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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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Nov 23, 2015

Consequentialism vs. Deontological Ethics.

In the Deep Space Nine episode "In the Pale Moonlight," was Captain Sisko justified in using less-then-honorable means to bring the Romulans into the war with the Dominion in order to end the war and save lives? Or were Sisko's actions unjustified because they violated universally valid moral rules and principles? 

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling analyze "In the Pale Moonlight" from the contrasting ethical theories of consequentalist ethics (or utilitarianism) and deontological ethics (or rule-based ethics). Mike and Zachary consider the applicability of different forms of consequentialism, such as Jeremy Bentham's quantitative approach to utilitarianism, John Start Mill's more qualitative approach to utilitarianism, and rule utilitarianism as a middle-ground between ethics emphasizing consequences and ethics emphasizing rules.

This episode of Meta Treks covers the crucial concepts of deontological/Kantian ethics, such as Kant's Categorical Imperative, the notion that some actions are intrinsically right or wrong regardless of consequences, and treating others as ends in themselves and not merely as means to your own ends. Mike and Zachary wrap up the conversation with a discussion of whether the justification for the Prime Directive is chiefly consequentialist or whether the Prime Directive, as the Federation's highest law or rule, is grounded in the intrinsic worth of the natural development of other worlds and cultures.

Chapters
Welcome to Episode 6 (00:01:06)
Discussing the CBS Star Trek Announcement (00:02:22)
Introducing the Topic (00:15:10)
Consequentialism (00:16:40)
Example - In The Pale Moonlight (00:19:31)
Utilitarianism (00:32:09)
Deontological Ethics (00:44:00)
Kantian Ethics (00:44:40)
The Categorical Imperative (00:49:00)
The Prime Directive (01:05:38)
Rule Utilitarianism (01:10:05)
Virtue Based Ethics (01:17:46)
Final Thoughts (01:20:06)

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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