Exploration and Expanding Knowledge.
The worldview depicted in the Star Trek universe is grounded in the assumption that the pursuit of increased knowledge is intrinsically valuable, such that it is worth the risks and dangers inherent to exploration of the unknown. In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling examine this underlying assumption of the Star Trek universe: Does knowledge have intrinsic value or merely instrumental value? What ethical and practical constraints should be placed on the pursuit of knowledge? Should all knowledge be open-source and publicly available, or are some forms of knowledge tainted by having been achieved through ethically questionable methods? Join Mike and Zachary as they explore and expose the hidden tensions in the pursuit of knowledge and of the exploration of the unknown in the Star Trek universe.
Welcome to Episode 66 (00:01:07)
The Intrinsic Value of Knowledge as the Underlying Assumption of the Star Trek Universe (00:06:18)
Intrinsic Value vs. Instrumental Value (00:08:56)
The Risks of Exploration (00:15:10)
Starship Captains and Chutzpah (00:22:05)
Species Authenticity - The Rational Animal (00:23:46)
Ethical Constraints on the Intrinsic Value of Exploration (00:34:13)
Tainted Knowledge vs. Open-Source Knowledge (00:39:54)
Gnosticism and The Omega Directive (00:45:00)
Essential Attributes vs. Non-Essential Attributes (00:52:35)
The Unknown - We Don't Know What We Don't Know (01:07:07)
Science without Scientism (01:14:47)
Final Thoughts (01:17:47)
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling
Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Kit Loffstadt (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
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The Problem of the External World.
How can you know that the physical world you perceive around you is real and not an illusion, a dream, or a holodeck simulation? In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling debate the philosophical problem of the external world through the lens of Star Trek. Mike and Zachary discuss whether it is possible for characters in Star Trek to know for sure that they are not stuck in a holodeck, in a telepathic projection, or in an illusion created by a member of the Q Continuum.
Mike and Zachary consider several possible responses to the the problem of the external world from the history of philosophy, including Rene Descartes's response to his own radical Cartesian skepticism, Hilary Putnam's linguistic response to the "Brain in a Vat" argument, the pragmatic response of rejecting the problem outright, and George Berkeley's theory of idealism as a middle ground between skepticism and empirical knowledge of the external world.
Finally, Mike and Zachary re-imagine these classic philosophical arguments in Star Trek terms, including what Descartes's Meditations might have been like if written by the soft glow of the holodeck grid instead of by candlelight, considering Q as the omnipotent "evil genius" in Descartes's "Cogito ergo sum" ("I think, therefore, I am") argument, and re-framing Berkeley's argument for idealism to rely on all-perceiving beings from Star Trek, such as the Q or the Bajoran prophets.
Welcome to Episode 10 (00:01:20)
Introduction to the Problem of the External World (00:02:58)
Examples of the Problem in Star Trek (00:12:42)
Cartesian Skepticism (00:27:45)
Hilary Putnam on "Brain in a Vat" (00:48:22)
George Berkeley and Idealism (00:50:56)
The Q Continuum and Skepticism (00:53:46)
Final Thoughts (01:05:59)