Hi-Phi Nation

Hi-Phi Nation

www.hiphination.org
A philosophy podcast that turns stories into ideas.


Justice and Retribution
Jun 27 • 54 min
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…
The Loophole
Jun 13 • 43 min
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…
Punishment without End
Jun 6 • 56 min
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…
Redemption in the DDU
May 30 • 51 min
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…
Gender Justice
May 23 • 57 min
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…
The Informant
May 16 • 52 min
This week we go inside investigative operations in NYPD internal affairs and in the war and drugs to look at the police use of discretion to selectively break laws in order to pursue the bad guys. One former FBI special agent turned political philosopher…
Police Discretion
May 9 • 51 min
Is a mobile home a home or a car? Is a car parked inside a home part of the home? The answer to these stoner philosophical questions determine the scope of police power. Over the last 100 years, the Supreme Court has presided over the expansion of police…
Hi-Phi Nation Plus: Mens Rea versus Moral Luck
May 2 • 21 min
In this Slate Plus segment, Barry is joined by Sarah Lustbader to discuss the issues raised in Episode 1: Criminal Minds. Sarah expresses skepticism about the significance of mens rea in ordinary prosecution of street crimes, Barry uses the opportunity to…
Criminal Minds
May 2 • 55 min
One place where law and morality are supposed to agree is that there should be no crime without a criminal mind, what is called “mens rea” in criminal law. But there have been a proliferation of crimes that do not require knowledge or intent, contributing…
Sponsored: Delivering Extraordinary Experiences with Customer Experience Expert Liliana Petrova
Apr 16 • 30 min
When it comes to closing a deal, generating client referrals, or getting repeat business, understanding how to elevate the customer’s experience can make all the difference, and can often be a philosophical approach. So how do you go above and beyond to…
Season 4: Crime and Punishment (Trailer)
Apr 11 • 3 min
From writing criminal laws to rights denied to the formerly incarcerated, every single stage of the criminal justice system runs on unquestioned assumptions about right and wrong, responsibility and excuse, freedom, protection, and discretionary…
YOLO Apologetics
Jun 22, 2019 • 43 min
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…
The Illusionist
Jun 8, 2019 • 37 min
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…
Uncivil Disobedience
May 25, 2019 • 49 min
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…
For Women Only (pt. 2)
May 11, 2019 • 48 min
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…
For Women Only (pt. 1)
Apr 27, 2019 • 51 min
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…
Demons of Democracy
Apr 13, 2019 • 53 min
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…
Name of God (2019)
Mar 30, 2019 • 54 min
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…
The Forever War
Mar 16, 2019 • 49 min
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…
No Offense
Mar 2, 2019 • 47 min
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…
Risky Business
Feb 16, 2019 • 49 min
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…
(Bonus) The Battle over CSOCs
Feb 2, 2019 • 17 min
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…
The Precrime Unit
Jan 31, 2019 • 47 min
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…
Season 3 Preview
Jan 18, 2019 • 2 min
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. Learn more about your ad choices.…
Chamber of Facts
Jul 23, 2018 • 46 min
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…
A Night of Philosophy
Jun 19, 2018 • 48 min
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…
Willful Acts
May 30, 2018 • 57 min
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…
Creed and Credences
May 1, 2018 • 44 min
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…
The Self and Survival
Mar 27, 2018 • 46 min
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…
Cover Me Softly
Feb 28, 2018 • 49 min
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…
Freedom and Hostile Design
Jan 23, 2018 • 29 min
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…
Drowned at Sea
Dec 19, 2017 • 30 min
In the process of preparing to testify in a divorce case, Brian had to study one of the strangest books he had ever come across, where religion, mathematics, and the apocalypse intersect. This week, we look at how a religious cult of number worshipers on…
The Ethics Bowl
Nov 28, 2017 • 50 min
High school students from around the country converge on the University of North Carolina for a weekend of moral dilemmas. We follow twenty-four of the nation’s top ethics teams competing in the 2017 National High School Ethics Bowl, and take a whirlwind…
The Bottom of the Curve
Oct 31, 2017 • 38 min
At the beginning of their adult lives, millennials are trying to find out what it means to be happy in their 20s, not knowing that they have no where to go but down. Meanwhile, three highly successful people find themselves at the bottom of life’s…
A Better Love
May 3, 2017 • 49 min
On our season finale, we follow a mother’s love through the stages of life to seek wisdom about what love is, what love does, and why love happens. We follow five mothers at five different stages of motherhood, from the joys and anxieties of birth,…
The Ashes of Truth
Apr 18, 2017 • 50 min
Documentary film and science do not appear to have much in common, except that, philosophically, they have everything in common. Two men met in 1971 and had a disagreement, which turned into an assault, and then 45 years of disdain. One of them was the…
Be a Man
Mar 21, 2017 • 36 min
Our ideas of manhood and womanhood determine the ways in which we raise and socialize our children, but how much does gender in a particular society depend on that society’s relationship with violence? What happens when, all of a sudden, women are allowed…
Hackademics II: The Hackers
Mar 14, 2017 • 44 min
One scientist decided to put the entire field of psychology to test to see how many of its findings hold up to scrutiny. At the same time, he had scientists bet on the success-rate of their own field. We look at the surprising paradoxes of humans being…
Hackademics I: The Control
Mar 7, 2017 • 45 min
After years of unusual episodes dating back to her childhood, Anita went to the doctor and was told there was nothing medically wrong with her. “She had a gift,” she was told, and she was sent down the street to an ESP lab. Parapsychology is the…
The Cops of Pop
Feb 21, 2017 • 47 min
Two records from 1983 achieved minor novelty fame, and then faded away, only to emerge 20 years later as the originators of a curious genre of pop music in the age of social media. This peculiar genre raises questions about how we should think about…
The Name of God
Feb 14, 2017 • 50 min
With a small gesture of good will toward Syrian refugees, one woman incurred the wrath of evangelical Christians on social media. The resulting chaos helped write the next chapter in a thousand year-old controversy concerning Christianity, Islam, their…
Soldier Philosophers Part 2: The Morality of War
Feb 7, 2017 • 48 min
For some reason, when people kill others in wars, we do not judge them morally and legally in the same way as we judge them when they kill in civilian life. Is there a justification for this difference, or is it only a convenient myth? We go to West Point…
Soldier Philosophers Part 1: Moral Exploitation
Jan 31, 2017 • 48 min
When one Army soldier discovered the propagation of torture tactics during the Iraq war, he engaged in a one-man mission inside the organization to learn about their origins, and the effect they had on lower-level soldiers who were implementing them. From…
The Wishes of the Dead
Jan 24, 2017 • 49 min
Our lives are controlled by the invisible hand from the grave. Trillions of dollars of the economy are devoted to executing the wishes of people who died long ago, rather than satisfying the desires of the living. We follow the story of the Hershey…
Season One Trailer #1
Dec 24, 2016 • 2 min
A brand new show bringing storytelling together with philosophy, Hi-Phi Nation aims to do for philosophy what Freakonomics did for economics, what Invisibilia does for cognitive psychology, and what all of your favorite podcasts do for your entertainment…