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Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast

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Meta Treks is a 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.

Meta Treks is a 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 is a 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.






90: ODD (Omniscience Deficit Disorder)

The Q Continuum. From the The Original Series onward, Star Trek has had a preoccupation with false gods, culminating in the introduction of Q and the Q Continuum in Star Trek: The Next Generation. But although members of the Q Continuum have many of the properties usually ascribed to deities—such as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and so on—do they posses these qualities to sufficient degree to be considered genuine deities of the Star Trek universe? In this episode of Meta...


89: Faustian Horseback Ride

Philosophical Themes in "The Cage." In the opening scenes of "The Cage," the unaired pilot episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, Captain Christopher Pike is having an existential crisis, feeling the weight of his responsibility as a starship captain, being responsible for the lives of the people under his command, and longing for a different kind of life (being home on Earth with a picnic lunch and horseback riding every day, or perhaps becoming an Orion trader). When Captain Pike is...


88: Spock's Altered States of Consciousness

The Original Series Season 1 - Essential Trek Philosophy. The entire Star Trek franchise, with over 700 television episodes and 13 feature films (to date), owes its existence to the strength of season 1 of Star Trek: The Original Series. If season 1 hadn't been as strong as it was, we wouldn't have the Star Trek franchise we know and love today. Season 1 of The Original Series isn't just strong dramatically, however. It is also strong philosophically, episode by episode exploring abstract...


87: These Are the Redacted Voyages

Philosophical Themes in "These Are the Voyages." In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison explore the philosophical themes in the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise, "These Are the Voyages." While "These Are the Voyages" remains controversial with fans of Enterprise because of the focus on Commander Riker and Counselor Troi aboard the Enterprise-D, "These Are the Voyages" had the weighty task of book-ending 18 continuous years of Star Trek on television,...


86: Pandora's Stasis Chamber

Good vs. Evil in Star Trek. We generally understand the meaning of "good," whether in the sense of following the rules or in the sense of minimizing the suffering of others. But, paradoxically, we understand the nature of "evil" to a far lesser degree. While Star Trek tends to shy away from making strict moral judgments, opting instead to humanize its villains by explaining the psychological motivations for their actions or the roots of those actions in past experiences, Star Trek does,...


85: The Pen Is Mightier Than the Bat'leth

The Visitor. In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the philosophical themes in the fourth-season Deep Space Nine episode, "The Visitor." Inspired by Jake Sisko's passion for writing, Zachary and Mike discuss the relationship between creative writing, lived experience, and what the German philosopher Martin Heidegger called "Being-in-the-World." Zachary and Mike also discuss "The Visitor" as a phenomenological metaphor for various aspects of human...


84: Meta-Metaphoric

TNG Season 5 - Essential Trek Philosophy. In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling compare their top picks for Essential Trek Philosophy from season 5 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. From transhumanism and a positive spin on genetic engineering in "The Masterpiece Society" to the philosophy of language and an exploration of non-referential language in "Darmok," season five contains some of the philosophically richest episodes in all of Star Trek: The Next...


83: Caesar of the Stars

The Conscience of the King. To what extent does a person remain morally responsible for his or her actions over time, even after many years or after changes in character and experience? Can people ever change who they fundamentally are inside, or do they merely become better actors playing different roles? In "The Conscience of the King" (Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1), Captain Kirk suspects the 23rd-Century Shakespearean actor Anton Karidian of actually being the...


82: Hasta La Vista, Baby

Drone Warfare and "The Arsenal of Freedom." When the Enterprise is sent to the Lorenz Cluster in search of the missing U.S.S. Drake, the crew gets drawn into a life-and-death game of cat and mouse with the demonstration model of an ancient automated weapon system, including increasingly powerful and adaptive autonomous sentry probes. While the concept of automated drone warfare may have been closer to science and military fiction in the late 1980s during the first season of Star Trek: The...


81: Katric Six Pack

Vulcan Katras and the Mind-Body Problem. Episode 6 of Star Trek: Discovery, "Lethe," explored and expanded upon the metaphysics of Vulcan katras beyond what had been seen in previous iterations of Star Trek. But what exactly is a Vulcan katra and what properties does it have? From transferring consciousness from one Vulcan to another, to enabling a form of disembodied immortality, katras play an important role in Vulcan mysticism and metaphysics. In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts...


80: The Pros and the Khans

Deep Space Nine Season 5 - Essential Trek Philosophy. When people think of ethics in Star Trek, they often think primarily of ethical dilemmas, such as balancing the greater good of one group of people with the greater good of another group of people, or juxtaposing the rights of particular individuals with the common good. But season 5 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine takes a different approach to its exploration of ethics, using dramatic situations to explore not merely ethical dilemmas, but...


79: The Redshirt Edition

The Philosophy of Color in Star Trek. Star Trek: The Original Series is a colorful show, known for its striking set decorations and bold costuming, from the orange highlights on the Enterprise bridge to the primary colors of the Original Series uniforms, including the uniforms of the infamous Redshirts. But what exactly does it mean for a uniform to be red? Is redness a physical property of the uniform itself, or is redness an aspect of subjective mental experience for whomever observes the...


78: How Do You Say 'Wall' in Klingon?

Philosophical Themes in Star Trek: Discovery, Episodes 1 and 2. Every Star Trek television series is a mirror, reflecting and illuminating the moral dilemmas and the political issues of its time. The premier episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars," are no exception. While it is still too early to know yet what Star Trek: Discovery will eventually become, and the ongoing relevance it will have as current events unfold, it is possible, at least...


77: Stewards of the Continuum

Property Ownership in Star Trek. There may be no money in the 24th century, at least not as we know it. And humankind may no longer be driven by the acquisition of material wealth. But what exactly do you do if you want to own one of those extra-special limited-vintage bottles of Chateau Picard? In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the philosophy and economics of property ownership in Star Trek. What role does property ownership play in a...


76: Essential Ennui

Voyager Season 5 - Essential Trek Philosophy. If you've ever had the urge to replicate yourself some curtains when faced with a late-night existential crisis, then the fifth-season opener of Star Trek: Voyager, "Night" is for you! In "Night" we see perhaps the best example of ennui (boredom) in all of Star Trek, including some guilt-laden soul searching from Captain Janeway. But an existential crisis alone does not a season of Star Trek make. And Voyager season 5 is also filled with...


75: Kindergarten Calculus

Star Trek Philosophy of Education. An advanced future civilization such as the United Federation of Planets would surely have an equally advanced educational system. After all, we are told in Star Trek: The Next Generation that 24th century schoolchildren learn calculus in grade school aboard the Enterprise! But other than an accelerated math curriculum, what are the defining characteristics of the educational system and the philosophy of education within in the Star Trek universe? In...


74: Tell Me a Story

Narratives and Metanarratives in Star Trek. Throughout Western history, grand narratives, or metanarratives, have been used to define who we are and where we should be going as a people. These metanarratives have included things like the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, Democracy, Marxism, Emancipation, and many other competing metanarratives that have made up the tapestry of Western civilization. Star Trek, likewise, has its grand metanarratives, which tie together individual...


73: Space Ham Radio

Pen Pals. When Lt. Commander Data contacts a girl named "Sarjenka" from a pre-warp civilization in distress on his 24th-century space ham radio, it leads to a super-secret philosophical discussion about the nature of the Prime Directive in Captain Picard's quarters. Should the Prime Directive be interpreted strictly or loosely? How should Starfleet officers weigh the high-stakes, life-or-death consequences for an entire civilization against their responsibility and oath to uphold the...


72: Trojan Catfish

Enterprise Season 2 - Essential Trek Philosophy. Season 2 of Enterprise contained numerous fun and interesting and science-fiction concepts and ideas, as the crew of the NX-01 encountered novelty and adventure going where no humans had ever gone before. But this season also explored a number of important philosophical and ethical issues, from the Kantian principle of not using other sentient beings as a means to your own ends in "Dead Stop" to the politics of gender and sexual identity in...


71: Borg Butterfly Effect

Future Human Cultural Evolution with Patrick Devlin. In the Star Trek universe, the cultural progression of alien races is remarkably deterministic, as cultures proceed from their own versions of the stone age, to the bronze age, to the industrial age, and culminating in warp-capable civilizations that are fully fledged members of the galactic community. But what reasons do we have for thinking that our own diverse human cultures will progress along the path laid out for us in the Star...