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Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant (Popular Culture and Philosophy) Paperback – September 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Popular Culture and Philosophy (Book 35)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Open Court; First Printing edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812696492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812696493
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Humorously subtitled 'The Wrath of Kant,' this book examines the relationship between Star Trek and various schools of philosophy, and enlists the help of 21 professional philosophers to show how the theories of philosophers such as Wittgenstein and Nietzsche made their way into the scripts of a network television show."
—Annotation ©2008 Book News Inc. Portland, OR

From the Back Cover

From cult to mainstream, the Star Trek epic has gone where no work of dramatic art has gone before, to become the most popular imaginary world yet conceived.

The same restless and relentless spirit of exploration that propels the voyages of the starship Enterprise is also the driving force of philosophical wonder throughout human history. Star Trek and philosophy share the same prime directive: testing ideas from our past and present to progressively improve our future.

In Star Trek and Philosophy, twenty-one professional philosophers put their brains into warp drive to probe the limits of the limitless, expanding our knowledge of the furthest reaches of thought while also delving deep into the human essence.

“A philosophical feast for Trekkies and other sci-fi fans. One of the things that makes Star Trek so exciting is the philosophical angle it has often presented. Reading this terrific book will prolong and deepen that excitement.”

—Jorge J. E. Gracia, editor of Mel Gibson's Passion and Philosophy

“Playful, subtle, and rich with cultural referencesbut actively create it. As well as beaming up famous philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche, this wonderful book plunges us into recent philosophical discussions, some of which have arisen in the wake of the accelerated technological developments of the past fifty years.”

—Margret Grebowicz, editor of SciFi in the Mind's Eye

“Boldly going where so many have gone before, these twenty-one philosophers manage to do the impossible: they find new ways to talk about this most talked about of TV franchises.”

—James B. South, editor of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy

“Star Trek in all its incarnations remains one of the most philosophically fascinating TV and movie epics. Star Trek and Philosophy appeals to both philosophers and fans.”

—Richard Hanley, author of Is Data Human? The Metaphysics of Star Trek

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This book will appeal to the die hard loyal fans of the original television series.
Gregory K. Tobkes
This book contains quality essays on a good range of topics from business ethics, to understanding time, to autonomy and theories of the self.
Michael S.
The book is a lot of fun and highlights how suprisingly deep the writers of star trek has been over the years.
C. Bongard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Bongard on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like Star Trek at all, you should get this book.

The book is a lot of fun and highlights how suprisingly deep the writers of star trek has been over the years.

Borg vs Individualism.

Revenge vs Justice

Cloning and ethics and so much more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Entezari on October 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
What I liked:
-Specific references to a lot of episodes of all of the series from the original through the most recent.
-Specific references to the philosophy of several famous philosophers.
-Covered topics I have pondered upon, such as why we want to live in the Federation
-Managed to work in a couple of the humorous Ferengi laws of acquisition

What kept me from giving it 5:
-Could have been a little more entertaining, there were some dry patches - I actually enjoyed an audio tape of the Ferengi rules of Acquisition more from an entertainment perspective
-Perhaps taken a less of a classical philosophy view on why people like Star Trek and instead branched out to suggest some more revolutionary ideas on why we like it so much - kind of like the movie Trekkies started to get into
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. on February 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Star Trek and Philosophy does an excellent job of blending the themes of academia with the themes of Star Trek without feeling jarring in its transitions or forced in its comparisons. This book contains quality essays on a good range of topics from business ethics, to understanding time, to autonomy and theories of the self. Of particular interest is the chapter on business ethics set in the context of the Ferengi's selfish capitalist-like system and the Federation's elimination of poverty. There is an excellent examination of Adam Smith's theories of the free market, and the author does a fantastic job of showing how modern capitalism has strayed from Smith's ideas that capitalism must be grounded in the welfare of those whom the market serves.

Other areas of the book offer us a look at logical thought and humanity's ability to be illogical when necessary, referencing the several instances when Kirk was able to shut down computer systems through illogical semantic games. It also examines omnipotent power and whether or not such power is desirable for an evolving species. There is also a very good, thought-provoking examination of transporter mishaps, resulting in a questioning of what actually constitutes the self. Considering that this is a Star Trek book, you'll also find debates on genetic manipulation and the morality of scientific discoveries.

Many books that look into the themes of pop culture can result in shallow attempts at explaining high concepts. This book is not one of them. The depth of philosophical debate coupled with the smooth transition into examples from Star Trek creates a quality read that exercises both the imagination and the intellect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J. Truncale VINE VOICE on February 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many longtime fans of Star Trek I love anything to do with the series. Whether it was the Star Trek movies or television series I have enjoyed seeing or reading anything to do with Star Trek. As a lifetime student of the martial arts and the warrior philosophy, I loved reading "The Klingon Way." That book focused on quotes from Star Trek relating to the basic principles of Klingon's warrior philosophy. However, this book is quite different in that it deals with the deeper aspects of philosophy as it relates to various Star Trek themes.

To be frank, if you do not have at least some basic philosophy education, you may become lost or bored with this volume. Believe it or not, this is actually a serious academic approach to philosophical issues relating to Star Trek themes.
Most of the major Earth philosophers and their basic premises are explored to some degree in this book. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Bacon, Nietzsche, Buddha, Descartes, Hume, Hegel, James, Kant, Mill, Spinoza and many other philosophers and thinkers are mentioned in this book.

This text is organized into four sections. There are a total of 18 chapters. The first section deals with seeking out new ideas: Major philosophical themes in Star Trek. The second section explores Go Boldly, yet morally and federation ethics. The third section covers Social and religious values of the future. The final section grapples with multiple enterprises and metaphysical conundrums from A to E. Each chapter has a different writer with backgrounds in philosophy. I did not agree with some of the conclusions these writers came to when evaluating a specific subject area; nevertheless, if you are a Star Trek fan who also loves philosophy, you will want to read this book.
Rating: 4 Stars Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Season of the Warrior: A Poetic Tribute to Warriors)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Huck Finn on September 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is great on philosophy. I like how it takes complex ideas and uses Star Trek as a background, a unique popular icon, and then converting that background into platforms for serious thought and historical comment.

The downside of this book is that the author forgets that Star Trek, after all is done and said, is basically for entertainment and not created to be a deliberate foundation for academic exploitation.
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