Hi-Phi Nation

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Mens Rea vs. Moral Luck

More on why the deontological/consequentialist distinction is so difficult to figure out for reform-minded advocates.

Episode Notes

In this Slate Plus segment, Barry Lam is joined by Sarah Lustbader to discuss the issues raised in Episode 1: Criminal Minds. Sarah expresses skepticism about the significance of mens rea in ordinary prosecution of street crimes, Barry uses the opportunity to discuss the issue of moral luck as an explanation of why egregiousness of outcome seems to be the driving factor for prosecution rather than mens rea. The two end with a discussion of why the deontological/consequentialist distinction is so difficult to figure out for reform-minded advocates.

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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Host

  • Barry Lam is the host and producer of the Hi-Phi Nation podcast and is an associate professor of philosophy at Vassar College.