As characters in Star Trek change over time (think TV Picard versus Movie Picard), what accounts for the persistence of those characters' personal identity?
In this episode of Meta Treks, the continuation of a two-part discussion on the problem of identity in Star Trek, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison consider various responses to the problem of personal identity, including John Locke's views on memory and the continuity of consciousness, David Hume's bundle theory of the self, and Rene Descartes's views on mind-body dualism and personal identity.
Zachary and Mike close out their discussion of personal identity by considering identity issues in alternate timelines, counterfactual scenarios, and the Mirror Universe. Can David Lewis's possible worlds interpretation of counterfactuals, along with Saul Kripke's account of personal names as rigid designators, explain the identity of Star Trek characters across alternate timelines? Is it possible to give any account of why Star Trek characters are somehow connected to their Mirror Universe counterparts? Join Zachary and Mike as they wrestle with these issues in personal identity and more, all told through examples taken directly from the Star Trek universe.
Welcome to Episode 5 (00:01:06)
Introducing the Topic (00:02:23)
Examples of Personal Identity in Star Trek (00:10:40)
Numerical Identity (00:12:56)
Continuity of Consciousness (00:17:57)
The Bundle Theory (00:26:50)
Alternate Universes (00:52:56)
Names as Rigid Designators (01:00:46)
Final Thoughts (01:11:21)
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)
The Problem of Identity.
In this episode of Meta Treks, part one of a two-part discussion on the problem of identity in Star Trek, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling consider the metaphysical problem of identity over time as it applies to inanimate objects. As objects undergo changes over time, do they remain the same objects or do they become different objects? Mike and Zachary reinterpret the classic philosophical example of the Ship of Theseus, in which components of a ship are replaced one at a time, in Star Trek terms as the "Starship of Theseus," asking whether the Enterprise remains the same ship following repairs or a refit.
Mike and Zachary introduce the problem of identity with an overview of Leibniz's Law and the numerical identity of indiscernible objects, followed by a discussion of different possible responses to the problem of identity over time: the continuity-of-change response, four-dimensionalism and time slices, and Aristotle's four types of causes (material cause, formal cause, efficient cause, and final cause).
Welcome to Meta Treks 4 (00:01:07)
Introduction to the Topic (00:02:10)
The Ship of Theseus (00:10:18)
The Starship of Theseus (00:13:35)
Resolving the Identity Problem (00:29:17)
Continuity of Changes (00:29:51)
Four Dimensionalism (00:37:18)
Aristotle's Answers (00:46:37)
Final Thoughts (01:00:43)
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling