the faculty of consciousness can be destroyed.

Finally, Peikoff mentions his preferred translations for the Iliad and Antigone.