Hi-Phi Nation

Hi-Phi Nation

Slate Podcasts
Jun 22, 2019 43 min

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Jun 08, 2019 37 min

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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 25, 2019 49 min

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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 11, 2019 48 min

For Women Only (pt. 2)

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, showing that the public has a very peculiar underlying theory of gender. Meanwhile, the metaphysics of gender is the academic study of what gender is, and who belongs in a particular gender category. In that area, the descendants of the views about gender in the 70s stake their positions today, calling for the inclusion or exclusion of certain transindividuals in sex-segregated spaces. We look at some of these arguments and the contested assumptions that underlie them, and then come back out to the real world to see how trans-inclusive women-only spaces seem to be doing in America. This is part 2 of 2 about the metaphysics of gender. Guest voices include Sandy Stone, Janice Raymond, Laurel Westbrook, Holly Lawford-Smith, and Robin Dembroff. To get an ad-free feed of this and every other Slate podcast, and bonus content, sign up for SlatePlus by going to slate.com/hiphiplus. Support the production of this show by giving a monthly donation at Patreon https://www.patreon.com/hiphination Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 27, 2019 51 min

For Women Only (pt. 1)

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 the 70s. On this episode, we look at the historical origins of this conflict by looking at a single event involving two women in the 70s, one of whom founded the gender-abolitionist wing of feminism, and the other founded transgender studies. That event, and those ideas, help us to understand the stakes and contentiousness today. This is part 1 of 2 on the metaphysics of gender, and in particular, the question of what is a woman? Guest voices include Sandy Stone and Janice Raymond. Post a job today at LinkedIn.com/nation and get fifty dollars off your first job post. See the stories of second chances and get a limited offer from Dave's Killer Bread, at daveskillerbread.com/nation Sign up for SlatePlus for ad-free feeds for all Slate podcasts and bonus content. Go to slate.com/hiphiplus/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Apr 13, 2019 53 min

Demons of Democracy

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 irrational voters, or find ways to disenfranchise all and only the misinformed people. This week we examine both proposals, examining whether compulsory voting is a solution to the problems of democracy, or whether getting rid of democracy altogether can be wise or just. We look at Sudbury Valley and Brooklyn Free School, democratic schools where the people who are thought too ignorant and irrational to vote are given democratic power. Are there are any lessons to be drawn for our democratic problems from these democratic schools? Guest voices include Jill Sheppard, Jason Brennan, Noleca Radway, Jonathan Ho, and alums of democratic schools. Dave's Killer Bread gives second chances to people with criminal histories by hiring them at their Oregon bakery. Go to http://www.daveskillerbread.com/nation to get a free offer from them and support second chances. To get an ad-free and bonus content for this and every other Slate podcast, join Slate Plus at www.slate.com/hiphiplus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 30, 2019 54 min

Name of God (2019)

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 episode, Barry revisits that episode in light of the New Zealand massacre, and how it helped write the next chapter in a thousand year-old controversy concerning Christianity, Islam, their shared origins, and the nature of God. Guest voices include Thaya Ashman, Larycia Hawkins, Michael Mangis, Karly Bothman, Paul Griffiths, and Amir Hussain. Sign up for Slate Plus to get an ad-free feed and bonus content for this and every other Slate podcast. Go to slate.com/hiphiplus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 16, 2019 49 min

The Forever War

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 and the development of Afghanistan, and we investigate where the money went. Veterans who served at each stage of the conflict, from the Gen Xers of the early days to the millennials of the Obama surge, give us the changing, and unchanging picture of the unending war. Finally, philosopher Seth Lazar and Barry talk about sunk costs and the role that thinking about past sacrifices play in rationalizing the indefinite continuation of war. Special thanks the veterans who gave their stories for this episode, Ian Fishback, Joshua Maxwell, Gaven Eier, Pat DeYoung, and Romario Ortiz. In the bonus content for SlatePlus members, Neta Crawford talks about the opportunity costs of the wars that can't be calculated, and Barry talks with Doug Wissing about the opium economy of Afghanistan. Get all bonus content and an ad-free version of this and every other Slate podcast at slate.com/hiphiplus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Mar 02, 2019 47 min

No Offense

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 this episode, we look at the story of a racial slur that led to a precedent, we take a whirlwind tour of landmark First Amendment cases, and two philosophers argue about whether morality is on the side of U.S. law. It might not be. Guest voices include Sonny Sidhu, Tim Soutphommasane, philosopher Jeffrey Howard, and philosopher Seana Shiffrin. This episode is brought to you by Warby Parker. Try their home try-on program for free today at warbyparker.com/nation. This episode of brought you by Care/Of. For 50% your first month of personalized vitamins, go to TakeCareOf.com and enter promo code Slate50. Join Slate Plus to get ad-free and bonus content for this and every other Slate podcast. Go to slate.com/hiphiplus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Feb 16, 2019 49 min

Risky Business

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 may in fact be leading to more incarceration, not less. While many are warning that these algorithms are biased, racist, or based on bad data, the real problems are in fact much deeper, and even harder to solve. Guest voices include Megan Stevenson, John Raphling, Renee Bolinger, Georgi Gardiner, and Seth Lazar. Please help the show by taking a listener survey to give us feedback. slate.com/podcastsurvey To sign up for Slate Plus to get bonus content for this and every episode, and every episode ad-free, go to slate.com/hiphiplus Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Hi-Phi Nation
Barry Lam (host)
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