To Boldly Think?: The Philosophical Conundrums of Star Trek
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!
Each 2.5-hour class will incorporate episode viewings, lecture, and group discussion.
A finalized syllabus and more information about how and where to access any reading assignments will be available prior to the beginning of the course, per instructors’ directions.
Refunds are available when requested before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. A $25 administrative fee will apply.