Hi-Phi Nation


This undead monster is the central figure for thinking about human consciousness.


Episode Notes

In the second in a three-part series on monsters in philosophy, Hi-Phi Nation traces the cultural history of zombies from voodoo folklore, George Romero films, and the creatures used in philosophical thought experiments. Folklore, film, and philosophy seem to converge on the idea that consciousness is what a creature needs to be worthy of moral concern, something a zombie lacks. But we have no idea when something crosses over from being a zombie to being conscious, particularly current AI systems. What happens then?

Guest speakers are Christina van Dyke (Columbia), David Chalmers (NYU), John Edgar Browning (Savannah College of Art and Design), and Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside).

Listen to Seasons 1 through 4 at Hi-Phi Nation.


About the Show

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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  • Barry Lam is host and producer of Hi-Phi Nation and Professor of Philosophy at UC Riverside, and Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University.