The mods of /r/philosophy are pleased to announce an upcoming AMA by Barry Lam, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College and the Executive Producer and Host of philosophy podcast Hi-Phi Nation.

Barry will be joining us on Monday June 5th at 12PM EST to discuss his philosophy, podcasts and everything in between with a live AMA. Hear it from him:


I am Barry Lam, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vassar College and the Executive Producer and Host of the Hi-Phi Nation podcast, the first story-driven documentary-style show about philosophy. I just completed production and release of the first season of Hi-Phi Nation as Humanities Writ-Large fellow at Duke University, where the first season covered stories and philosophy ranging from the possibilities of posthumous harm, the morality of war, the referent of religious terms in Christianity and Islam, the philosophy of music, the replication crisis in the statistical sciences, philosophy of gender, Kuhn and scientific realism, and the philosophy of love. I would be happy to talk about any of the substantive issues that arose from these episodes, as well as discuss any issues concerning doing philosophy in a story-driven way.

Here are a few select episodes on Soundcloud:

My own philosophical work has been in epistemology and the philosophy of language, particularly on the nature of epistemic rationality, and in experimental semantics and pragmatics. I would be happy to have a discussion about those topics. In the past two years I’ve set technical research aside to produce what I hope will be an ongoing series of narrative story-driven philosophy akin to the best productions we have for economics and the social sciences, such as Freakonomics Radio and Invisibilia. It is my hope that having a high-production story-driven show about philosophy will open up the field to lots of new people, as well as let existing fans of philosophy appreciate the way it connects with journalism, history, law, and nonfiction writing.


Please feel free to post questions for Barry here. He will look at this thread before he starts and begin with some questions from here while the initial questions in the new thread come in.

I was asked to give a talk reflecting back on my year at Duke producing Hi-Phi Nation, and so I decided to talk about something I’ve been thinking about the whole time, which is how I was supposed to think of my own voice as narrator of the show. Am I to be an impartial communicator, a bloviator, something in between? In any case, I didn’t realize this, but there was actually an audience of students, Deans, and media people, and they filmed and recorded the whole thing! Here it is if you’re interested, about a 45min talk and 15 min Q&A.

If you’re on Twitter, I’ve put the four most popular episodes of Season One as candidates for your favorite episode. I need help picking an episode to submit for contests and media companies, and I want you the listener to choose it. The Twitter poll is here. If you’re not on Twitter, you can just leave your vote here on the blog as a comment. Thanks a lot!

Hi everyone, I can’t believe it, but I finally made the last episode of season one! Its here for you early birds at the website, available on your podcatcher tomorrow morning. Its not just that this episode is done, its that I actually made a complete season of a story-driven show about philosophy, something I’ve wanted to do for almost seven years. It took an entire year working overtime, hustling from place to place in the country, giving up one one kind of work, learning skills I never had, moving my whole family to another state, and being really uncomfortable in a lot of ways. Enjoy the last episode, spread the word, and you’ll hear from me again very soon!

Hi everyone. The season finale of Hi-Phi Nation, Episode 10, will be out first thing on Wednesday morning, May 3rd. Making a podcast episode is worse than making sausage. Sometimes you have take all the sausage you make, take it all out of the casing, and run in back through the machine again…three or four times, until the texture comes out right. This one has about 20 different people talking in it, so its really tricky.

It is now 1am on Tuesday morning, and I only now completed and uploaded the 9th and penultimate episode of Hi-Phi Nation, Season One. It isn’t every day, month,  year, or lifetime that you get an opportunity to interview, and then edit,  a legend in the documentary field in your very own documentary. The pressures were heavy, and I ended up making many decisions that probably make this unlike any of the other episodes of Hi-Phi Nation so far. But its out there now for your enjoyment. The season is almost over, so please do take the opportunity to leave a 5-star review on iTunes, Facebook, or whatever podcatcher you use. Or if you can’t, please share the show on your Facebook or Twitter feed. Episode 9: The Ashes of Truth (Apr. 18, 2017)

I’ve been trying really hard to get you Episode 9 this week, since it will have been three weeks since the last episode. Unfortunately, I’m just not ready. I’m going to postpone the episode for another week while I keep working on how to script and edit it together. I owe it to you to give you the best possible work I can produce, and right now episode 9 is not up to snuff. I am still on schedule to deliver both of the final episodes this month. Meanwhile I am in full-scale production for episodes for season 2 as well. So please send good vibes and you will hear again from me next week.

Are you interested in how two different people, with very different backgrounds, concerns, and aesthetic sensibilities can take the same raw material and build very different products from them? As I was putting together Hackademics 1, the show about parapsychology, I sent the raw tape to the Here Be Monsters podcast, which is a far more popular and established show. Jeff Emtman edited and co-wrote my piece there, and he released it yesterday on their podcast. Here is the result. I’d be really curious what your thoughts are about the sound, story, and aesthetic comparisons of the two pieces.

Dear Hi-Phi Nation fans. RadioPublic is a new app for podcasts available for your iPhone or Android. It is designed within the Public Radio Exchange system, and it is aiming to provide listeners with mixtape-like experiences where showmakers and curators present their mix of episodes across a wide-range of podcasts to introduce people to interesting listening. I just made a playlist called Hidden Conflicts, about the practices in society we take for granted in the world around us, but that once we start thinking about their underlying assumptions, start to unravel. You can get the playlist and the RadioPublic app with lots of other playlists at linked here.