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Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast

Meta Treks is a Trek.fm podcast dedicated to a deep examination of the philosophical ideas found in Star Trek. In each episode, Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison take you on a fascinating journey into the inner workings of Star Trek storytelling, deeper into subspace than you've ever traveled before.
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Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast
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Now displaying: November, 2015
Nov 30, 2015

Klingon Virtue Ethics. 

For Klingons, the key ethical question is whether one's heart is truly Klingon. In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison examine "Klingon Virtue Ethics," with virtue ethics being a distinctive form of ethical theory emphasizing desirable character traits over individual actions. Zachary and Mike debate the nature of essential Klingon character traits such as loyalty, duty, and honor. But unlike humans, who tend to remain in the middle-ground on many aspects of human nature, Klingons take their essential virtues and character traits to extreme levels (not to mention those terrible Klingon table manners and an endless but life-affirming thirst for blood wine). 

In their discussion, Zachary and Mike cover the Aristotelian notion of eudaimonia ("happiness," or "living well") and consider what living well, or rather dying well, means for Klingons. In addition, Zachary and Mike apply the virtue-theory notion of an "ideal individual" to the Klingon messianic figure Kahless, the individual viewed by most Klingons as the ideal Klingon to be emulated and revered. Finally, Zachary and Mike contrast the highly idealized (and sometime naive) sense of Klingon virtues embraced by the character of Worf with the more realistic character traits of other less-honorable Klingons. 

Chapters
Welcome To Episode 7 (00:01:25)
Discussing SacTrek  (00:02:48)
Overview of Virtue Ethics (00:11:26)
Traditional Virtue Ethics Theories (00:14:48)
Virtue Ethics In Star Trek (00:16:52)
Discussion of Eudaimonia (00:24:39)
Final Thoughts (01:07:29)
Zach's Recommended Klingon Episodes (01:10:53)
Mike's Recommended Klingon Episodes (01:11:26)

Hosts
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison
 
Production
Dennis Castello (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)

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Nov 23, 2015

Consequentialism vs. Deontological Ethics.

In the Deep Space Nine episode "In the Pale Moonlight," was Captain Sisko justified in using less-then-honorable means to bring the Romulans into the war with the Dominion in order to end the war and save lives? Or were Sisko's actions unjustified because they violated universally valid moral rules and principles? 

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling analyze "In the Pale Moonlight" from the contrasting ethical theories of consequentalist ethics (or utilitarianism) and deontological ethics (or rule-based ethics). Mike and Zachary consider the applicability of different forms of consequentialism, such as Jeremy Bentham's quantitative approach to utilitarianism, John Start Mill's more qualitative approach to utilitarianism, and rule utilitarianism as a middle-ground between ethics emphasizing consequences and ethics emphasizing rules.

This episode of Meta Treks covers the crucial concepts of deontological/Kantian ethics, such as Kant's Categorical Imperative, the notion that some actions are intrinsically right or wrong regardless of consequences, and treating others as ends in themselves and not merely as means to your own ends. Mike and Zachary wrap up the conversation with a discussion of whether the justification for the Prime Directive is chiefly consequentialist or whether the Prime Directive, as the Federation's highest law or rule, is grounded in the intrinsic worth of the natural development of other worlds and cultures.

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 6 (00:01:06)
Discussing the CBS Star Trek Announcement (00:02:22)
Introducing the Topic (00:15:10)
Consequentialism (00:16:40)
Example - In The Pale Moonlight (00:19:31)
Utilitarianism (00:32:09)
Deontological Ethics (00:44:00)
Kantian Ethics (00:44:40)
The Categorical Imperative (00:49:00)
The Prime Directive (01:05:38)
Rule Utilitarianism (01:10:05)
Virtue Based Ethics (01:17:46)
Final Thoughts (01:20:06)

Hosts
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling

 

Production

Dennis Castello (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)

 

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Nov 16, 2015

Personal Identity. 

As characters in Star Trek change over time (think TV Picard versus Movie Picard), what accounts for the persistence of those characters' personal identity? 

In this episode of Meta Treks, the continuation of a two-part discussion on the problem of identity in Star Trek, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison consider various responses to the problem of personal identity, including John Locke's views on memory and the continuity of consciousness, David Hume's bundle theory of the self, and Rene Descartes's views on mind-body dualism and personal identity. 

Zachary and Mike close out their discussion of personal identity by considering identity issues in alternate timelines, counterfactual scenarios, and the Mirror Universe. Can David Lewis's possible worlds interpretation of counterfactuals, along with Saul Kripke's account of personal names as rigid designators, explain the identity of Star Trek characters across alternate timelines? Is it possible to give any account of why Star Trek characters are somehow connected to their Mirror Universe counterparts? Join Zachary and Mike as they wrestle with these issues in personal identity and more, all told through examples taken directly from the Star Trek universe. 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 5 (00:01:06)
Introducing the Topic (00:02:23)
Examples of Personal Identity in Star Trek (00:10:40)
Numerical Identity (00:12:56)
Continuity of Consciousness (00:17:57)
The Bundle Theory (00:26:50)
Dualism (00:34:09)
Alternate Universes (00:52:56)
Names as Rigid Designators (01:00:46)
Final Thoughts (01:11:21)

Hosts
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison

 

Production

Dennis Castello (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)

 
Nov 9, 2015

The Problem of Identity.

In this episode of Meta Treks, part one of a two-part discussion on the problem of identity in Star Trek, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling consider the metaphysical problem of identity over time as it applies to inanimate objects. As objects undergo changes over time, do they remain the same objects or do they become different objects? Mike and Zachary reinterpret the classic philosophical example of the Ship of Theseus, in which components of a ship are replaced one at a time, in Star Trek terms as the "Starship of Theseus," asking whether the Enterprise remains the same ship following repairs or a refit.

Mike and Zachary introduce the problem of identity with an overview of Leibniz's Law and the numerical identity of indiscernible objects, followed by a discussion of different possible responses to the problem of identity over time: the continuity-of-change response, four-dimensionalism and time slices, and Aristotle's four types of causes (material cause, formal cause, efficient cause, and final cause).

Chapters
Welcome to Meta Treks 4 (00:01:07)
Introduction to the Topic (00:02:10)
The Ship of Theseus (00:10:18)
The Starship of Theseus (00:13:35)
Resolving the Identity Problem (00:29:17)
Continuity of Changes (00:29:51)
Four Dimensionalism (00:37:18)
Aristotle's Answers (00:46:37)
Final Thoughts (01:00:43)


Hosts

Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling

 
Production
Dennis Castello (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)

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Become a Trek.fm Patron on Patreon and help us keep Star Trek talk coming every week. We have great perks for you at http://patreon.com/trekfm
Nov 2, 2015
Philosopher Starship Crews.
 
Zachary and Mike compare notes on their ideal philosopher starship crews. Find out which philosophers from the history of philosophy that Zachary and Mike would choose to fill the various roles in a typical starship crew: conn officer, communications officer, operations officer, science officer, tactical officer, chief of security, chief engineer, first officer, and captain. Zachary and Mike also consider some honorable mentions for the roles of ship's counselor, transporter chief, bartender or chef, the ever-present admiral or "badmiral," diplomat or ambassador, and holodeck technician.
 
Philosophers covered in this episode of Meta Treks include (in alphabetical order) Aristotle, George Berkeley, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, David Brewster, Jacques Derrida, Albert Einstein, Epicurus, Michel Foucault, Gottlob Frege, Sigmund Freud, Galileo Galilei, Martin Heidegger, Hippocrates, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, William James, Immanuel Kant, C. S. Lewis, Karl Popper, John Rawls, Gene Roddenberry, Arthur Schopenhauer, Socrates, Sun Tzu, Dallas Willard, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
 
Chapters
Welcome (00:01:07)
Introducing the Topic (00:03:09)
Helm Officer (00:09:53)
Communications Officer (00:13:18)
Ops Officer (00:17:05)
Science Officer (00:19:41)
Tactical Officer (00:27:45)
Chief of Security (00:32:32)
Chief Engineer (00:38:36)
Chief Medical Officer (00:44:52)
First Officer (00:51:10)
Captain (01:00:04)
Honorable Mentions (01:06:33)
Final Thoughts (01:18:04)
 
Hosts
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison
 
Production
Dennis Castello (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)
 
Send us your feedback!
Twitter: @trekfm
Facebook: http://facebook.com/trekfm
Voicemail: http://www.speakpipe.com/trekfm
Contact Form: http://www.trek.fm/contact
Subscribe in iTunes: http://itunes.com/trekfm
 
Support the Network!
Become a Trek.fm Patron on Patreon and help us keep Star Trek talk coming every week. We have great perks for you at http://patreon.com/trekfm
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