From hospital beds to iPads to the space shuttle: Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek inspired significant leaps in real-world technology. Even more influential were Roddenberry’s radical optimism and vision of humanity, motivated to collaborate in exploring a wider universe freed from hatred or greed.
Focusing primarily on the 1987 – 1994 series Star Trek: The Next Generation, explore the technological, social and philosophical prospects of Roddenberry’s vision. Discuss the modern philosophical questions and challenges to the underlying ideals of Star Trek in the context of moral philosophers and futurists, from Plato to Ray Kurzweil.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN, D.Phil. is an associate professor of philosophy and classics at UBC. He regularly teaches courses in philosophy and the history of Western thought, and is professor-in-residence at UBC’s Totem Park residence for first-year students. His current projects include the Ancient Commentators series, described by The Times (UK) as “a massive scholarly endeavour of the highest importance.” He is also conducting a study of perspective-taking, empathy and applied values in undergraduate education. His recent publications include contributions to Western and Buddhist Philosophical Traditions in Dialogue (Springer, 2018) and translations from the philosophical classroom of the later Roman Empire. Professor Griffin’s personal website can be found at http://www.michaeljamesgriffin.com/#about