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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: October, 2017
Oct 30, 2017

Vulcan Katras and the Mind-Body Problem.  

Episode 6 of Star Trek: Discovery, "Lethe," explored and expanded upon the metaphysics of Vulcan katras beyond what had been seen in previous iterations of Star Trek. But what exactly is a Vulcan katra and what properties does it have? From transferring consciousness from one Vulcan to another, to enabling a form of disembodied immortality, katras play an important role in Vulcan mysticism and metaphysics.  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison give a philosophical analysis of the metaphysics of Vulcan katras in relation to the mind-body problem. Is the katra a type of nonphysical substance, as Cartesian dualism would hold? Is the katra a biophysical or emergent property of the brain and its functioning? And is transferring one's katra, through a mind meld or otherwise, an actual transfer of consciousness to a new location, or is it more like backing up a copy of your hard drive to the cloud?  

Chapters 
Intro (00:01:20) 
"Lethe" and Sciencing the Katra in Discovery (00:04:29) 
Naturalizing the Katra and Alternative Theories (00:10:59) 
Examples of Katric Transfers in Star Trek (00:15:52) 
Are Katras Necessarily Dualist? (00:20:24) 
Is the Katra Living Consciousness? (00:27:57) 
Emerging Consciousness from Katra and Body (00:36:58) 
Is a Katra Divisible Into Parts? (00:48:48) 
What Happens to the Disembodied Katra? (00:55:17) 
Vulcan Immortality and Gnostic Knowledge (01:01:25) 
Touch Telepathy vs. Mind Meld by Remote (01:12:34) 
Closing (01:19:29)  

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) Mark Walker (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)

Oct 23, 2017

Deep Space Nine Season 5 - Essential Trek Philosophy.  

When people think of ethics in Star Trek, they often think primarily of ethical dilemmas, such as balancing the greater good of one group of people with the greater good of another group of people, or juxtaposing the rights of particular individuals with the common good. But season 5 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine takes a different approach to its exploration of ethics, using dramatic situations to explore not merely ethical dilemmas, but also ethically praiseworthy or blameworthy character traits of various Starfleet and non-Starfleet characters.  


In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling compare their choices for Essential Trek Philosophy from season 5 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. From the virtuous character traits of loyalty and fortitude in "The Ascent" to the ethics of genetic engineering in "Dr. Bashir, I Presume?", season 5 of Deep Space Nineuses conflict with the Dominion, the Klingons, and the Maquis, to explore the ethical status of various character traits while under pressure, and in a state of political and military conflict.  


Chapters 
Intro and Initial Thoughts on DS9 Season 5 (00:01:20) 
Children of Time (00:09:26) 
...Nor the Battle to the Strong (00:14:27) 
Let He Who Is Without Sin (00:28:41) 
The Ascent (00:39:10) 
The Ship (00:44:29) 
The Begotten (00:53:41) 
Dr. Bashir, I Presume? (01:00:05) 
Honorable Mentions (01:16:38) 
Recap and Final Thoughts (01:21:18) 
Closing (01:24:50)  

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) Mark Walker (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)

Oct 9, 2017

The Philosophy of Color in Star Trek.  

Star Trek: The Original Series is a colorful show, known for its striking set decorations and bold costuming, from the orange highlights on the Enterprise bridge to the primary colors of the Original Series uniforms, including the uniforms of the infamous Redshirts. But what exactly does it mean for a uniform to be red? Is redness a physical property of the uniform itself, or is redness an aspect of subjective mental experience for whomever observes the uniform? Can the uniform's color be reduced to its more basic physical properties or the basic properties of light itself (frequency, wavelength, and so on), or is color a fundamental part of reality, unable to be reduced to other physical properties? And does the property of "redness" exist as an abstract entity (similar to numbers or other abstract objects), or does color exist only in particular form within individual colorful objects like individual red uniforms?  

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the philosophy of color in the Star Trek universe. From the physics of light to the physiology of color perception, and from concrete examples to the ontology of abstract entities, Zachary and Mike examine why physics and physiology struggle to give a fully adequate account of the existence and nature of color.

Chapters 
Intro (0001:20) 
Is There a Philosophical Problem? (00:02:47) 
Why Is the Red Shirt Red? (00:07:19) 
Color Physicalism and the "Mystique" of Color Perception (00:18:19) 
Abstract Entities (00:27:04) 
A Red Shirt By Any Other Name (00:32:33) 
The Inverted Spectrum Thought Experiment (00:35:18) 
Color as an Emergent Property (00:44:20) 
Color Primitivism (00:46:57) 
Color Qualia (00:50:53) 
Color Fictionalism (00:52:41) 
Final Thoughts (01:00:52) 
Closing (01:07:39)  

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) Mark Walker (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)

Oct 2, 2017

Philosophical Themes in Star Trek: Discovery, Episodes 1 and 2.   

Every Star Trek television series is a mirror, reflecting and illuminating the moral dilemmas and the political issues of its time. The premier episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars," are no exception. While it is still too early to know yet what Star Trek: Discovery will eventually become, and the ongoing relevance it will have as current events unfold, it is possible, at least tentatively, to identify several philosophical and political themes. From the nature of leadership and political unity, to the gamesmanship of war in a state of mutual distrust, to race relations across political borders, Star Trek: Discovery boldly goes into the social and political unknown, providing 23rd-century commentary on our 21st-century world.  


In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling, fresh on the heels of the premier of Star Trek: Discovery, discuss their tentative interpretations of the philosophical and allegorical themes in "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars."  

Chapters 
Intro (00:01:20) 
Initial Thoughts About Star Trek: Discovery (00:06:16) 
Analogous Ideas and Hermeneutical Interpretation (00:11:20) 
Comparing Klingons (00:16:22) 
Preemptive War and the Hobbesian State of Nature (00:20:13) 
Klingon Messianic Restorationist (00:30:56) 
Nationalism vs. Multiculturalism (00:40:10) 
Touchstones to TOS, ENT, and Kelvin Movies (00:50:49) 
Michael Burnham and the Traumatic Chain (00:58:56) 
Striking Balance Between Emotion and Logic (01:05:25) 
The Contrasting Ethics of Captains (01:12:59) 
Geopolitical Diversity (01:16:05) 
Final Thoughts (01:25:19) 
Closing (01:31:59) 

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) Mark Walker (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)

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