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The Philosophy of Crime

The Philosophy of Crime

By James Renner
Are killers born or are they made? Does everyone have the capacity to commit murder? Why is true crime so popular today?

The Philosophy of Crime tackles the biggest questions about unsolved mysteries by looking to classical philosophy for answers.

Hosted by award-winning journalist, James Renner, author of True Crime Addict.
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403: Tried As an Adult, Still a Kid
The United States is one of only a few countries that has executed children in modern times. In some states, teens are still regularly tried as adults for serious crimes. But should we actually be raising the age of culpability?  Covered Topics: Sean Sellers, Age of Culpability, Lionel Tate, Christopher Pittman, Juvenile Court, Aristotle, Gideon Yaffe, Raise the Age, Mark Wahlberg Further Reading:
May 18, 2021
402: What Are Grand Juries and Why Do They Need To Go?
It's 2021 and we still have secret courts in the United States. What are Grand Juries anyway? How do they work? What are they for? And why are they the worst? Covered Topics: Breonna Taylor, Grand Juries, Sol Wachtler, Karl Popper, Plato, George Schwartz, Social Contract, George Soros, Tamir Rice Further Reading:
May 11, 2021
401: Do Serial Killers Ever Really Have Mulitple Personalities?
We see it in thrillers like SPLIT, but does it ever happen in real life? Are there people in this world with multiple personalities? And if so, what does it take to fracture a mind? Covered Topics: Dissociative Identity Disorder, Multiple Personalities, Alters, Billy Milligan, Zoo Man of Knoxville, David Chalmers, Hard Problem of Consciousness, Douglas Hofstadter, Panpsychism, Thales of Miletus, Joseph DeAngelo Further Reading:
May 4, 2021
306: What Really Happened at Kent State?
50 years ago this week, 4 students were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State. But nobody can agree on who fired first. And the only man who knows the truth is a car salesmen who lives on a mountain.  Covered Topics: Kent State, Terry Norman, National Guard, Kent State Shootings, My Lai Massacre, Vietnam, Pontius Pilate, Objective Truth, Friedrich Nietzsche, Eugene Wigner, Massimiliano Proietti, Perspectivism, Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, William Schroeder Further Reading:
April 30, 2020
305: How to Interview a Victim After They’re Dead
When I was a reporter, I got the chance to talk to a man after he died. If you're close enough to someone, perhaps you're carrying a little piece of them inside you. Jump in and let's get weird. Covered Topics: Joe Kupchik, Optography, Wilhelm Kuhne, Erhard Reif, Elva Heaster, Douglas Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach, Recursion, Edgar Allan Poe, Maura Murray Further Reading:
April 29, 2020
304: Is Reasonable Doubt Reasonable?
What is reasonable doubt? Can it be defined? Who does it really help? Covered topics: Caylee Anthony, Reasonable Doubt, Standard of Proof, William Blackstone, Victor V. Nebraska, Rene Descartes, Cartesian Doubt Further Reading:
April 23, 2020
303: Is It Still Possible to Disappear Without A Trace And Start A New Life?
Not all those who wander are lost. Most of us fantasize about started a new life somewhere. Few of us succeed. Covered Topics: Maura Murray, John List, Patrick McDermott, John J. Nazarian, Evan Ratliff, Alan Watts, Ken Lay, Plato, David Hume Further Reading:,28804,2009445_2009447_2009502,00.html
April 22, 2020
302: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Or Is It?
Learn about the "Mean World Syndrome" and how the world is actually safer than you think. Topics: Mean World Syndrome, George Gerbner, Logical Fallacies, Aristotle, Serial Killer's Apprentice Further reading:
April 16, 2020
301: Why Do Some Crimes Have a Statute of Limitations?
When a crime is committed, a clock begins to tick. If you're not charged before time runs out, you can never be prosecuted. But why? Topics Covered: Ted Conrad, Demosthenes, Statute of Limitations, Phormion, Bill Cosby, Andrea Constand, John Demjanjuk, Amnesty, Thirty Tyrants, Critias, Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, Charles Griswold, Amy Mihaljevic Further Reading:
April 15, 2020
206: The Ethics of Familial DNA
The world has changed. A new tool has been created to solve the coldest cases. And if we're not careful, it'll be taken away from us in a heartbeat.
April 15, 2019
205: Psychics and Crime
On the record, police rarely admit to using psychics to solve crimes. But a surprising number of detectives often consult with soothsayers to discover new leads.
April 15, 2019
204: Why Do We Still Have the Death Penalty?
In the United States, we still execute prisoners for a variety of crimes. We are one of the last civilized societies to do so. Why is capital punishment so popular, here?
April 15, 2019
203: Does Psychological Profiling Really Work?
FBI profilers are the mystical heroes of law enforcement, with the ability to look at a crime and imagine the suspect. But is it science or just wishful thinking?
April 15, 2019
202: How Do Psychopaths Convince Others to Kill?
Charles Manson never killed anybody. He tricked his friends into doing it for him. But how? And could any one of us be tricked into doing evil deeds?
April 15, 2019
201: Are Lie Detectors Reliable?
We've all heard the saying, "Lie detectors can't be used in a court of law." But is that really true? And can a machine ever really know the mind of a man?
April 15, 2019
106: Effect & Cause
We want so desperately to go back in time and stop a crime from happening. But we can't change the past. Or can we?
May 1, 2018
105: Does Everyone Have the Capacity to Kill?
You're not a murderer, right? You wouldn't even hurt a fly, would you? Don't be so sure.
May 1, 2018
104: How Should the Media Cover Crime?
A brief history of crime reporting and how we screwed it up in America.
May 1, 2018
103: What is Occam's Razor?
One of the most important tools to detectives is a heuristic known as Occam's Razor. But you must wield it carefully or you end up hurting the wrong people.
May 1, 2018
102: Are Killers Born Bad or Are They Made That Way?
Nature or nurture? What makes a man evil? Is it genetics or is it their environment? And is there even such a thing as free will?
May 1, 2018
101: Why Is True Crime So Popular?
Where does our fascination with true crime come from? When did this obsession begin? Renner traces it all back to the "true crime singularity."
April 26, 2018