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Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast

Meta Treks is a Trek.fm podcast dedicated to a deep examination of the philosophical ideas found in Star Trek. In each episode, Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison take you on a fascinating journey into the inner workings of Star Trek storytelling, deeper into subspace than you've ever traveled before.
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Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast
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Now displaying: July, 2017
Jul 31, 2017
Star Trek Philosophy of Education.  

An advanced future civilization such as the United Federation of Planets would surely have an equally advanced educational system. After all, we are told in Star Trek: The Next Generation that 24th century schoolchildren learn calculus in grade school aboard the Enterprise! But other than an accelerated math curriculum, what are the defining characteristics of the educational system and the philosophy of education within in the Star Trek universe?  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss 24th century philosophy of education. From Wesley Crusher's Starfleet Academy entrance exam and future educational technology, to issues of multiculturalism and pluralism in education aboard Deep Space Nine, Zachary and Mike go back to school for a refresher course on all things education in the Star Trek universe.  

Be sure to listen carefully! There will be a quiz afterward, proctored of course by Quark's alternate-timeline schoolteacher avatar from the Deep Space Nine episode "Children of Time"!  

Chapters 
Intro (00:01:20) 
Education Improves Over Time (00:05:32) 
The Role of Technology in Education (00:07:42) 
Starfleet Academy vs. Civilian Education (00:10:13) 
"Samaritan Snare" - Specialization vs. General Education (00:13:10) 
24th Century Life-Hacking - The Meaning of Life Won't Be on the Exam (00:17:10) 
Scrubbing Plasma Conduits - Work Ethic, Dirty Jobs, and Intrinsic/Extrinsic Rewards (00:21:27) 
Setting a High Bar and Taking Ownership (00:33:18) 
Educational Simulations and Learning by Doing - Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher (00:37:33) 
Competing Worldviews and Multicultural Education on Deep Space Nine (00:44:59) 
Star Trek EdTech (01:01:12) 
Like Magic - Educational and Technological Utopianism (01:12:08) 
24th Century Homeschooling - Educational Introverts and Extroverts (01:14:29) 
Final Thoughts (01:22:43) 
Closing (01:34:00)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)  
Jul 17, 2017
Narratives and Metanarratives in Star Trek.  

Throughout Western history, grand narratives, or metanarratives, have been used to define who we are and where we should be going as a people. These metanarratives have included things like the Enlightenment, the Scientific RevolutionDemocracyMarxismEmancipation, and many other competing metanarratives that have made up the tapestry of Western civilization.  

Star Trek, likewise, has its grand metanarratives, which tie together individual stories and narratives into a unified message about the future potential of humankind. These Star Trek metanarratives include things like technological progresspolitical unificationeliminating economic scarcity, and so on. But having seen the collapse of many of these grand narratives of Western civilization, or at least their dark underbellies, many people in today's postmodern times now take a skeptical view, or even a cynical one, about the plausibility of these idealistic grand metanarratives.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling, discuss the use of narratives and metanarratives in Star Trek, addressing the fundamental question of whether Star Trek's grand narratives will end up on the same ash heap of history as other discarded metanarratives of Western civilization, or whether the grand narratives of the Star Trek worldview have the staying power to persist into the 24th century and beyond.  

Chapters 
Intro (00:01:20) 
Distinguishing Between "Narratives" and "Metanarratives" in Star Trek (00:05:08) 
Collapse of the Grand Narratives of the Western World (00:12:08) 
Star Trek Snake Oil (00:14:57) 
The Power of Oratory - Motivating Change with Metanarratives (00:24:47) 
TNG "The Neutral Zone" - Timeless Ideals vs. Contemporary Metanarratives (00:32:08) 
The Importance of Critical Skepticism (00:45:23) 
DS9 "The Storyteller" - Telling a Great Story (00:50:58) 
TNG "The Inner Light" - Appeals to the Heart (00:57:28) 
Cultural Apathy - Working for the Weekend vs. Working for the Future (01:03:15) 
Non-Reductive Perspectivism - Embracing Grand Narratives (01:08:25) 
Hero of Your Own Story - The Center Seat vs. Scrubbing Plasma Conduits (01:13:24) 
Final Thoughts (01:20:12) 
Closing (01:29:53)  

Hosts 
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)  
Jul 3, 2017
Pen Pals.  

When Lt. Commander Data contacts a girl named "Sarjenka" from a pre-warp civilization in distress on his 24th-century space ham radio, it leads to a super-secret philosophical discussion about the nature of the Prime Directive in Captain Picard's quarters. Should the Prime Directive be interpreted strictly or loosely? How should Starfleet officers weigh the high-stakes, life-or-death consequences for an entire civilization against their responsibility and oath to uphold the Prime Directive? Would interpreting Sarjenka's "whisper in the dark" as a formal request for help count as "sophistry," as Captain Picard claims? And what role do friendships and emotions play in determining moral obligation in light of the Prime Directive?  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the second-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Pen Pals." But this is episode 73 of Meta Treks, and the number 73 has a very special meaning in Morse code in ham radio circles: "Best regards." Because Zachary himself has been a third-generation licensed ham radio operator since he was just a tad older than Sarjenka, this episode of Meta Treks debates the role and responsibilities of radio communication in the Star Trek universe, whether that newfangled subspace radio or good old-fashioned RF. Zachary and Mike also discuss Wesley Crusher's first command and what it means to have "command presence."  

Chapters 
Intro (00:01:35) 
Initial Thought on Pen Pals from TNG Season 2 (00:03:29) 
The Ham Radio Connection (00:07:50) 
Unusually High Stakes and the Philosophical Debate (00:17:14) 
"Obligations that go beyond duty..." (00:22:05) 
The Individual Positions of the Crew in the Debate (00:25:43) 
Worf Takes the Kantian Position (00:27:01) 
Picard's Argument for Causal Determinism (0029:59) 
Line Drawing Problem (00:35:28) 
Making the Decision: Command Presence and the Nature of Command (00:42:10) 
Principles vs. Consequences (00:49:07) 
Wesley's First Command (00:50:57) 
Riker's Advice: What Would Picard Do (00:59:17) 
Regulation and Communication (01:00:29) 
Subspace QSL Cards and Q Codes (01:03:31) 
Closing (01:07:33)  

Hosts 
Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison  

Production 
Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
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