All I Really Need to Know About Philosophy I Learned From Star Trek

Is philosophy really dead? Umberto Eco on Stephen Hawking’s latest book, The Grand Design.

Star Trek and the death of philosophy

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The book’s byline indicates that it was written by two authors. But in Hawking’s case the word “by” is painfully metaphorical, because his limbs do not respond to the commands of his exceptional brain — this is common knowledge. Hence the book is primarily the work of the second author, Mlodinow, whom the dust jacket describes as an excellent populariser and the writer of several episodes of Star Trek. (There is a hint of Star Trek in the beautiful illustrations inside the book, which look as though they were conceived for a children’s encyclopaedia in a bygone era: They are colourful and fascinating, but they explain absolutely nothing about the complex physical-mathematical-cosmological theories they ought to illustrate.) Perhaps it wasn’t prudent to entrust philosophy’s destiny to characters in a science-fiction series.

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A good article. Read the rest.

Regis Nicoll has written in the pages of Salvo about how much Star Trek really has shaped our imaginations. See here: Radio Silence–Still Searching for Wisdom in the Sky by Regis Nicoll. In fact, one of my personal favorite Salvo fake ads was inspired by this article.

Esti

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