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The Ethics of Star Trek Paperback – November 27, 2001
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The book covers much more ground than is typically traveled in Ethics 101 courses. In the first of five sections, Barad and Robertson deal with the importance of religion and culture, as well as logic, in ethical reasoning. They go on to successively tackle virtue ethics, hedonism, Stoicism, Christian ethics, social contract theory, duty ethics, utilitarianism, and existential ethics--all in reference to the moral dilemmas enlivened by Star Trek. And while the topics' treatments are somewhat cursory, they are written with a conversational prose that beckons the reader to further study. Perhaps Jean-Luc Picard puts it best in the book's epigraph, "There is no greater challenge than the study of philosophy." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Professor Barad teaches Ethics at Indiana State and has a course on the philosophy of Star Trek. That attracted me to the book right there. I never took a philosophy course when I was in college that sounded nearly that interesting. We studied Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Kierkegaard, and symbolic logic. Well, you'll be pleased to know that this volume has plenty of Star Trek, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Kierkegaard. But you'll also be relieved to know that at least the symbolic logic is missing!
The purpose of this book (its Prime Directive) is to "stimulate greater awareness of the many ethical issues and concerns in daily life.Read more ›
The tone of the writing is always fresh and conversational, without oversimplifying the topic. Is Spock sometimes "too logical," or is Kirk sometimes too swayed by emotion? How can we tell? By the final results -- the universe is saved yet again -- or by what they hoped would happen? I found myself drawn in again and again, able to follow the thread of what is, after all, a high level discussion. Highly recommended for the casual reader interested in how we determine what to do in living a "good" life. I'd love to see this used in high schools and colleges to introduce people to these age-old but always fresh ideas in a compelling way.
That said, the book nevertheless provides an interesting discussion of all the major ethics philosophies, throughout human history, and uses specific situations from the first four Trek series and the first nine movies to illustrate the critical issues involved. Unfortunately, the discussions are somewhat simplistic, as if Barad felt she had to "talk down" to her audience. The Trek audience, however, is possibly the pop-cultural segment least in need of patronage, and I wish Paramount would realize that.Read more ›
Barad does an excellent job in demonstrating how well Star Trek can be used to illustrate ethics. Thus, Aristotle's "Golden Mean" was represented by the logical Mr. Spock, the emotional Dr. McCoy and the in-between Capt. Kirk who listened to both sides. Kant's unbending system of "categorical imperatives" is demonstrated by Capt. Picard's unwavering ... principles.
I didn't give this book five stars because Barad has biases, not based on Star Trek, but in philosophy. First, she rejects "cultural relativism" early on, even though a casual watcher of the series will recognize that this viewpoint is both important and necessary in all the shows. Second, she relies entirely on European philosophy. Although American pragmatist William James is mentioned in a TNG quote at the beginning, and pragmatism better describes Deep Space Nine than existentialism, she ignores this philosophy in her book.
Above all, I think Barad goes a little too far in suggesting that the ethics in all four of the series she examines (the original Star Trek, TNG, DS9 and Voyager) can be "synthesized" much as Thomas Aquinas synthesized Aristotle and Roman Catholicism. Each series had its own, individual characters with different motives and different situations. While Star Trek poses many ethical problems, there's no one ethos any more than there is only one writer. Barad can be commended for using Star Trek to teach ethics in an enjoyable fashion, but the shows themselves are not philosophy lessons.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a great book! Ethics by its very nature can be somewhat complicated with all the different philosophical discussions. Kant, Kierkegard, and others... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Frank L. Urbano
I teach this book in my course called Ethics of the Future: Analyzing Science Fiction Films at Kyung Hee University in South Korea. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Star Trek Professor
I came across this book nearly fifteen years ago in a college book store. I am obviously a trekkie, so the idea of essays on ethics using Star Trek episodes caught my fancy. Read morePublished 19 months ago by M Patterson
Took a class called Anthropology of Star Trek. This was the 'textbook' for the class. Also have taken other classes from the same instructor.Published on January 27, 2014 by Mike
This is a wonderful introduction to and a sampling of several schools of philosophical thought and ethical behavior. Read morePublished on March 18, 2013 by Scott Volz