Every aspect of the American criminal justice system reflects deep philosophical underpinnings, implicit answers to questions we often take for granted: How do we classify some acts as criminal? Is the purpose of incarceration to punish or reform, and how are these ideas reflected in the design of prisons? Are crimes committed out of free will, or are social conditions and biology ever to blame? What is the meaning of forgiveness?
In a new season of his successful philosophy podcast, Hi-Phi Nation, Barry Lam will take a narrative voyage through the justice system from beginning to end, exploring the philosophical foundations of crime and punishment. Hi-Phi Nation, distributed by Slate, has garnered extensive praise for combining compelling narratives and interviews with philosophers to probe subjects ranging from the philosophy of statistics to just war theory. Now, Lam will use the Fellowship to bring the podcast to a new technical and editorial level, partnering with veteran podcast editor Julia Barton (Malcom Gladwell’s Revisionist History, Empire on Blood) to focus an entire season on the myriad philosophical issues surrounding a single American institution.
This will continue to advance Hi-Phi Nation’s core mission: to give listeners an entrée into philosophical inquiry, making big ideas accessible through nonfiction storytelling and promoting philosophical literacy through deep thinking about values that underpin our lives.