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Hi-Phi Nation

A Society, Culture and Education podcast featuring Barry Lam
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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.

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38 episodes

Recent Episodes

YOLO Apologetics
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 the Malaysian jungle, naked, with nothing but a machete and oodles of YouTube survivalist knowledge looking for the ultimate YOLO experience. Meanwhile, philosopher Nick Riggle meditates on the significance of YOLO, and wonders whether living twice, or an infinite number of times, would make a difference to the value we place on adventure and risk-taking. Maybe not. The spirit of YOLO then, might have nothing to do with living once, but rather about living at all. Guest voices include James Moynihan, Daniel Olifi, Nick Riggle, and many Hi-Phi Nation listeners. This is the season finale. Listen until the end of the episode for big news about Season 4 of Hi-Phi Nation. 
The Illusionist
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 notably its insistence that it knows reality better than reality itself. On this episode, we listen to some of the most curious auditory illusions to find out how some of the features of sounds are generated by the human mind, rather than features of the external world. The illusions reveal something deep about some of the most treasured human endeavors, including music and language.Guest voices include Diana Deutsch, Casey O'Callaghan, and Christine Howlett. Thanks to Kenna Tuggle for violin passages. Get $50 off your first job post at LinkedIn Talent Solutions. Go to linkedin.com/nation.
Uncivil Disobedience
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 consumers. For any cause, when change does not seem to happen, or happen quickly enough, movements can turn to more confrontational styles of protests, or “uncivil disobedience.” Is this morally defensible, or is civility a must in any kind of protest?  Guest voices include Kimberley Brownlee, Chris Delforce, Candice Delmas, Lauren Gazzola, Paula Hough, David Jochinke, Joanne Lee, Brian Leiter, Clare McCausland, Tyler Paytas, Jacy Reese, Jeff Sebo, and Peter Singer.For Slate Plus, there is full bonus companion episode featuring Barry talking with Stephen Metcalf of Slate Culture Gabfest about the philosophical issues raised in the episode. Both Barry and Stephen try to come to terms with whether they think we can separate the morality of activist tactics with the morality of their causes. Sign up at www.slate.com/hiphiplus

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Podcast Details
Started
Dec 24th, 2016
Latest Episode
Jun 22nd, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
38
Avg. Episode Length
39 minutes
Explicit
No

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