Election 2016

Philosophical quandaries have been at the heart of all “Star Trek” series

newsweek.comStar Trek began as a network failure, then became one of the most lauded scienc fiction fanchises of our time. This article, and others that honor the space saga, is featured in Newsweek’s Special Issue Star Trek 50 Years: Celebrating America’s Original Sci-Fi Phenomenon, by Issue Editor Tim Baker.

For some Star Trek fans, the relationship between Kirk and Kant is obvious; for others (like your humble correspondent) philosophical education more or less begins and ends with Monty Python’s “Philosopher’s Drinking Song.” But whether we can cite pages from John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty or only know that according to Eric Idle, “After half a pint of shandy [he] grew particularly ill,” Trekkers are fans of one of the most philosophically minded bits of popular culture ever. In their book, Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant, Jason Eberl and Kevin Decker make it clear that from the very idea of the Federation to the foggy ethics of the Prime Directive, it’s been philosophical quandaries as well as priceless fight scenes that have kept fans hooked for half a century.

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