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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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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 26, 2016

Enterprise Season 3 - Essential Trek Philosophy.  

Season three of Enterprise, with its Xindi story arc, is firmly situated in the post-9/11 era, concentrating principally on the ethics of justified warfare as a response to acts of terrorism. In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling discuss the philosophical themes and their top picks for Essential Trek Philosophy from season three of Enterprise. From consequentalist considerations about preemptive strikes to duplicate crew members and issues of personal identity, season three of Enterprise balances global political relevance, a season-length story arc, and episodic treatment of more abstract philosophical issues.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 52 (00:01:06) 
2016 Retrospective (00:02:12) 
Initial Thoughts on Enterprise Season 3 (00:11:47) 
Similitude (00:14:58) 
Chosen Realm (00:25:48) 
North Star (00:37:53) 
E2 (00:45:04) 
Twilight (00:53:18) 
Honorable Mentions (00:58:13) 
Final Thoughts (01:07:35)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Dec 5, 2016

Scientific and Medical Ethics.  

In Deep Space Nine, we learn that the Bajoran scientist Dr. Mora Pol helped Odo achieve his full potential as a sentient, shape-shifting life form. Odo, however, carried deep-seated resentment for his initial treatment under Dr. Mora and for some of Dr. Mora's more invasive research methods. In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss issues of scientific and medical ethics in Star Trek, including whether one is ever justified in causing harm to another living being for benefit of that being itself, for the benefit of other living beings, for a society's greater good, or for the sake of increasing scientific and medical knowledge.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 51 (00:01:07) 
The Four Stages of Odo and Dr. Mora (00:02:25) 
Sentience, Suffering, and Informed Consent (00:05:21) 
Competing Ethical Theories on Scientific Research (00:13:56) 
The Cardassian Factor - Comparing Dr. Mora Pol with Dr. Crell Moset (00:24:46) 
Virtue Ethics - Clinical Detachment and the Ethics of Care (00:33:09) 
The Evolution of Dr. Mora - From Scientist to Loving Father (00:39:23) 
Emotionally Attached Doctors in Star Trek - McCoy and Pulaski (00:54:17) 
Comparison with Commander Maddox and Data (00:56:06) 
Final Thoughts (00:58:12)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Nov 28, 2016

Logical Positivism.  

What separates meaningful language from non-meaningful language, genuine science from pseudo-science, and productive philosophy from unproductive philosophy? In the early 20th century, a philosophical movement known as "logical positivism" attempted to specify criteria that could be used to demarcate meaningful language from non-meaningful language. These logical positivists, such as Rudolf Carnap and A.J. Ayer, claimed that only empirically verifiable statements are meaningful, and that any language not empirically verifiable is literally meaningless.  

In this 50th episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling examine the claims of logical positivism through the lens of Star Trek. From the story-based use of language in the TNG episode "Darmok" to the many possible uses of the word "dilithium," Mike and Zachary offer a Star Trek based critique of logical positivism inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein's account of the meaningfulness of language as its use in various context-dependent "language games."  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 50 (00:01:07) 
Separating Science from Pseudoscience - Only Empirically Verifiable Statements are Meaningful (00:03:29) 
"Turkey Hot" - Replicators and Reference (00:07:46) 
"Dilithium!" - Wittgenstein and Meaning-as-Use (00:10:23) 
Empiricism - Do We Have Direct Sensory Access to the External World? (00:20:34) 
"Minuet!" - Holograms and Reference (00:31:17) 
"Shaka, When the Walls Fell" - The Meaningfulness of Non-Referential or Mythological Language (00:36:59) 
ENT "Strange New World" - Hallucinatory Experience and Rock Creatures (00:47:22) 
TNG "The Ensigns of Command" - Cup? Glass? Liquid? Clear? Brown? Hot? (00:55:11) 
Language Games (00:59:59) 
Final Thoughts (01:08:00)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Nov 21, 2016

Stoicism.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison search for examples of stoicism in Star Trek. As an ancient Greek and Roman school of thought, stoicism emphasizes suppression of harmful emotions, recognizing the ebb and flow of the cosmos, the impermanence of all things, dutifulness and steadfastness in labor, acceptance of things beyond your control, acceptance of suffering as part of nature, and striving to make order where you are able. From Marcus Aurelius of Ancient Rome to Surak of Vulcan, Zachary and Mike examine the essence of stoicism, both inside and outside of the Star Trek universe.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 49 (00:01:42) 
Meta Treks Feedback (00:02:22) 
Initial Thoughts on Stoicism (00:05:02) 
Stoicism and Cosmic Order (00:08:44) 
Steadfastness and Temperance (00:11:03) 
Are Vulcans Stoic? (00:15:36) 
Stoicism Quiz Show - Marcus Aurelius or Surak of Vulcan? (00:17:54) 
Tempering Emotions - "Gravity" and Young Tuvok (00:24:60) 
All Things End (00:27:15) 
The Kobayashi Maru - Military Discipline and Emotional Desensitization (00:29:40) 
Are Klingons Stoic? Is Worf Stoic? (00:30:45) 
Outer Stoicism vs. Inner Stoicism - Spock and Tuvok (00:36:42) 
Hyperbole in "Parallax" - A "Tense" Situation (00:38:28) 
Pragmatic Stoicism (00:44:58) 
Jean-Luc Picard - An Almost Vulcan Quality (00:47:19) 
Odo - A Need for Order (00:53:15) 
Final thoughts (01:04:36)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Nov 14, 2016

The Original Series Season 3 - Essential Trek Philosophy.  

Season 3 of Star Trek: The Original Series is sometimes criticized for having lost its way without the creative direction of Gene Roddenberry. But in this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling compare their top picks for Essential Trek Philosophy from season three of Star Trek: The Original Series. From philosopher-kings in "Plato's Stepchildren" and philosophical zombies in "Spock's Brain," to the Marxist and collectivist themes in "The Cloud Minders," Mike and Zachary compare their favorite philosophical insights from the final season of Star Trek: The Original Series.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 48 and Initial Thoughts (00:01:07) 
For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky (00:10:15) 
Spock's Brain (00:28:23) 
Plato's Stepchildren (00:36:30) 
The Cloud Minders (00:43:48) 
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (00:53:43) 
Turnabout Intruder (01:03:02) 
The Lights of Zetar (01:11:01) 
The Mark of Gideon (01:12:45) 
TOS Season 3 Essentials Recap and Final Thoughts (01:18:45)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Nov 8, 2016

Larry Nemecek.  

Episode 47 of Meta Treks can mean only one thing: Larry Nemecek! As a renowned Trek authority, friend of the Trek.fm network, and creator of Trekland's Portal 47, Larry  joins hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison for a discussion about the past and future of Star Trek. On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the premier of Star Trek, and with a new Star Trek television series, Star Trek: Discovery, a mere months away, Larry, Zachary, and Mike share their thoughts on Star Trek's universal appeal and themes. Together Larry, Zachary, and Mike explore how Star Trek can continue to play a role in addressing social and political problems in today's world and in the age of social media.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 47 and Introducing Larry Nemecek (00:01:07) 
Initial Thoughts on the Past and Future of Star Trek (00:02:04) 
Star Trek: Discovery in the Age of Social Media (00:06:13) 
Star Trek and Giving Hope in Today's World (00:12:03) 
The Universal Appeal and Themes of Star Trek (00:30:32) 
Star Trek as a Tool for Empowerment (00:42:27) 
Creative Subversiveness and "Getting From There to Here" (01:03:01) 
Final Thoughts (01:21:54) 
Portal 47 and Connecting with Larry Nemecek (01:34:05)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Guest 
Larry Nemecek  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Oct 26, 2016

Federation Exceptionalism.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling are joined by Duncan Barrett, co-author of Star Trek: The Human Frontier, to discuss the concept of exceptionalism in Star Trek. Mike, Zachary, and Duncan consider various forms of exceptionalism, both here in the real world and in the Star Trek universe. Are humans exceptional lifeforms with unique properties and abilities compared to other life forms here on Earth? In the Star Trek universe, do humans have unique or exceptional abilities compared to members of various alien species? Is the Federation an exceptional political entity compared with neighboring political organizations such as the Romulan Empire or the Ferengi Alliance? How does Federation Exceptionalism compare and contrast with so-called American Exceptionalism? And is there a positive sense of exceptionalism that can avoid the pitfalls of superiority, cultural assimilation, colonialism, and hegemony while allowing for genuine progress toward Federation ideals of liberty, diplomacy, and self-determination?  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 46 (00:01:07) 
Introducing Duncan Barrett and Initial Thoughts on Exceptionalism (00:02:04) 
Are Humans Exceptional? In the Real World? In Universe? (00:06:56) 
Are Some Ideals More Exceptional Than Others? (00:12:10) 
What Do Alien Races Reveal About the Uniqueness of Humans? (00:25:02) 
The Federation - Political Exceptionalism and the Prime Directive (00:39:03) 
Is Data the Ideal [Exceptional] Human? (00:48:05) 
Exceptionalism in Transcending Limitations (00:56:47) 
Exploring Space vs. Cultural Exploration (00:58:09) 
Manifest Destiny and Cultural Assimilation (01:11:42) 
Good Exceptionalism vs. Bad Exceptionalism (01:18:05) 
Challenging Ideals and the Collapse of Myth (01:23:10) 
Final Thoughts - Is There a Healthy Form of Exceptionalism? (01:31:02) 
Star Trek: The Human Frontier and Duncan Barrett on Social Media (01:33:19)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Guest 
Duncan Barrett  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Oct 17, 2016

The Animated Series - Essential Trek Philosophy.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison are joined by Aaron Harvey, Trek.fm's art director and host of Saturday Morning Trek, to discuss their top picks for "Essential Trek Philosophy" from Star Trek: The Animated Series. Although Star Trek: The Animated Series is written off by some fans as a mere cartoon with no official place in the Star Trek canon, Zachary, Mike, and Aaron show that The Animated Series is filled with big ideas for growing minds, children and adults alike, and that The Animated Series is firmly inline with the philosophical issues and ideals that constitute the essence of Star Trek.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 45 (00:01:07) 
Welcome Aaron Harvey (00:02:24) 
Initial Thoughts about Star Trek: The Animated Series (00:03:45) 
One of Our Planets is Missing (00:13:16) 
The Infinite Vulcan (00:20:13) 
Beyond the Farthest Star (00:23:22) 
The Pirates of Orion (00:33:50) 
The Survivor (00:40:07) 
Bem (00:46:20) 
Once Upon a Planet (00:50:13) 
The Practical Joker (00:51:44) 
Albatross (01:08:19) 
Recap and Honorable Mentions (01:17:40) 
Final Thoughts (01:25:39)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Guest 
Aaron Harvey  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Oct 10, 2016

Borg Perfection. 

Resistance against the Borg quest for perfection is usually futile. But what does perfection mean to the Borg, and how does this quest for perfection compare with the human quest for betterment? In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling share a philosophical analysis of the concept of perfection, including its meaning for the Borg, its relation to the human condition, the spiritual role perfection plays for the Borg, and arguments from the history of philosophy relying on the concept of perfection to prove the existence of an ens perfectissumum, or "most perfect being." 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 44 (00:01:07)
Initial Thoughts (00:01:58)
The Borg Quest for Perfection vs. the Human Quest for Perfection (00:04:32)
The Hubris of Perfectionism vs. Human Limitations (00:08:04)
Humanism and Perfection (00:13:17)
Defining Borg Perfection (00:18:52)
Calling BS on the Borg Queen (00:23:14)
The Symbolic and Spiritual Role of the Omega Molecule (00:26:02)
Perfection and Arguments for God's Existence - The Ontological Argument and the Argument from Degree (00:40:58)
The Higgs Boson - A.K.A. The God Particle (00:52:37)
Final Thoughts (01:01:31) 

Hosts
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling 

Production
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) 

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Oct 4, 2016

The Trill.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison dive into the mud pits for a philosophical exploration of the Trill. From the etymology of the term "symbiont," to the precise nature of the shared consciousness between a symbiont and its host, to gender fluidity and identity, Zachary and Mike share multiple lifetimes of philosophical experience about all things Trill.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 43 (00:01:07) 
Initial Thoughts on Dax and Trill Consciousness (00:02:07) 
The Greek Roots of "Symbiont" (00:05:01) 
Analyzing Trill Consciousness - One Consciousness or Two? (00:07:31) 
Exploring the Boundary Conditions - Death of a Trill Host (00:24:33) 
Personal Identity - Memory and Continuity of Experience (00:28:18) 
Gender Identity, Gender Fluidity, and 1990s Gender Politics (00:40:05) 
Personality Dominance - Host or Symbiont? (00:52:22) 
Consciousness and Remote Sensory Apparatus (01:00:01) 
Long Life Spans and Perspectives on Life (01:09:55) 
Final Thoughts and Essential Dax/Trill Episodes (01:21:24)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Sep 19, 2016

Kevin C. Neece and The Gospel According to Star Trek.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling are joined by author and speaker Kevin C. Neece to discuss his new book, The Gospel According to Star Trek: The Original Crew. This first book in the Gospel According to Star Trek series explores the constructive connections between Star Trek and Christian theology. Kevin C. Neece argues that the humanism expressed in Star Trek is compatible with a rich tradition of Christian humanism, and that Star Trek's relationship with religion is more complex and nuanced than the typical atheistic interpretation recognizes. From Spock as a Christ metaphor in Star Trek II, III, and IV, to false Gods in The Original Series, Kevin C. Neece, Mike Morrison, and Zachary Fruhling explore the many-layered connections between the adventures of the original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise and the worldview held by people of faith.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 42 (00:01:07) 
Introducing Kevin C. Neece (00:02:00) 
Finding a Coherent Worldview (00:03:32) 
Christian Humanism and Star Trek (00:09:35) 
Eschatology, Human Agency, and Star Trek Idealism (00:16:59) 
Kevin's History with Star Trek and The Undiscovered Country Project (00:23:18) 
Star Trek II, III, IV, and Surprising Connections (00:28:40) 
Pluralism and Universal "Human" Nature (00:35:07) 
From the 1960s [TOS] to the 1980s [TNG] (00:45:46) 
False Gods in The Original Series (00:55:06) 
The Star Trek IV Connection (00:58:55) 
Gene Roddenberry and the Divine Spark (01:03:58) 
Staying Grounded in Star Trek Dialog (01:09:04) 
Key Takeaways from The Gospel According to Star Trek (01:10:51) 
Finding Kevin C. Neece on Social Media (01:14:08) 
Watching Star Trek "Religiously" (01:18:19) 
Final Thoughts (01:24:31)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Guest
Kevin C. Neece 

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Sep 12, 2016

Justice.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the Next Generation episode "Justice." This first-season TNG episode deals with a range of issues in philosophy of law and punishment, such as the concept of strict liability, intrinsically wrong crimes versus statutory crimes, ignorance of the law as a defense, the death penalty as a deterrent, and the role of intentionality in determining culpability.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 41 (00:01:07) 
Initial Thoughts on "Justice" (00:01:48) 
Strict Liability (00:05:35) 
Proportional Punishment (00:10:17) 
Intrinsic Wrongs [malum in se] vs. Statutory Crimes [malum prohibitum] (00:13:18) 
Eden and Original Sin - Balancing Tranquility and Justice (00:17:36) 
Ignorance of the Law as a Defense (00:25:33) 
Punishment Zones and Speeding Tickets (00:28:31) 
The Death Penalty as a Deterrent (00:33:18) 
Intentionality and Culpability (00:43:27) 
Consequentialism - One Life versus a Thousand Lives (00:50:52) 
The Prime Directive and Laws on an Alien World (01:00:48) 
Final Thoughts (01:06:48)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Sep 5, 2016

TNG Season 7 - Essential Trek Philosophy.  

Season 7 of Star Trek: The Next Generation contained innovative and previously unseen visual depictions of abstract philosophical concepts such as the concept of emergent properties (TNG: Emergence) and the concept of an infinite number of possible worlds (TNG: Parallels), along with consideration of important ethical and environmental issues such as conservation of natural resources (TNG: Force of Nature). In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling compare their picks for Essential Trek Philosophy from season 7 of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 40 (00:01:07) 
Force of Nature (00:09:12) 
Parallels (00:19:44) 
Inheritance (00:26:22) 
Journey's End (00:34:01) 
Emergence (00:43:57) 
All Good Things (01:01:33) 
Homeward (01:04:07) 
The Pegasus and Firstborn (01:13:19) 
Lower Decks and Masks (01:16:17) 
Final Thoughts (01:18:53)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Aug 29, 2016

Return to Tomorrow.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison continue the discussion from The Ready Room episode 201 about the Original Series episode "Return to Tomorrow." Zachary and Mike discuss the core philosophical themes of this TOS episode, including mind-body dualism, trans-humanism and future evolution, dependence on technology, sensualism and physical embodiment, and this TOS episode's commentary on religion and the afterlife.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 39 (00:01:06) 
Initial Thoughts on "Return to Tomorrow" (00:02:06) 
Synopsis of "Return to Tomorrow" (00:10:21) 
Mind-Body Dualism (00:14:28) 
Trans-humanism and Future Human Evolution (00:18:47) 
Dependence on Technology (00:28:09) 
Sensualism and Embodiment (00:35:29) 
Oblivion and the Afterlife (00:44:16) 
Risk is Our Business (00:59:53) 
Final Thoughts (01:06:44)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Aug 15, 2016

Starship Phenomenology. 

Phenomenology is a post-Kantian philosophical school of thought emphasizing conceptual analysis of the objects of your first-person mental experience. In this episode of Meta Treks, Zachary Fruhling leads Mike Morrison on a guided meditation starship phenomenology thought experiment as a Star Trek inspired lesson in phenomenology. Ultimately Mike and Zachary reach the conclusion that all of Star Trek, by pushing against the boundaries of society's norms, can be thought of as a type of phenomenological analysis of the human condition. 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 38 (00:01:07)
Phenomenology and the History of Philosophy (00:05:01)
A Star Trek Phenomenology Thought Experiment (00:13:32)
Guided Meditation - Picture a Starship (00:16:46)
Bracketing the Nonessentials (00:18:52)
A Starship Without Warp-Drive? (00:20:59)
Seeing a New Starship (00:27:16)
Starship Interiors (Incense and Sitar Music) (00:28:42)
Why is Phenomenology Important? (00:36:55)
Three Postulates - Consistency, Subjectivity, and Adequacy (00:42:07)
The Essence of the Star Trek Franchise (00:52:12)
Final Thoughts (00:59:07) 

Hosts
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling 

Production
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) 

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Aug 8, 2016

Deep Space Nine Season 7: Essential Trek Philosophy.  

The final season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had several jobs to do: from continuing the character arcs of an ensemble cast to wrapping up the Dominion War story line. But in addition to character arcs and story lines, season 7 of Deep Space Nine also continued what Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison have termed "philosophy arcs." From the nature of conjoined consciousness to a look at the best and worst of human nature (through Ferengi eyes), season 7 of Deep Space Nine explores well-trodden Star Trek philosophy territory but with nuances and scenarios unique to Deep Space Nine

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 37 (00:01:07)
Initial Thoughts on Deep Space Nine: Season 7 (00:01:25)
When It Rains... (00:05:51)
Extreme Measures (00:08:43)
After Image (00:20:41)
Treachery, Faith, and the Great River (00:32:51)
The Dogs of War (00:36:02)
Honorable Mention: Covenant (00:37:34)
Honorable Mention: Tacking Into the Wind (00:47:46)
It's Only a Paper Moon (00:49:06)
The Siege of AR-558 (00:54:59)
'Til Death Do Us Part (01:01:38)
Honorable Mention: Take Me Out to the Holosuite (01:06:17)
Honorable Mention: Once More Unto the Breach (01:07:07)
Honorable Mention: Chrysalis (01:08:39)
Honorable Mention: Field of Fire (01:09:48)
Honorable Mention: Strange Bedfellows (01:10:46)
Essentials Recap (01:12:18)
Final Thoughts (01:12:56) 

Hosts
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison 

Production
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)

Aug 1, 2016

The Philosophy of Star Trek Beyond.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling share their initial thoughts on the philosophical themes and overall message of Star Trek Beyond. From the existential journeys of Kirk and Spock, to Spock's moral obligation to his own endangered species, to Balthazar Edison's resentment-based militarism and perpetual war, Star Trek Beyond continues the ongoing Star Trek tradition of philosophical and character-driven exploration of the human condition.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 36 (00:01:06) 
Initial Impressions of Star Trek Beyond (00:03:08) 
The Existential Journeys of Kirk and Spock (00:21:51) 
Spock's Moral Obligation to His Own Endangered Species (00:41:29) 
The Tragedy of Balthazar Edison - Militarism and Perpetual War (01:03:01) 
The Message of Star Trek Beyond (01:15:32) 
To Absent Friends - Remembering the Past, Living for the Future (01:21:29) 
Final Thoughts (01:27:30)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Jul 25, 2016

The Divine Comedy.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the classic work of literature The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri and its relevance to the Star Trek universe. Dante's semi-autobiographical, mythical tale of a redemptive and self-reflective journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, led by the poet Virgil (Dante's symbol of human reason) and the lady Beatrice (Dante's symbol of divine love), has become an archetypal metaphor for going astray and being led back to one's true path.  

Many characters in the Star Trek universe have gone astray, whether literally as in the case of the Voyager crew lost in the Delta Quadrant, or metaphorically as in the case of characters with deep personal struggles, such as Wesley Crusher, Worf, and Benjamin Sisko. These and other Star Trek characters who have gone astray are frequently visited by quasi-mystical messengers, analogous to Virgil and Beatrice in The Divine Comedy, who lead them on a journey and back to their own true and unique paths.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 35 (00:01:06) 
Initial Thoughts on The Divine Comedy and Star Trek (00:01:45) 
The Doctor's Inferno (00:04:55) 
"Shattered" and Other Dante References in Star Trek (00:09:31) 
Virgil [Human Reason] and Beatrice [Divine Love] (00:17:16) 
Wesley's Inferno (00:21:47) 
Comparing Kirk/Spock/McCoy with Dante/Virgil/Beatrice (00:27:09) 
Virgil and Beatrice [Picard and Troi] on the Enterprise-D (00:33:52) 
"Midway Through Life's Journey" (00:50:31) 
Voyager - Tom Paris, Captain Janeway, and Harry Kim (00:57:11) 
Worf's Inferno (01:05:51) 
Benjamin's Inferno (01:15:38) 
Other Examples and Final Thoughts (01:26:43)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

Send us your feedback! 
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Jul 18, 2016

Nationalism.  

It is a commonly-held belief that humans in the 23rd and 24th century world of Star Trek have progressed beyond nationalism. The Federation, however, is only one of many intra-galactic nation states. The Federation, the Romulan Empire, the Klingon Empire, and the Cardassian Empire each has its own "national" symbols, colors, political structure, and cultural values. To what extent has the Federation helped humanity transcend the need for nationalism, and to what extent is it still bound by nationalism but on a larger, galactic scale? In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling debate the role of nationalism in the Star Trek universe, asking the fundamental question, "Is nationalism something to be transcended or to be embraced within the idealism of Star Trek's vision of the future?"  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 34 (00:02:02) 
Brexit and Withdrawing from the Federation (00:03:11) 
Bajoran Nationalism - To Join the Federation or not to Join (00:07:03) 
The Pros and Cons of Nationalism (00:09:44) 
Federation Nationalism or Trans-Nationalism? (00:12:05) 
The Causes and Forms of Nationalism (00:22:08) 
Tribalism and Origin Stories (00:25:46) 
24th Century Swag - Trek.fm Nation! (00:42:18) 
Federation National Symbols and Rituals (00:48:24) 
Nationalism and Sports - Take Me Out to the Holosuite (00:51:53) 
Tragedy and Colonialism as Causes of Nationalism (00:59:17) 
Final Thoughts (01:10:14)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Jul 4, 2016

"Cause and Effect" and the Metaphysics of Time.  

In this 33rd episode of Meta Treks, "All Threes," hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison use the TNG episode "Cause and Effect" as the starting point for a discussion on the physics and the metaphysics of time. Zachary and Mike consider the core philosophical questions about the nature of time, such as ontology (whether the past and the future really exist), duration (why time moves at the rate it does), movement (whether there is a flow of time or whether events are fixed in time), linear time versus branching time, subjective time versus objective time, reconciling relativistic physics of time with quantum physics of time, and whether time is "out there" or imposed on reality by the mind.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 33 (00:01:20) 
Initial Thoughts on "Cause and Effect" (00:04:39) 
Spacetime - Time is Malleable (00:14:32) 
The Physics of Time and the Metaphysics of Time (00:16:06) 
Four Dimensionalism - Do the Present and Future Exist? (00:24:42) 
Circumventing Einstein - Warp Drive and Relativity (00:26:22) 
Time and Ontology - The Past, the Present, and the Future (00:36:24) 
Movement through Time (00:38:54) 
Duration - The Arbitrariness of the Rate of Time (00:44:13) 
Quantum Entanglement and Simultaneity (00:49:03) 
The Direction of Time - Why Does Time Flow Forward But Not Backward? (00:55:17) 
The Branching Theory of Time (00:58:39) 
Subjective Time vs. Objective Time (01:08:02) 
Immanuel Kant - The Mind Structures Experience in Time and Space (01:11:17) 
Final Thoughts (01:22:00)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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Jun 27, 2016

Voyager Season 7 - Essential Trek Philosophy. 

In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling compare their selections for "Essential Trek Philosophy" from season 7 of Star Trek: Voyager. From Cartesian skepticism in "Unimatrix Zero" and "Workforce," to medical ethics and the ethics of bioengineering in "Critical Care" and "Lineage," season 7 of Voyager continues Star Trek's philosophical exploration of the human condition right up until the very end of the Voyager journey. 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 32 (00:01:06)
Initial Thoughts about Voyager and Season 7 (00:01:43)
New iTunes Review of Meta Treks (00:06:30)
About our "Essential Trek Philosophy" Series (00:09:57)
Critical Care (00:12:29)
Unimatrix Zero (00:23:04)
Lineage (00:30:08)
Repentance (00:41:08)
Workforce (00:54:55)
Body and Soul (01:02:34)
Prophecy (01:21:48)
Final Thoughts (01:29:56) 

Hosts
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling 

Production
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) 

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Jun 20, 2016

Speech Acts and Performative Utterances. 

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the philosophical and linguistic issues of speech acts and performative utterances. Many different kinds of speech acts can be found inside Star Trek, including taking oaths and granting promotions, saying wedding vows and pronouncing marriages, naming androids and christening starships, auto-destruct commands, replicator orders, and transfers of command, to name a few. Zachary and Mike discuss different examples of performative utterances in Star Trek and the role they play in a free society.  In addition, Zachary and Mike consider objections to the concepts of speech acts and performative utterances from the philosophical standpoints of relativism and reductionism. 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 31 (00:01:23)
What are Speech Acts and Performative Utterances? (00:02:25)
Wedding Vows in Star Trek (00:12:32)
Speech Acts and Cultural Relativism (00:25:25)
Klingons and Ritual Storytelling (00:29:24)
Promotions and Transfers of Command (00:32:35)
Does Reductionism Undermine the Concept of Speech Acts? (00:35:30)
The Importance of Speech Acts in a Free Society (00:43:42)
Finding the Essentials in Promotions and Pageantry (00:47:32)
Christening the Enterprise - The Strange Act of Naming (00:50:34)
Oaths and Voting as Speech Acts (00:54:04)
Auto-Destruct Commands (01:01:24)
"Tea, Earl Grey, Hot" - Creating Reality with Words (01:03:43)
Final Thoughts (01:10:41) 

Hosts
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison 

Production
Mike Morrison (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Elizabeth Janeway (Associate Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) 

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Jun 6, 2016

The Philosophy of Insurrection.  

Coming off the heels of the blockbuster success of Star Trek: First Contact, the next TNG-era feature film Star Trek: Insurrection returned to Star Trek's philosophical roots by focusing on a strong moral dilemma, social commentary, and character interaction. Although Insurrection is not usually cited as a fan-favorite among TNG-era Star Trek films, Insurrection is a classic Star Trek morality play containing an impressive number of philosophical layers, given its otherwise lighthearted tone.  

In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling explain their fondness for Star Trek: Insurrection and discuss its interwoven philosophical themes, such as the ethics of forced relocation and eminent domain, balancing the needs of the many with the rights of the few, civil disobedience and the responsibility to act on moral conviction, anti-technological social commentary, the themes of family and reconciliation, the Ba'ku Fountain of Youth and the meaning of life in the 24th Century, and the importance of finding joy in small moments, even in the face of great trials.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 30 (00:01:32) 
Memories of Star Trek: Insurrection (00:03:36) 
Initial Thoughts (00:06:27) 
Relocating the Ba'ku - The Needs of the Many vs. the Rights of the Few (00:16:14) 
Comparing Insurrection and TNG "Journey's End" (00:26:04) 
Moral Conviction and Civil Disobedience - The Responsibility to Act (00:29:14) 
The Ba'ku and Anti-Technological Social Commentary (00:34:57) 
Reconciliation Theme (00:39:40) 
The Fountain of Youth and the Meaning of Life (00:43:07) 
The Human Condition - Finding Joy in Small Moments (00:51:31) 
Son'a as Prodigal Children (00:55:14) 
Are the Son'a in Thomas Hobbes's State of Nature? (00:59:39) 
Final Thoughts (01:06:25)  

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) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)  

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May 30, 2016

Crime and Punishment.  

Many different forms of punishment are depicted in Star Trek. From the Risa-like Federation penal colony in New Zealand to engramatic purges and twenty-year virtual prison sentences, Meta Treks hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the ethics of the various forms of punishment seen in the Star Trek universe. Zachary and Mike debate the different possible justifications of punishment in general, such as punishment as a deterrent, punishment as getting what you deserve, punishment as maximizing social utility, punishment as repaying a debt to society, punishment as redemption, and punishment as education. Given the real-world issues of increasing prison populations and the culture of criminalization, Star Trek provides a model of the best (and sometimes the worst) of human nature and of our ideals about how to handle the ever-present problems of crime and punishment in society.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 29 (00:01:06)
New iTunes Review (00:02:45)
The Ready Room - 200th Episode (00:06:35)
Initial Thoughts on Punishment in Star Trek (00:10:15)
Luxurious Federation Penal Colonies (00:12:19)
Federation vs. Non-Federation Punishment (00:13:30)
Possible Justifications for Punishment (00:15:21)
Intentionality and Gradations of Punishment (00:19:06)
The Death Penalty in TOS "The Menagerie" (00:21:02)
The Variety of Punishments in Star Trek (00:26:49)
Virtual Punishment - Chief O'Brien in DS9 "Hard Time" (00:29:49)
Engramatic Purge - B'Elanna Torres in VOY "Random Thoughts" (00:35:59)
Paying Debt to Society (00:41:00)
The Evolution and Future of the Prison - Michael Foucault (00:44:09)
The Bell Riots and the Culture of Criminalization (00:48:14)
The Punishment Box in DS9 "Paradise" (00:55:23)
Klingons - The Presumption of Guilt and Hereditary Punishment (00:58:12)
Compassion and Punishment - Cue the Picard Speech (01:06:05)
The Role of Anger and Disgust - Vulcan Logic or Human Emotion? (01:11:46)
Zachary's Final Thoughts (01:20:41)
Mike's Final Thoughts (01:27:23)

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) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)

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May 16, 2016

Enterprise Season Four - Essential Trek Philosophy. 

In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling are joined by fellow Trek.fm hosts Jeffrey Harlan and Norman Lao to discuss their top picks for "Essential Trek Philosophy" from season four of Star Trek: Enterprise. From the ethics of genetic engineering and disease control to the metaphysics of transporters and telepresence-controlled starships, Enterprise season four is loaded with philosophical issues and themes in the highest Star Trek tradition.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 28 (00:01:06) 
Welcome Norman Lao (00:02:23) 
Welcome Jeffrey Harlan (00:03:23) 
Initial Thoughts (00:04:04) 
Home (00:09:48) 
Observer Effect (00:20:16) 
The Aenar (00:32:16) 
Daedalus (00:45:57) 
Demons/Terra Prime (01:00:36) 
The Forge/Awakening/Kir'Shara (01:05:43) 
Affliction (01:14:04) 
The Augment Arc (01:22:02) 
Norman and Jeffrey's Final Thoughts (01:23:59) 
Final Thoughts (01:30:43)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Guests 
Jeffrey Harlan and Norman Lao  

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

Send us your feedback! 
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