53 episodes

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 Slate Magazine

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 425 Ratings

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.

    The ethics of transgenic species being released into the wild.

    The ethics of transgenic species being released into the wild.

    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. 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.
    Are you a philosopher interested in a summer seminar on God and Time at Rutgers University? Apply at godandtime.rutgers.edu.
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    • 44 min
    Hi-Phi Nation Presents: Decoder Ring, The Alberta Rat War

    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 with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; Robert Sullivan, author of Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants; Phil Merrill, former rat and pest specialist; George Colpitts, historian at the University of Calgary; 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.
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    • 44 min
    The Selfless Kidney Donor

    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.
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    God and the Space-time Manifold 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.
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    • 45 min
    The Man of Many Worlds IV

    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. 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.
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    • 41 min
    The Man of Many Worlds III

    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/
    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
    To support Hi-Phi Nation, please sign up for Slate Plus at www.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.
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    • 50 min
    The Man of Many Worlds II

    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/
    To support Hi-Phi Nation, please sign up for Slate Plus at www.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.
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    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
425 Ratings

425 Ratings

Peanuts2222222 ,

Great!

The David Lewis mini-series is especially good!

antnyc(m) ,

Excellent!

Justice, ethics, and political philosophy at its best

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