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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: January, 2016
Jan 25, 2016

The Nature of Consciousness.

What is the nature of consciousness and what is its relation to the physical world? In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison explore the many ways that the nature of consciousness is portrayed in Star Trek. Focusing on the "hard problem" of consciousness (how subjective experience arises out of physical systems), Zachary and Mike explore different philosophical theories of consciousness, such as: mind-body dualism, physicalist theories of consciousness (identity theory, behaviorism, functionalism, non-reductive physicalism, and emergentism), and the problem of mental causation. Zachary and Mike also debate forms of consciousness found uniquely in Star Trek, such as the joint consciousness of the Trill, the collective consciousness of the Borg, the consciousness produced by Data's positronic brain, and the dualist nature of Spock's katra.

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 13 (00:01:08)
Winner of the Meta Treks iTunes Review Contest (00:02:54)
The Hard Problem of Consciousness (00:08:14)
Consciousness Stories in Star Trek (00:11:40)
What is it like to be a [fill in the blank]? (00:14:03)
Trill Consciousness (00:22:42)
The Borg and Collective Consciousness (00:29:01)
Mind-Body Dualism and Spock's Katra (00:35:14)
Mental Causation and the Problem of Causal Exclusion (00:45:03)
Non-Reductive Physicalism (00:50:20)
Identity Theory and Data's Positronic Brain (00:57:21)
Behaviorism and Data's Yellow Tears (01:04:19)
Emergentism (01:14:18)
(Fully) Functionalism (01:16:53)
Final Thoughts (01:23:09)

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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Contact Form: http://www.trek.fm/contact 
Visit the Trek.fm website at http://www.trek.fm/
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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
Jan 18, 2016

The Meaning of Life. 

Perhaps the most fundamental philosophical question, the most important question of the human condition, is the question, "What is the meaning of life?" In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling explore competing philosophical theories about the meaning of life within the Star Trek universe. Topics covered include the distinction between universal meaning and subjective meaning, meaning as progress and the Federation's progress narrative, colonialism and criticism of the progress narrative, nihilism and the lack of meaning, existentialism and self-chosen individual or cultural meaning, theism and religious meaning, finding meaning in a galactic cultural melting pot, and new questions of meaning in the 21st century that the upcoming Star Trek 2017 series might consider. 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 12 (00:01:15)
Introducing the Topic (00:03:18)
Two Approaches: Capital-M "Meaning" vs. lowercase-m "meaning" (00:05:53)
Metanarratives and Peace (00:09:09)
A Crisis of Meaning in Star Trek? (00:13:58)
The Star Trek Answer: Meaning as Progress (00:17:32)
Star Trek Beyond: Colonialism and Criticism of the Progress Narrative (00:23:21)
Nihilism, Meaninglessness, and Suicide (00:34:06)
Existentialism and Self-Chosen Meaning (00:42:34)
Theism and Religious Meaning (00:47:40)
Meaning in a Cultural Melting Pot (00:53:27)
Meaning in the 21st Century and Star Trek 2017 (00:57:02)
Final Thoughts (01:00:32)

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)

Send us your feedback!
Twitter: @trekfm 
Contact Form: http://www.trek.fm/contact 
Visit the Trek.fm website at http://www.trek.fm/
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
Jan 4, 2016

Exocomps and Artificial Intelligence. 

Is it possible for non-biological beings such as androids, robots, or holograms to think? In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison explore the arguments for and against the possibility of artificial intelligence. Using the TNG episode "The Quality of Life" as a discussion springboard, Zachary and Mike cover Alan Turing and the Turing Test for artificial intelligence, the mind as a digital computer, Turing machines and emulation, Frank Jackson on qualia and subjective experience, and a Klingon-inspired retelling of John Searle's famous "Chinese Room" thought experiment as an objection to the possibility of artificial intelligence. 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 11 (00:01:05)
Synopsis of "Quality of Life" (00:01:37)
Artificial Intelligence in Star Trek and the Definition of Life (00:03:40)
Spontaneity and Beards (00:23:51)
Alan Turing and The Turing Test (00:30:06)
Turing Machines and Emulation (00:45:47)
Frank Jackson on Qualia and Subjective Experience (01:03:28)
John Searle and the "Chinese (Klingon) Room" Objection (01:06:19)
Final Thoughts (01:19:20)

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 
Contact Form: http://www.trek.fm/contact 
Visit the Trek.fm website at http://www.trek.fm/
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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