Poker, Virtue Ethics, and the Prisoner's Dilemma.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, we see a lot of poker: from Commander Riker cleaning house, to Data learning how to bluff, to Geordi claiming not to cheat with his VISOR. But exactly why do we see so much poker in Star Trek? What important character traits or skills does the game of poker help instill in a young Starfleet officer? Can any important lessons in ethics or diplomacy be learned from playing poker? How are those character traits or skills different from those learned from playing other games, such as three-dimensional chess? And how does poker relate to game-like scenarios in ethics, such as the Prisoner's Dilemma? In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling tackle the philosophy and ethics of poker aboard the Enterprise-D. From virtue ethics to game theory, Mike and Zachary bluff their way through a discussion of the deeper significance of poker in the Star Trek universe.
Welcome to Episode 18 (00:01:07)
Intro to the Topic (00:01:19)
Meta Treks Reviews on iTunes (00:05:04)
Poker Episodes in Star Trek: The Next Generation (00:08:38)
Virtue Ethics - Does Poker Cultivate Desirable Character Traits? (00:27:15)
Game Theory and the Prisoner's Dilemma (00:46:55)
"Chain of Command" and the Prisoner's Dilemma (00:55:47)
Final Thoughts (01:02:23)
Media Ecology with Dennis Castello.
In the 24th century, is the holodeck the primary mode of media creation and consumption? And if so, what effect does the holographic medium have on Federation society as a whole? In this episode, Meta Treks editor and producer Dennis Castello joins hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison behind the microphone to discuss the sociological sub-discipline of media ecology.
Media ecology holds that the different types of media a society consumes influence the behavior of society as a whole. This core idea of media ecology is summed up with the phrase, "The medium is the message." Dennis Castello provides an overview of media ecology and its core concepts, followed by a discussion about the role media ecology can play in analyzing different types of media within the Star Trek universe.
Welcome to Episode 17 (00:01:08)
Introducing Dennis Castello (00:01:44)
Media Ecology - The Medium is the Message (00:05:00)
Changing Media Over Time (00:06:54)
Type of Media - Slow vs. Fast Media (00:08:57)
Societal Trend Towards Faster Media (00:12:41)
Content Consumers and Content Creators (00:14:33)
Cycles of Media Technology - Creativity vs. Norms (00:16:18)
Media Ecology and Photography (00:21:40)
Primary Orality vs. Alphabetic Societies and Abstract Thought (00:27:08)
Is Media Ecology Normative or Descriptive? (00:30:19)
Criticisms of Media Ecology - Technological Determinism (00:33:47)
Changing Media - Political Discourse and Star Trek Discussion (00:35:34)
Media Ecology Inside and Outside the Star Trek Universe (00:44:47)
Holography as the Federation's Dominant Medium (00:46:36)
23rd Century Dashcam? (00:56:22)
"Photons Be Free" and Holographic Rights (01:07:37)
Final Thoughts (01:12:14)
Alternate Realities vs. Alternate Timelines.
In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling have a followup discussion on the distinction between an "alternate reality" and an "alternate timeline" in response to a challenge by Norman Lao and Jeffrey Harlan on their recent episode of Standard Orbit (Standard Orbit 115: "Wibby Wobbly Primey Wimey").
Mike and Zachary provide a philosophical analysis of different senses of the terms "alternate reality" and "alternate timeline," while also exploring and contrasting key examples of these senses in Star Trek. Examples covered in this episode of Meta Treks include the prime timeline vs. the Abramsverse timeline, the episodes "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "Parallels" from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the Mirror Universe as seen in The Original Series, Deep Space Nine, and Enterprise.
Here is the link to the related episode, Standard Orbit 115 ("Wibbly Wobbly Primey Wimey"): http://trek.fm/standard-orbit/115
Welcome to Episode 16 (00:01:07)
Related Episodes of Meta Treks (00:05:18)
Bryan Fuller and Star Trek 2017 (00:07:54)
Initial Thoughts - Alternate Reality vs. Alternate Timeline (00:10:33)
Two Senses of "Alternate Reality" (00:12:25)
Personal Identity and Alternate Realities (00:19:01)
Universe or Multiverse? (00:25:27)
Yesterday's Enterprise (00:26:57)
Two Senses of "Alternate Timeline" (00:28:36)
Contrasting "Yesterday's Enterprise" with Star Trek 2009 (00:32:34)
Reconciling "Alternate Reality" and "Alternate "Timeline" - A Hybrid Approach (00:34:52)
Four-Dimensionalism and Alternate Timelines (00:38:53)
Does a Common Origin Point Settle the Issue? (00:43:45)
The Origin of the Mirror Universe (00:47:46)
How to Analyze Examples in Star Trek - What Questions to Ask (00:51:33)
Final Thoughts (00:57:40)
The Paradox of the Philosopher King.
In the third-season TOS episode "Plato's Stepchildren," the Platonians claim to have modeled their society on the ideals of the Greek philosopher Plato. Parmen, the leader of the Platonians, even claims to be a philosopher king as described in Plato's dialog, the Republic. In this episode of Meta Treks, find out what the Plutonians got right and what they got wrong about Plato's philosophy.
Hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss Plato's Paradox of the Philosopher King in "Plato's Stepchildren" and other places in the Star Trek universe, such as: General Martok as leader of the Klingon High Council, Commander Riker as the captain who wouldn't sit down in the Big Chair, Captain Picard as the captain who wouldn't become an admiral (or a badmiral), and Quark's brother Rom as the unlikeliest candidate for Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance.
Welcome to Episode 15 (00:01:07)
Meta Treks iTunes Reviews (00:02:25)
The Paradox of the Philosopher King (00:06:56)
Star Trek and the Ideal Society (00:08:43)
Not Seeking Power for its Own Sake (00:11:38)
Philosopher Kings in Star Trek: Martok (00:12:52)
Captain Picard - Authority from Above or Below (00:15:57)
Authority and Hierarchy (00:18:25)
Commander Riker - The Captain Who Wouldn't Sit Down (00:20:24)
Plato and Forms - Justice in Itself (00:21:48)
Plato and the Allegory of the Cave (00:29:46)
Philosopher Kings or Bumbling Fools? (00:35:50)
Plato's Stepchildren (00:37:22)
Kirk and Uhura - Social Commentary and Society's Ideals (00:38:39)
The Platonians - Getting Plato Right and Getting Plato Wrong (00:40:23)
Rom - The Paradox of the Philanthropist Grand Nagus (01:00:57)
Final Thoughts (01:05:21)
"Living Witness" and Historical
Meta Treks hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling discuss historical evidence and the philosophy of history through the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Living Witness." Topics in this episode include weighing competing interpretations of historical evidence, reinterpreting accepted historical accounts, the reliability or unreliability of first-person accounts, uncovering lost or suppressed historical perspectives, historical revisionism vs. historical context, genealogy and reconstructing the past, and the distinction between historical "facts" and historical "meaning."
Welcome to Episode 14 (00:01:07)
Synopsis of "Living Witness" (00:08:14)
Historical Evidence and Multiple Interpretations (00:17:33)
Re-interpreting the Accepted Historical Account (00:25:00)
Questioning the Doctor: The Reliability of First-Person Accounts (00:27:53)
Uncovering the Lost Perspectives (00:34:51)
Historical Revisionism vs. Historical Context (00:36:48)
Genealogy and Reconstructing the Past (00:40:45)
Two Interpretations of "Living Witness" (00:43:46)
The Voyager Event: Historical Facts vs. Historical Meaning (00:47:57)
Final Thoughts (00:56:33)