Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein introduced the world to archetypes we’re still familiar with: the mad scientist and his terrifying creation. But the novel is more than just a horror classic. It also asks questions about the ethics of scientific and technological innovation--questions that we still struggle with today. On this episode, we explore one of these questions: is it wrong for scientists and innovators to work or create in isolation? First, we introduce you to “sociability,” an important, behavior-shaping idea in the scientific community of the nineteenth century. Then, we discuss whether scientists and innovators working today have similar ethical obligations. We cover things like the importance of transparency in the ethics of scientific and technological innovation. We also explore the value of democratic oversight to the world of science and technology. Continue reading

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A lot of people wouldn’t guess that the first women’s prison in the nation was built in Indiana in 1873. Though it has moved locations and changed names, it is still open and imprisoning women. Its current name is the Indiana Women’s Prison. We talked to two researchers who uncovered stories about the early history of this prison, stories that call the official textbook account into question. But this isn't just the story of the first women’s prison in the nation, it’s also the tale of the journey of the two researchers who exposed the prison’s dark beginnings. Continue reading

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What does the idea of "Hoosier Hospitality" really mean? In this month's episode, we tell the story of a group of hospitable Hoosiers who--in the face of tremendous wartime hysteria--helped Japanese American students escape West Coast internment camps and resettle in Indiana during World War II. This story inspired our discussion about courage and the ethics of state-determined borders. This episode was made in partnership with Indiana Humanities. This episode is an officially endorsed Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project. Continue reading

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This is a story of a failed transportation project that bankrupted the state of Indiana... 200 years ago. We uncover the human suffering this canal system causes and the moral questions it raises. We also discuss questions like: when is it morally permissible to go into debt to fund a big project? When is it OK to tax? This episode was made in partnership with Indiana Humanities. This episode is an officially endorsed Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project.   Continue reading