Collaboration with Judith Barad, Ph.D., based on “Philosophy and Star Trek,” an introductory philosophy course taught by Dr. Barad at Indiana State University that uses the actions of the various Star Trek captains as a “how to” model to teach timeless ethical ideas to a general audience.
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The Ethics of Star Trek
Though the world of Star Trek is clearly set in the future, its attitudes, politics and culture have always reflected the mores of today. That’s why this phenomenal series has kept us fascinated, challenged, inspired — as well as entertained — for over 35 years. From the original adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy to the present-day saga of Voyager, Star Trek reminds us that even in the brave new world of the 24th century, the deepest questions of morality and ethics must still be answered. The fundamental principles that have always guided our heroes are indeed powerful enough to provide direction in our own lives.
But what exactly are the ethics of Star Trek? Where do they come from? Are these principles always the same from series to series? What do they mean for us today? Using episodes from all four Star Trek series, as well as examples from Plato, Aristotle, and other great philosophers from the past, THE ETHICS OF STAR TREK explores the answers to these and other ethical questions:
Who really benefits from justice: those who elect our political leaders, or those who support them?
How do you pull yourself together when you’ve been split in two?
If the Prime Directive is so inviolable, why does Kirk always seem to break it?
What’s more important, the intentions of our actions or the results we get?
Does absolute power really corrupt absolutely? What would you do with the power of Q?
Are rational beings the only life forms entitled to our respect?
What would it mean if, deep down, everyone really were a Ferengi?