To Boldly Think?: The Philosophical Conundrums of Star Trek

Rendering of outerspace with Star Trek logo

Class Dates

October 08, 2018 to October 29, 2018

Meeting Days

Mondays, 5-7:30 p.m.


The Loft Cinema



Course Instructor(s)

Science fiction at its best confronts us with situations so new and outside our ordinary ways of thinking about the world that it is a natural source of puzzlement and questioning. In this course, we will wrangle with a range of philosophical questions prompted by both classic and recent stories from Star Trek. Can artificial beings (like Data, or Voyager’s Doctor) really count as people in the same way that biological beings (like humans, Vulcans, and Klingons) are? When Riker gets split in a transporter accident, which of the two resulting people – or neither – is really Riker? When Picard is assimilated into the Borg as Locutus, is he still also Picard? Is Kirk right to insist that he – that we – need pain and struggle in our lives? And is Spock right to claim that “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”? Join us to discuss these philosophical queries and more!