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Hi-Phi Nation podcast

Hi-Phi Nation

Hi-Phi Nation is philosophy in story-form, integrating narrative journalism with big ideas. We look at stories from everyday life, law, science, popular culture, and strange corners of human experiences that raise thought-provoking questions about things like justice, knowledge, the self, morality, and existence. We then seek answers with the help of academics and philosophers. The show is produced and hosted by Barry Lam of Vassar College.

Hi-Phi Nation is philosophy in story-form, integrating narrative journalism with big ideas. We look at stories from everyday life, law, science, popular culture, and strange corners of human experiences that raise thought-provoking questions about things like justice, knowledge, the self, morality, and existence. We then seek answers with the help of academics and philosophers. The show is produced and hosted by Barry Lam of Vassar College.

 

#57

Cannibals

In our final episode on monsters, we investigate why people who eat people are the funkiest people in the afterlife. We talk to a man who has actually eaten parts of other people, many times, about why he thinks consuming human flesh should be normalized. We then consider the age-old question of how God is supposed to resurrect a cannibal and all of his victims when most of the flesh of the victims would also be a part of the cannibal. Some of the best minds in Western philosophy and Christian theology thought about this question, including Leibniz, Aquinas, and Augustine. Co-hosted by Christina van Dyke, featuring artist and cannibal Rick Gibson and philosopher Dean Zimmerman. Sign up for Slate Plus at [slate.com/hiphiplus] (https://slate.com/hiphiplus) for ad free feeds to all Slate podcasts and unlimited reading of articles at slate.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

12 Feb 2022

37 MINS

37:46

12 Feb 2022


#56

Zombies

The second in a three-part series on monsters in philosophy. We trace the cultural history of zombies from voodoo folklore, George Romero films, and the zombies used in philosophical thought experiments. Folklore, film and philosophy seem to converge on the idea that consciousness above all else is what a creature needs to have to be worthy of moral concern, something a zombie lacks. But we have no idea when something crosses over from being a zombie to being conscious, particularly current AI systems. What happens then? Guest speakers are Christina van Dyke (Columbia), David Chalmers (NYU), and John Edgar Browning (Savannah College of Art and Design), and Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

22 Jan 2022

37 MINS

37:18

22 Jan 2022


#55

Vampires

The first in a three-part series on monsters in philosophy. We trace the cultural history of vampires from Eastern European folklore to Twilight, and even look at the practices of real vampires, people who seek out and consume blood or psychic energy. The vampire went from demon to attractive monster in the course of a few centuries and raises a deep question for us about how different we can be, the limits of human imagination, and whether we can ever reasonably choose to have a transformative experience. Guest speakers include Christina van Dyke (Columbia), Laurie Paul (Yale), and John Edgar Browning (Savannah College of Art and Design). Sign up for Slate Plus, with adfree podcasts, bonus content, and unlimited reading of Slate.com articles. Go to [slate.com/hiphiplus] (http://slate.com/hiphiplus) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

08 Jan 2022

41 MINS

41:37

08 Jan 2022


#54

Memorials

When tragedy strikes an individual, a nation, or an entire people, artists and architects are tasked with designing a public display that memorializes the event and its victims. But how do you do that? In this episode, art historian and podcaster Tamar Avishai examines the Denkmal Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, the Vietnam War Memorial in DC, and others to look at how respecting and remembering loss collides with the demands of history and politics. We look at why abstract rather than representational memorials resonate better with people in recent years, and whether memorials, no matter how well done, might lose their impact after a single generation. Guest voices include Karen Krolak, James Young, and Michael Hays. Links Listen to Tamar Avishai on [The Lonely Palette podcast] (http://www.thelonelypalette.com/episodes) Better Help- [betterhelp.com/nation] (https://www.betterhelp.com/nation) . Get 10% of your first month by clicking through on the link. Scribd- [try.scribd.com/h] (https://try.scribd.com/hiphi) [iphi] (https://scribd.com/hiphi) Slate Plus sale! Get $25 off your first year. Go to [slate.com/hiphiplus] (https://slate.com/hiphiplus) Are you a philosopher interested in a summer seminar on God and Time at Rutgers University? Apply at [godandtime.rutgers.edu] (https://godandtime.rutgers.edu) . Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

18 Dec 2021

53 MINS

53:18

18 Dec 2021


#53

Life, Edited

The first two gene-edited species meant to be introduced into the wild are currently in their final stages of approval, with trials already underway for the Oxitec mosquito, and the ESF American Chestnut. In this episode, we examine what these gene-edited species are, what they do, and how they are the beginnings of bio-engineering in the era of massive anthropocentric ecological change. We then look at the ethics of bioengineered wild species and whether they can be the solution to an imminent era of mass extinction. Guest voices include Chairman of the Florida Mosquito Control District Phil Goodman, ESF scientist Andrew Newhouse, and philosophers Evelyn Brister (RIT) and Ron Sandler (Northeastern). This episode sponsored by [betterhelp.com/nation] (https://www.betterhelp.com/nation) . Get 10% of your first month by clicking through on the link. Get this podcast ad-free and unlimited Slate.com articles for just $1 your first month and $69/year afterward. Go to [slate.com/hiphiplus] (https://slate.com/hiphiplus) . Are you a philosopher interested in a summer seminar on God and Time at Rutgers University? Apply at [godandtime.rutgers.edu. ] (https://godandtime.rutgers.edu%20) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

04 Dec 2021

44 MINS

44:56

04 Dec 2021


#52

Hi-Phi Nation Presents: Decoder Ring, The Alberta Rat War

Barry invites Willa Paskin of Slate's Decoder Ring podcast to talk about their recent episode, The Alberta Rat War, as a set up to next week's Hi-Phi Nation episode on genetic engineering. We then proceed to that episode. Rats live wherever people live, with one exception: the Canadian province of Alberta. A rat sighting in Alberta is a major event that mobilizes the local government to identify and eliminate any hint of infestation. Rat sightings makes the local news. Alberta prides itself on being the world’s sole rat-free territory, but in order to achieve this feat, it had to go to war with the rat. On this episode of Decoder Ring, we recount the story of how Alberta won this war, through accidents of history and geography, advances in poison technology, interventionist government policy, mass education programs, rat patrols, killing zones, and more. The explanation tells us a lot about rats and a lot about humans, two species that are more alike than we like to think. Some of the voices you’ll hear in this episode include Karen Wickerson, [rat and pest program specialist] (https://www.alberta.ca/albertas-rat-control-program.aspx) with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; Robert Sullivan, author of [Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants] (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1582344779/?tag=slatmaga-20) ; Phil Merrill, former rat and pest specialist; George Colpitts, [historian at the University of Calgary;] (https://hist.ucalgary.ca/profiles/george-colpitts) and John Bourne, former manager of Alberta’s rat control program. Decoder Ring is a podcast about cracking cultural mysteries. Every episode, host Willa Paskin takes on a cultural question, object, idea, or habit and speaks with experts, historians, and obsessives to try and figure out where it comes from, what it means, and why it matters. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

27 Nov 2021

44 MINS

44:12

27 Nov 2021


#51

The Selfless Kidney Donor

Penny Lane gave up months of wages and weeks of her life to have her kidney cut out and given to someone she never knew, and who may never thank her. She is one of about 200 people in the US a year who give up a kidney altruistically. What motivates someone to do that? Evolutionary psychologist Michael McCullough believes that not only is there true altruism amongst the human species, but that it is a unique trait, an emerging and spreading trait, and it is selected for by evolution, even out-competing the more familiar traits of selfishness that drive evolution in other species. And the trait is responsible for moral progress in the world. Barry is skeptical, and calls friend of the show Kieran Setiya to talk him out of his skepticism, only to discover that, in many ways, humans are even worse than he thought. We may have evolved to demand altruism from others, but not be altruistic ourselves. This episode brought you by Scribd and Inkl. Get an enormous library of books, magazines, podcasts, and audiobooks. Try Scribd for 60 days free. [try.scribd.com/h] (https://try.scribd.com/hiphi) [iphi] (https://scribd.com/hiphi) Unlock reliable news sources from their paywalled sites, The Economist, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, and 100 more, a $12,000 annual value for just $75 the first year. Go to [inkl.com/philosophy] (https://inkl.com/philosophy) to get this deal. [God and the Space-time Manifold] (http://godandtime.rutgers.edu) is a summer seminar at Rutgers Center for the Philosophy of Religion June 13-24th, 2022. Twelve philosophers will lead discussions about God and the philosophy of time. They are looking for applicants. All professional philosophers and graduate students qualify. Sign up for [Slate Plus] (https://slate.com/hiphiplus) , to receive ad-free version of this podcast and unlimited access to Slate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

20 Nov 2021

45 MINS

45:43

20 Nov 2021


#50

The Man of Many Worlds IV

David Lewis steps off a plane from Australia in 2000 and falls seriously ill. In the final year of his life, he decides to take on Christianity, but does not live long enough to write a paper, leaving only his notes. His longtime friend Philip Kitcher turns the notes into Lewis' final piece on the evil of the Christian God. In our final episode of the series, we look at the philosophy of religion and examine the lasting legacy of David Lewis. Guest voices include Steffi Lewis, Ellen Lewis, Donald Lewis, Alan Hajek, John Bigelow, Frank Jackson, Anthony Fischer, Helen Beebe, and Meghan Sullivan. The remaining episodes of Season 5 will be released bi-weekly from here on out. To support Hi-Phi Nation, [please sign up for Slate Plus at www.slate.com/hiphiplus] (https://slate.com/hiphiplus/) . Slate Plus members get to listen to every Slate podcast with no ads and bypass the paywall on Slate.com. For a limited time only, you can get $25 off your first year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

06 Nov 2021

41 MINS

41:39

06 Nov 2021


#49

The Man of Many Worlds III

In 1968, David Lewis decides that one truth can unify every theory he's had about the nature of the universe. It is the truth that every possible world is equally real. Lewis not only argues for this view, but devises a distinctive way of arguing for it, a method of doing philosophy that is as influential as his views. Meanwhile, a soon-to-be colleague and rival, Saul Kripke, reads Lewis' paper and fires off eight objections, and on the other side of the world, an entire continent becomes enamored with the life and works of David Kellogg Lewis, an admiration that survives to this day. Guest voices include Frank Jackson, Alan Hajek, John Bigelow, Helen Beebe, Anthony Fischer, Peter Anstey, and David Lewis. This episode brought to you by Betterhelp, online therapy and counseling. Get 10% of your first month and support this show by going to [betterhelp.com/nation/] (https://www.betterhelp.com/nation/) This episode is brought you by Scribd, for ebooks, sheet music, podcasts, and magazines. Get a free 60-trial to the entire library at [https://try.scribd.com/hiphi] (https://try.scribd.com/hiphi) To support Hi-Phi Nation, [please sign up for Slate Plus at www.slate.com/hiphiplus] (https://slate.com/hiphiplus/) . Slate Plus members get to listen to every Slate podcast with no ads and bypass the paywall on Slate.com. For a limited time only, you can get $25 off your first year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

30 Oct 2021

50 MINS

50:36

30 Oct 2021


#48

The Man of Many Worlds II

What was David Lewis like as a person? The consensus is that he did not know how to converse. At Swarthmore, David Lewis discovers he has a knack for philosophy and none at all with women, leading to a lifelong examination of the norms for conversation. By the time he reaches Harvard, he is ready to meet the love of his life, but almost fails out of the program in the process. By the end of his Harvard days, an entire continent on the other side of the Earth is abuzz about a rising star. Guest voices include Steffi Lewis, Alan Hajek, Lise Menn, Frank Jackson, and John Bigelow, This episode brought to you by Betterhelp, online therapy and counseling. Get 10% of your first month and support this show by going to [betterhelp.com/nation/] (https://www.betterhelp.com/nation/) To support Hi-Phi Nation, [please sign up for Slate Plus at www.slate.com/hiphiplus] (https://slate.com/hiphiplus/) . Slate Plus members get to listen to every Slate podcast with no ads and bypass the paywall on Slate.com. For a limited time only, you can get $25 off your first year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

23 Oct 2021

42 MINS

42:10

23 Oct 2021


#47

The Man of Many Worlds I

David Lewis was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, who few outside of academia know much about. By the time of his death in 2001, he was the greatest systematic thinker in metaphysics since the Enlightenment. In Part 1 of a four-part series, we follow his journey from sick little boy in Oberlin, Ohio to teenager learning about free will from Iris Murdoch. We accompany the story of his early life with his theory of time, time travel, and the self. Guest voices include R. Jay Wallace, Mark Schroeder, Steffi Lewis, Donald Lewis, Ellen Lewis, Alan Hajek, John Bigelow, and Meghan Sullivan. To support Hi-Phi Nation, [please sign up for Slate Plus at www.slate.com/hiphiplus] (https://slate.com/hiphiplus/) . Slate Plus members get to listen to every Slate podcast with no ads and bypass the paywall on Slate.com. For a limited time only, you can get $25 off your first year. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

16 Oct 2021

45 MINS

45:04

16 Oct 2021


#46

Hi-Phi Nation Presents: Into the Zone (When We Were Cyber)

Barry updates listeners on what to expect in Season 5 of the show, currently in production. In the meantime, he introduces you to [Into the Zone] (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/into-the-zone/id1521535384) , a Pushkin podcast by writer Hari Kunzru. This episode is about the time Hari was in philosophy graduate school in the 90s and attended an early conference about cyberculture that leads him to visit philosopher Manuel DeLanda. Subscribe to [Into the Zone on Apple podcasts] (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/into-the-zone/id1521535384) , or wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

21 Oct 2020

49 MINS

49:22

21 Oct 2020


#45

Justice and Retribution

A woman spends 40 years in and out of prison for shoplifting and finally gets a break from a judge in her late 50s. She uses the opportunity to abolish a jail and transform her city. This week we look at prison abolition and the arguments for eliminating all punishment from the system. From the denial that we have free will, to the view that perpetuating injustice disqualifies the state from punishing, we look at whether any of us have the right to punish anyone else, and question the very purpose of the criminal justice system. Guest voices include Marilynn Winn, Gregg Caruso, Michael S. Moore, Erin Kelly, and Kimberly Kessler Ferzan. In Slate Plus, Barry speaks to Kimberly Kessler Ferzan about separating the criminal justice system into two distinct institutions, one dedicated to retributive punishment, and one dedicated to crime prevention. Why should there be two systems and what would be involved in separating them? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

27 Jun 2020

55 MINS

55:22

27 Jun 2020


#44

The Loophole

Two men committed a double murder in rural Maine in 1990. Only one pulled the trigger. The state prosecutor decided to try them separately, but that was a mistake, and both were acquitted. Then the Feds came in, and sentenced one man to life in prison for a crime he was already acquitted of doing. How is this possible in America? The answer is a loophole in criminal law. Today we examine that loophole by looking at the Thanksgiving Day murders in Maine, and the constitutional challenges this loophole has survived over the years. Guest voices include Sharon Mack, Gerald Leonard of Boston University Law, Judge Frederic Block, State Senator Todd Kaminsky, and Matthew Noah Smith of Northeastern University. In Slate Plus, Barry talks to Matthew Noah Smith of Northeastern University and Mark Schroeder of USC on whether John Rawl's distinction between procedural and substantive justice can help tell us whether and why the practice of sentencing on unconvicted conduct is just or unjust. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

13 Jun 2020

43 MINS

43:35

13 Jun 2020


#43

Punishment without End

A teen-aged girl gets caught with a suitcase stuffed with powdered cocaine, and she comes before a federal judge. That judge learns that a felony conviction carries punishments for life for her. He embarks on a mission to get all other judges to shorten prison sentences in light of this. Meanwhile, a researcher learns of a pervasive but secretive practice where prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges skirt the truth to protect defendants from unjust harsh punishments imposed on them from lawmakers. This week we look at collateral consequences, the thousands of laws restricting the freedoms and opportunities of the formerly convicted, like voting, housing, job opportunities, government benefits, and deportation. One philosophers believes many of these are permanent punishments, not civil measures for reducing risk. Guest voices include Judge Frederic Block, philosopher Zachary Hoskins, and legal scholar Thea Johnson. In Slate Plus, Judge Block gives his opinions about mandatory minimum sentencing and prosecutorial immunity. Zachary Hoskins distinguishes between two different principles of proportionality in sentencing, and Thea Johnson talks about why fictional pleas give prosecutors more power, even though they benefit defendants. To get the full bonus episode of Hi-Phi Nation, sign up for Slate Plus at [slate.com/hiphiplus] (http://www.slate.com/hiphiplus) . Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

06 Jun 2020

56 MINS

56:47

06 Jun 2020


#42

Redemption in the DDU

Erick Williams tells the story of how one bad night in the chow hall got him into solitary confinement at Walpole. The path out of solitary, and eventually out of prison, took another decade.  On this episode, we look at the unique power of the Department of Corrections to do with prisoners what they will at their discretion. Philosopher Lisa Guenther tells the history of solitary in America, and the conceptions of the self that drive its continued use. We end with an examination of what the experiences of solitary say about the nature of human experiences of time, purpose, and connection with other humans. Guest voices include Erick Williams, Lisa Guenther, Lisa Newman-Polk, and Jamie Eldridge. In Slate Plus, Barry and Lisa Newman-Polk tell the story of Eugene Ivey, who spent 13 years is solitary, was paroled, but is still locked up on charges inside the Massachusetts prison system. To get the bonus episode and an ad-free feed of all Slate podcast, sign up at [www.slate.com/hiphiplus] (http://www.slate.com/hiphiplus) . Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

30 May 2020

51 MINS

51:57

30 May 2020


#41

Gender Justice

On this episode, we look at feminist and progressive prosecution; how does a prosecutor balance the aims of prosecuting more gender-based crimes while also being sensitive to the problems of mass incarceration? We look at the story of one Maine prosecutor who is winning victories in sexual assault cases that were once deemed unwinnable, and whether this lowers the bar of burden of proof to unjust levels for gender crimes. Finally, we look at how one study in 1984 started a 40-year trend in mandatory arrest policies for domestic violence, and how these policies have backfired for the communities those policies were meant to protect. Guest voices include Natasha Irving, Michelle Madden Dempsey, Aya Gruber, and Lawrence Sherman. In Slate Plus, Sarah Lustbader and Barry talk about whether the adversarial system of prosecution and defense makes the criminal justice system a bad way to pursue improvements in gender relations and reduce gender-based crime. Get the Slate Plus bonus episode by signing up at [www.slate.com/hiphiplus] (http://www.slate.com/hiphiplus) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit [megaphone.fm/adchoices] (https://megaphone.fm/adchoices) ... Read more

23 May 2020

57 MINS

57:38

23 May 2020