Functional Philosophy #62: Duress & Integrity, and the Morality of Being a Firebrand

In this episode of Functional Philosophy, I answer the following questions:

1. "I'm a psychologist working for a state Correctional department, treating criminals to try and reduce their risk of re-offending. I have a male client who says that he is transgender and in a couple of months is undergoing surgery to transition. For now he is happy to be referred to as a male, but after the surgery I am assuming that will change. I am unsure what I will choose to do at that point. If I refuse to address him as female, I will likely break rapport with him and damage the therapeutic relationship. I will also surely face disciplinary action from my employer and be open to complaints that could risk deregistration as a psychologist and other legal action. If I refer to him as a female, I will be lying and lose self-respect. I considered requesting to no longer treat the client and transfer him to another psychologist, although that would also likely lead me to face disciplinary action at work and so on. Do you have any advice about how I should think about this problem to make a good decision?"

2. "I have heard you argue for firebrand objectivism by pointing to the success anti-rational firebrands in changing the culture. My take is that the effectiveness of the latter may be due to appeal to emotion, i.e. pity, guilt, etc. rather than reason. If so, the only takeaway I see is a reminder of the power of being principled, i.e. non-compromising. Am I overlooking something?"


Functional Philosophy is the show in which Objectivist philosopher Charles Tew helps you gain and strengthen the philosophical foundations required to achieve certainty, success, and happiness. If you're curious to see how Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism can bring revolutionary clarity to your life, give it a listen.