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Hi-Phi Nation

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Philosophy in story form. Hi-Phi Nation is the first story-driven, narrative podcast about philosophy. Every week we begin with compelling stories of ordinary and extraordinary human experiences, and transform them into an examination of philosophical ideas. We profile stories from war, crime, politics, religion, public health and policy, science, and history that raise philosophical questions, and we answer them with the help of contemporary academic philosophers. The aim of the show is to bring fans of the best narrative, story-driven podcasts into philosophy. The show is completely independently produced by Barry Lam, Professor at Vassar College.

Philosophy in story form. Hi-Phi Nation is the first story-driven, narrative podcast about philosophy. Every week we begin with compelling stories of ordinary and extraordinary human experiences, and transform them into an examination of philosophical ideas. We profile stories from war, crime, politics, religion, public health and policy, science, and history that raise philosophical questions, and we answer them with the help of contemporary academic philosophers. The aim of the show is to bring fans of the best narrative, story-driven podcasts into philosophy. The show is completely independently produced by Barry Lam, Professor at Vassar College.
More Information

Location:

Poughkeepsie, NY

Description:

Philosophy in story form. Hi-Phi Nation is the first story-driven, narrative podcast about philosophy. Every week we begin with compelling stories of ordinary and extraordinary human experiences, and transform them into an examination of philosophical ideas. We profile stories from war, crime, politics, religion, public health and policy, science, and history that raise philosophical questions, and we answer them with the help of contemporary academic philosophers. The aim of the show is to bring fans of the best narrative, story-driven podcasts into philosophy. The show is completely independently produced by Barry Lam, Professor at Vassar College.

Twitter:

@hiphination

Language:

English


Episodes

YOLO Apologetics

6/22/2019
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Drake coined “YOLO,” short for “you only live once” in 2011, and then later apologized for all the douchiness it subsequently engendered. But the spirit is ancient, and cross-cultural, speaking deeply to the kind of decision-making that is supposed to make for the good life. It seems to be saying that risk and spontaneity should be valued above prudence and planning. Is that true? This week we take calls from listeners about their YOLO stories. We follow two college buddies who venture into...

Duration:00:41:50

The Illusionist

6/8/2019
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Pyotr Tchaikovsky composed and conducted his final symphony in 1893. He died 9 days later, after having knowingly drunk an unboiled glass of water during a cholera epidemic. Deep into the symphony, Symphony no. 6, there is a paradoxical passage that, when played, no one will be able to hear. This is because Tchaikovsky scored it to contain a musical illusion. We uncover the mystery of why he put it there. Sound illusions reveal some of the most puzzling features of the human mind, most...

Duration:00:36:04

Uncivil Disobedience

5/25/2019
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In Australia, vegan and animal liberation activism has recently become intense and disruptive, invading farms, restaurants, and city centers. They’re doing everything from rescuing animals to blocking traffic, and occupying steakhouses. Some argue that these new activists are needlessly victimizing innocent farmers, business owners, and consumers. Others argue that the activists are only doing what’s necessary to stand up for the innocent victims of farmers, business owners, and...

Duration:00:47:40

For Women Only (pt. 2)

5/11/2019
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In the 40 years since the events at Olivia Records, gender categorization seems to pop up sporadically in the mainstream press, leading to what sociologists Laurel Westbrook and Kristen Schilt call "gender panics," and then they disappear only to emerge again at some other time. An analysis of gender panics show that people fear some gender nonconformists but seem perfectly fine with others. It turns out that one thing in particular, just one thing, causes and then quells a gender panic,...

Duration:00:47:17

For Women Only (pt. 1)

4/27/2019
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It is currently very difficult to get your gender legally changed in the U.K, That might change. In recent months, philosophers have been drafted into making complicated and contentious arguments about what it is to be a man, woman, or any other gender in the service of advancing or blocking the movement for trans-rights and recognition. In particular, it has exposed a conflict between trans-rights advocates and a certain wing of feminism, a conflict that in fact has its roots in America in...

Duration:00:51:08

Demons of Democracy

4/13/2019
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Preschool kids get their first taste of democratic participation when they vote on their class name, and democratic private schools try to display the value of democracy by making kids vote on everything, even the school budget. Does it work or do kids make terrible decisions? One diagnosis of our modern-day political problems is that too many stupid people are voting for stupid things. There are two proposed fixes; mandate that everyone vote, so as to diminish the power of ignorant and...

Duration:00:52:12

Name of God (2019)

3/30/2019
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A few days after the New Zealand Mosque massacre, Dr. Thaya Ashman heard about a woman who was too afraid to come out in public in her hijab for fear of being targeted. So Dr. Ashman had an idea to invite every person in New Zealand to wear a headscarf in public. The result was quite different from what happened in America three years ago, when a woman who tried to make a similar gesture of good will toward Muslims incurred the wrath of evangelical Christians on social media. On this...

Duration:00:52:14

The Forever War

3/16/2019
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This year will mark the 18th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, the forever war characterized by regime change, a surge, drawdowns, and then re-engagement across three Presidential administrations. We take a retrospective of the entire war, from the forgotten events of the lead-up to its total financial and moral costs to date. Journalist Douglas Wissing and Professor Neta Crawford of the Cost of War project take us through the staggering amounts of money spent on prosecuting the war...

Duration:00:47:41

No Offense

3/2/2019
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What if you could sue someone for calling you a racial slur? In the 90s, one country that always looked very similar to America decided to allow it, rolling back the rights to free speech in the interest of protecting victims of hate speech. Is the result a slippery slope to government tyranny, or a more harmonious society? The moral right to hate speech does not run as deep in the U.S. as most people believe. Only in the last 80 years of litigation and activism has it become protected. On...

Duration:00:45:53

Risky Business

2/16/2019
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How many innocent people should we be allowed to arrest and jail in order to prevent a single dangerous person from being free? The Supreme Court has refused to answer this question, but algorithms have, and many courts across the country are going with the algorithm. At different stages of the criminal justice system, computerized risk-assessment algorithms are slowly replacing bail hearings in determining who goes to jail and who goes free. This is widely seen as progressive reform, but...

Duration:00:47:21

(Bonus) The Battle over CSOCs

2/2/2019
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On this bonus episode, I go into some of the history between the LAPD police commission and the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, and feature some of the tape from the Central station CSOC protest that didn't make it into the episode, including some creepy stuff that happened toward the end of the protest. I then talk to Sarah Brayne about the possibility of using surveillance technology to monitor the police themselves. This bonus episode is a teaser of future bonus content available to Slate...

Duration:00:17:47

The Precrime Unit

1/31/2019
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Predictive policing technology is spreading across the country, and Los Angeles is the epicenter. A small group of LA activists are in a lopsided campaign against billions of dollars in city, federal, and Silicon Valley money using algorithms to predict where and when the next crime is going to occur, and even who the perpetrators are going to be. Barry embeds with the Stop LAPD Spying coalition for a week in Skid Row and investigates how state-of-the-art predictive policing programs work....

Duration:00:46:05

Season 3 Preview

1/18/2019
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After two successful seasons, philosophy in story form comes to Slate on January 31st, 2019. On Season 3, we look at stories of risk, experiments in democracy, the reality of social categories, illusions of the senses.

Duration:00:02:37

Chamber of Facts

7/23/2018
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Do people of opposing political parties believe in different facts? The mantra at the moment is that they do, because of media echo chambers, motivated reasoning, and ideological blindspots. But a more careful look reveals a different answer, with perhaps even more startling consequences. This week we follow two conservative Republicans who consumed a liberal newsfeed for two weeks, and we look at the empirical and philosophical problem of the way partisanship affects belief in facts. Guest...

Duration:00:44:44

A Night of Philosophy

6/19/2018
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Hi-Phi Nation stays overnight at the Brooklyn Public Library during the 2018 Night of Philosophy. From 7pm to 7am on a Saturday night, thousands of New Yorkers swarmed the central library for acrobats, musicians, and philosophy. Meanwhile, we present philosophy shorts about the definition of life, the nature of good and the morality of revenge, and moral relativism. At the event, producer Sandra Bertin confronts some white privilege, while Barry wanders the floors trying to get people to...

Duration:00:46:04

Willful Acts

5/30/2018
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Army veteran Jim McKelvey applied for his VA benefits and was denied for willful misconduct. Thirty years later, Julie Eldred was sent to prison for a willful violation of probation. Both challenged, both got to a Supreme Court with the promise to change the law of the land. The disease model of addiction has been litigated a handful of times in the history of American law. Every time the same issue has come up; free will. We examine this week how the issues of free will and moral...

Duration:00:55:49

Creed and Credences

5/1/2018
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Dave has been hunting for the one decisive piece of scientific evidence that will settle one of Christianity's most challenging questions. On this episode we look at two stories of people trying to reconcile their religious and empirical beliefs about the world, and hear from a philosopher whose theory says that their attempts may be futile. Guest voices include Dave Woetzel, Laura Jean Truman, and philosopher Neil Van Leeuwen. This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. Visit...

Duration:00:42:27

The Self and Survival

3/27/2018
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In ordinary life, it is usually not hard to know who you are and who you used to be. For a small group of children around the world, their knowledge seems to conflict with what modern science believes is possible. On this episode, we tell stories of unusual childhood memories to examine the nature of the self, and what needs to survive in order for a person to survive. We delve into the strange philosophy and science of personal identity, quantum physics, and belief in the afterlife. Guest...

Duration:00:43:59

Cover Me Softly

2/28/2018
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When Lori Lieberman was 19 years old, she went to a concert of a singer she didn't know, and ended up writing a poem that would become one of the greatest cover songs of all time. This week we are going to look at the art of covering in popular music, and how that art marked the conversion from a classical model of musical aesthetics to a contemporary one. Popular music in the modern era is metaphysically complex due to the fact that its listeners make very fine-grained judgments about...

Duration:00:47:16

Freedom and Hostile Design

1/23/2018
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Some acts of expression are awesome, while others suck, and one philosopher has a new theory about the difference. Using this theory as a guide, we look at some of the suckiest things that ever sucked in urban design, and the street artists and compassionate vandals who are trying to fight them. We use these stories to investigate how public spaces are becoming less free and more coercive. Guest voices include Nick Riggle, Leah Borromeo, Rowland Atkinson, Victor Callister, and Richard...

Duration:00:28:43