Do we have a right to try to convince people to abandon demonstrably false, or socially harmful, opinions? Clearly we have no right to force them, but do we have the right to criticize their opinions and try and get them to engage with reality or with other human beings? Conversely, do people have a duty to adopt true beliefs whenever they have the opportunity to do so knowingly?

I'm not sure about the rights language here but I can't imagine that there would be anything amiss with trying to dissuade someone of the notion that the earth is flat or that 2+2=5. As for adopting true beliefs, I'm not sure that we are put together so that we can choose my beliefs. If I know something to be true it would seem to imply that I believe it. But to be sure, there are a wide range of issues and some of the most important in life, in which what is true and false are beyond definitive proof.

Is there anything wrong with marrying for money?

Maybe the person who is marrying for money is really married to money already. While I can understand how one could fall in love with money, I don't think it is a good strategy for happiness and to use the old Kantian language, you would certainly be using your spouse -to-be purely as a means to an end. Now, if you confided to that person that you would not want to marry them were it not for their$, then perhaps that would be something different. But you certainly couldn't honestly promise to love him or her. In most cases, there would be a lot wrong in marrying for money.

Why do mainstream listeners find it difficult to consider extreme metal music (e.g. death metal, black metal, etc) aesthetically pleasing? Some forms of progressive death metal (e.g. bands like Opeth) do an excellent job of balancing truly 'beautiful' and 'sublime' elements. Can it be, that due to an aversion on worldview level, people do not recognize the aesthetic elements?

I listen to all types of music but have a hard time with the screaming in extreme metal. It just jangles my nerves. But it is true, I think, that certain life perspectives could render it difficult to detect the beauty in certain types of music. For instance, I imagine that people with a particular view, would not find it easy to grasp the beauty of some of Tupac's songs. Opinion and prejudice definitely influence our aesthetic sensibilities.

I'm a psychology student with a question about ethics: Is empathy ESSENTIAL to morality. Could a person without the capacity for empathy still be a morally good person? (Note that I am not asking whether empathy is morally useful.) Psychopaths are often described as lacking empathy, and this is often offered up as an explanation for their immoral behavior, so one might be tempted to use them as evidence that empathy is necessary for morality. This, however, strikes me as a bit fast and loose because in addition to emotional deficiencies, psychopaths also show a remarkable lack or underdevelopment of practical reason. It may also be worth asking whether empathy can be used in immoral ways. A skilled torturer, for instance, might be a more effective torturer if she or he can accurately channel, measure, and thus manipulate the emotional pain of a victim. Or con artists may use empathy to better read a mark, and so on. One might counter that when we empathize, we further react with some degree of care or...

What a rich question! Could a person without empathy be a morally good person? I suppose the old moralist Kant would say so. Hume, of course, would go in the opposite direction. It is, I guess, conceivable that such an individual might avoid all forms of transgressions, maybe even lead a saintly life. But conceivable is about it. I would think there was something wrong with an individual who could witness say the slaughter of Rwanda and not feel anything. Such an individual would certainly be classified as suffering from a psychological disorder. Putting the "morally" good life aside, we might press, could a person devoid of fellow feeling lead a good life? I don't think so. They would be missing out on what it means to be a human being. As for the dark side of empathy, it is true that empathy might lead us to unjust deeds and judgements, but the misuse of empathy is no argument against empathy itself.

Is it wrong to profit off someone else's misfortune, even if your profit doesn't make them any worse? Suppose a hurricane hits a nearby town. If I travel to that town and sell batteries at a 300% markup, I can make a lot of money off of their misery, but I didn't cause them any misery. Is that still exploitation?

It depends upon what you mean by wrong. It certainly would not be a sign that you were a virtuous individual if a hurricane struck and you were filled with glee because of some of the products that you could sell them. A few decades ago, I was working as a Fuller Brush salesman in Florida. After a hurricane hit us, my supervisor was all pumped up about all the sales we could make. I found that attitude a mite sickening. And expecting people to pay in full for something when their home and life savings may have literally been washed away would seem a little stone hearted. On the other hand, I can imagine circumstances in which you were helping disaster victims and making a buck at the same time and there would not seem to be anything immoral about. Suppose you were re-building roads that had been washed out. As is often the case, it would all depend on the particulars and the individuals atttitude - unless, of course, you have been persuaded by Utilitarianism. Thanks. GM