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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
May 9, 2016

The Industrial Design Philosophy of Star Trek. 

The tools, manufactured objects, and environments in Star Trek have many influences: futurism, minimalism, mid-century modernism, ergonomics, and transhumanism, to name a few. In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison examine the industrial design philosophy of Star Trek. From its technological and social progressivism to its roots in 1960s counterculture, Zachary and Mike explore the implicit values and assumptions behind the industrial design philosophy of Star Trek. Zachary and Mike also debate the transformative potential of technology and its influence on the relationship between leisure and labor, both in the Star Trek universe and for us today. 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 27 (00:01:08)
Initial Thoughts (00:01:54)
The Original Series - Design Philosophy and Technological Progressiveness (00:04:14)
The Next Generation - User-friendliness and the Transformative Power of Technology (00:07:55)
From TOS to TNG - From Jelly Beans to Touch Screens (00:12:42)
The Whole Earth Catalog - 1960s Counterculture, Tools, and Technology (00:15:05)
The Amplification Effect of Technology - The U.S.S. Bicycle (00:16:24)
From Communes to Online Communities to Starship Crews (00:20:17)
Can Technology Transform the Human Condition? (00:21:13)
Okudagram Funny Cat Videos (00:40:57)
Using Tools to Change Your Life, and the World (00:42:51)
Painting, Classical Music, and Shakespeare - The Liberal Arts in Star Trek (00:44:34)
24th Century Design - Flying a Starship Laying Down (00:50:34)
Learning about Cultural Values from Designed Objects (00:52:24)
Designed Objects in Star Trek (00:58:21)
Uniquely Voyager Design? (01:04:06)
Final Thoughts (01:12:38)

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 2, 2016

Euthanasia in Star Trek. 

In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, we debate the ethical issue of euthanasia in Star Trek. From the flashback scene of Dr. McCoy removing his father from life support in Star Trek V, to the ritual suicide practices of various alien races, we examine a variety of examples of euthanasia in Star Trek. We also cover several key philosophical distinctions related to euthanasia, such as the distinction between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia and the distinction between active and passive euthanasia, along with competing arguments for and against euthanasia from the different moral standpoints of consequentialism, rule-based ethics, and virtue ethics.  

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 26 (00:02:02)
Greek Etymology of "Euthanasia" - "Good Death" (00:04:45)
Examples of Euthanasia in Star Trek (00:05:29)
Euthanasia in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (00:07:51)
Motivations for Euthanasia - Ending Suffering and Preserving Dignity (00:10:06)
Klingon Euthanasia - A Glorious Death (00:13:50)
Euthanasia and Cultural Relativism (00:18:29)
The Value of Life - Intrinsic Value vs. Instrumental Value (00:19:55)
Voyager "Death Wish" - Is an Immortal Life Worth Living? (00:26:13)
Voyager "Emanations" - Moral Judgments About Other Cultures (00:33:45)
Voyager "Coda" - Euthanizing Captain Janeway (00:40:00)
Key Distinctions - Voluntary/Involuntary Euthanasia and Active/Passive Euthanasia (00:47:15)
Distinguishing Euthanasia, Killing, Murder, and Suicide (00:58:04)
Final Thoughts (01:09:55)  

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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Apr 18, 2016

Risa and Hedonism. 

What role does the pleasure planet of Risa play in the ethics of Star Trek? Is Risa the ultimate hedonistic escape from the moralistic constraints of life in the Federation? Or is Risa the ultimate embodiment of the Federation's ideals of tolerance and acceptance? In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss Risa, hedonism, and the clash of Federation values seen in the Deep Space Nine episode "Let He Who Is Without Sin." Zachary and Mike cover the different traditions of hedonism as expressed by the ancient Greek philosophers Aristippus and Epicurus, the value of different kinds of pleasures as expressed by the utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill, and the critique of morality based on fear and pleasure as expressed by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Finally, Zachary and Mike explore the most fundamental Risean question of all, "Is it the quantity of the horga'hns or the quality of the jamaharon?" 

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 25 (00:01:07)
Initial Thoughts - Where Does Risa Fit into Federation Morality? (00:03:32)
Hedonism and DS9 "Let He Who is Without Sin" (00:4:20)
Risa Episodes in Star Trek (00:05:52)
Is Risa an Escape from Federation Values, or their Ultimate Embodiment? (00:11:23)
Hedonism - Aristippus  vs. Epicurus (00:16:09)
The Outskirts of Risa (00:19:37)
The Subjectivity of Pleasure - Fair Haven as Paradise? (00:24:47)
John Stuart Mill - The Quantity of Horga'hns vs. the Quality of the Jamaharon (00:27:06)
Fullerton and Nietzsche - A Clash of Federation Moralities  (00:31:12)
Nietzsche, Morality, and the Will to Power (00:37:23)
Falling Short - Hypocrisy and the Ad Hominem Fallacy (00:42:46)
Clever Beasts - Nietzsche on Deconstructing Morality (00:47:47)
Nietzsche on Pleasure - The Apollonian (Federation) Standpoint vs. The Dionysian (Risean) Standpoint (00:53:47)
Being Constrained by Fear (01:10:33)
Final Thoughts (01:14:55) 

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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Apr 11, 2016

The Bonding.  

When Lieutenant Marla Aster is killed unexpectedly during an away mission under Lieutenant Worf's command, Worf takes young Jeremy Aster under his wing by participating in the Klingon ritual known as "R'uustai" ("The Bonding"). In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling explore the philosophical themes of death and loss. Mike and Zachary discuss meaning and the existential absurdity of life and death, the sociological and cultural role of rituals, Jeremy Aster's escapism and the illusion of happiness, the finality of death, and the sense of powerlessness in the face of death. Finally, Mike and Zachary continue the turbolift debate between Captain Picard and Counselor Troi about the wisdom of allowing children to live aboard a starship.  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 24 (00:01:07) 
Synopsis of TNG "The Bonding" (00:06:00) 
Initial Thoughts (00:06:46) 
Death, Meaning, and the Absurd (00:12:20) 
Emotions and Death (00:16:47) 
Worf and Jeremy Aster (00:21:55) 
The Role of Ritual (00:25:43) 
Death, Pluralism, and Cultural Relativism (00:30:31) 
Exploration and Meaning - The Challenger Explosion (00:41:21) 
The Finality of Death (00:43:11) 
The Role of Death in Life (00:45:25) 
Escapism and the Illusion of Happiness (00:48:22) 
Subjective Meaning vs. Objective Meaning (00:52:18) 
Deep Space Nine - "It's Only a Paper Moon" (00:57:20) 
Cross-Cultural Connections (01:03:45) 
Children on the Enterprise - A City in Space (01:09:53) 
Final Thoughts (01:18:41) 

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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Apr 4, 2016

Vulcan Philosophy and Spinoza.  

Meta Treks hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss aspects of Vulcan philosophy, such as logic and IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations). Zachary and Mike examine the philosophical roots of Vulcan philosophy in the work of the Western rationalist philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza's greatest work, Ethics, contains many aspects of Vulcan philosophy, such as logical deduction from first principles and axioms, determinism (or faith that the universe will unfold as it should), infinity and diversity within one infinite and unbound substance, and the suppression of harmful emotions. Given the many connections between Vulcan philosophy and Spinoza, Zachary and Mike are left wondering, "How exactly did those first Vulcan visitors to Earth manage to snag a copy of Spinoza's Ethics to take with them back home to Vulcan?"  

Chapters 
Welcome to Episode 23 (00:1:07) 
IDIC in The Animated Series (00:02:07) 
Vulcan Stoicism (00:03:18) 
Star Trek VI - "Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not its end." (00:06:01) 
Spinoza and Vulcan Philosophy - Vulcan Rationalism (00:08:11) 
Faith that the Universe Will Unfold as it Should (00:15:55) 
Spinoza and Vulcan Philosophy - One Unbound and Infinite Substance (00:18:53) 
Pantheism and Environmentalism (00:22:09) 
Vulcan Diversity (00:24:43) 
IDIC and Deep Interconnectedness (00:27:05) 
Spinoza and Vulcan Philosophy - Suppression of Harmful Emotions (00:29:55) 
Determinism + Logic + IDIC + Suppression of Emotions = Spinoza (00:33:11) 
Leonard Nimoy Narrates the Spinoza's Ethics Audiobook (00:35:37) 
Mind/Body Dual Aspect Theory and Vulcan Touch Telepathy (00:39:10) 
Vulcan Cultural Enlightenment - Taking Spinoza and IDIC Seriously (00:46:33) 
Final Thoughts (01:08:00)  

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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Mar 28, 2016

Star Trek IV and Environmental Ethics.  


In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling explore the issues of animal rights and environmental ethics in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In the wake of a recent announcement that Sea World is ceasing its captive orca (killer whale) breeding program, Mike and Zachary consider the possible justification for considering whales (and fire ants!) as beings entitled to moral consideration. From whale consciousness and intelligence, to whales' ability to feel pain, to whale pods and the ethics of care, Mike and Zachary have a whale of a time discussing environmental ethics down in Cetacean Ops.

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 22 and Initial Thoughts (00:01:10) 
Changing Sensibilities - Whale Shows and Breeding in Captivity (00:04:56) 
Synopsis of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (00:10:00) 
Whale Consciousness and Intelligence - Kantian Ethics (00:12:22) 
Whale Pain and Pleasure - Utilitarian Ethics (00:22:27) 
Whale Communication - The Turing Test (00:26:43) 
The Environmental Movement and the Biosphere as a Whole (00:35:10) 
Critiquing the Romanticism of Nature (00:42:03) 
The Value of Nature - Intrinsic Value vs. Usefulness for Humans (00:46:12) 
Whale Pods and Care Ethics (00:50:02) 
Animal Ethics and the Burden of Proof (00:52:39) 
Sentimentalism - Warm Fuzzy Whales vs. Fire Ants and Snakes (00:57:29)
Rewriting Star Trek IV - "Save the Fire Ants!" (1:02:48)
Final Thoughts (01:03:24) 

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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Mar 21, 2016

Manu Intiraymi.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, we're joined by Manu Intiraymi, also known as "Icheb" on Star Trek: Voyager. Together we talk about Manu's experiences joining the Voyager cast, the role of Icheb in the Voyager family, and the evolution of Icheb's character in the fan film Star Trek: Renegades. We also talk about Manu's latest film project, The Circuit, a multi-genre anthology film starring several Star Trek alumni. We conclude with some philosophical musings on the best and worst of human nature, and with some final thoughts on the differences and similarities between Manu the person and Icheb the fictional character.

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 21 (00:01:10)
Introducing Manu Intiraymi (00:04:10)
A Clint Eastwood Story (00:05:03)
Joining the Voyager Cast (00:07:32)
Icheb and the Voyager Family (00:11:56)
The Meaningfulness of Being in Star Trek (00:18:40)
Character Evolution for Icheb in Renegades (00:25:21)
Future Directions for Star Trek (00:29:40)
The Best and Worst of Human Nature (00:35:44)
The Convention Scene and The Circuit (00:38:28)
Acting vs. Producing (00:47:15)
The Concept of The Circuit (00:51:39)
Following Manu and The Circuit on Social Media (00:59:47)
Final Thoughts - Manu the Person vs. Icheb the Character (01:02:36)

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)

Send us your feedback!
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Mar 14, 2016

Preemptive War and Star Trek Into Darkness.  

Star Trek has a long tradition of dealing with ethical, social, and political issues in the real world, and Star Trek Into Darkness is no different. One of the most important issues in the world today is how far a society should go to protect itself. What freedoms should we be willing to give up for sake of safety and security? Should a government be allowed to spy on its own citizens? And is it morally and ethically permissible to start a preemptive war with a real or perceived enemy? Star Trek Into Darkness tackles this last question head-on through Admiral Marcus's attempt to start a preemptive war against the Klingons. In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling examine the ethical issue of preemptive war as the principle ethical dilemma in Star Trek Into Darkness.  

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 20 (00:01:07)
Preemptive War and Star Trek Into Darkness (00:03:12)
The Portrayal of Khan (00:07:28)
Synopsis of Star Trek Into Darkness (00:09:38)
Star Trek Into Darkness and the Post-9/11 World (00:11:52)
Preemptive War - Consequentialism vs. Care Ethics (00:20:14)
The Trolley Problem, a.k.a. The Shuttlecraft Problem (00:28:27)
Preemptive War and Deontological/Kantian Ethics (00:38:08)
Militarism and Fear of the Klingons (00:40:34)
Final Thoughts (00:53:39)

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!
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Mar 7, 2016

Hermeneutics in Star Trek.  

Hermeneutics is the art and science of meaning and textual interpretation. In this episode of Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss issues of meaning and interpretation in Star Trek. From how to interpret Bajoran sacred texts and prophecies, to the interpretation of Federation law and Starfleet regulations, to the meaning of the Star Trek franchise itself for us today, Zachary and Mike cover a range of philosophical issues related to meaning in Star Trek, such as: original meaning vs. new interpretations, literal meaning vs. metaphorical meaning, the relationship between interpretation and hierarchical power structures, changes in meaning due to evolving language, and various analytical techniques used in hermeneutics.  

Chapters

Welcome to Episode 19 (00:01:07)
Finding New Meaning in Classic Trek (00:04:37)
Hermeneutics - Meaning and Textual Interpretation (00:09:39)
Original Meaning vs. New Interpretations (00:12:44)
Interpreting Religious Texts - Bajoran Prophecies (00:27:57)
Competing Interpretations and Organizational Hierarchy (00:33:21)
Literal Meaning vs Metaphorical Meaning (00:40:39)
Examples of Bajoran Prophecies (00:44:47)
Evolving Language and Changes in Meaning (00:46:37)
Techniques of Hermeneutical Analysis (00:49:14)
Interpreting Federation Law and Starfleet Regulations (00:59:15)
Guiding Principles for Hermeneutical Analysis (01:07:44)
Other Examples of Hermeneutics in Star Trek (01:12:03)
Final Thoughts (01:21:29)

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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Feb 29, 2016

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. 

Chapters
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)

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!
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Feb 22, 2016

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. 

Chapters
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)

Hosts
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison

Guest
Dennis Castello
 
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!
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Feb 15, 2016

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

Chapters
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)

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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Feb 8, 2016

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. 

Chapters 
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) 

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! 
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Contact Form: http://www.trek.fm/contact 
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Feb 1, 2016

"Living Witness" and Historical Evidence. 

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."

Chapters
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)

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!
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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)

Send us your feedback!
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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

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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 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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