Humans have been exploring philosophy since ancient Greece. Conversely, humans have only been exploring space for about 54 years. Star Trek has only been in existence for 45 years, and yet, Star Trek can be used to explain complex philosophical ideas in a very simple way. The book Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant, edited by Kevin S. Decker and Jason T. Eberl, does an excellent job of using Star Trek to explain philosophy.

Star Trek and Philosophy begins with some major, overarching themes such as language use and Vulcans’ use of logic and emotion. Next, the book delves into a several aspects of ethics, followed by social and religious values. The last section of the book is spent on heavier topics such as time, death/immortality, the mind, and paradoxes.


What I like

  • Easy to understand: Philosophy can be a difficult subject to break into; this book is an easy start to the subject and builds as it goes.
  • Star Trek: What could be wrong about Star Trek? The various examples provided that are set within the Star Trek universe enable easier understanding of complex philosophical topics.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing: This book delivers what it claims: an entry-level book about philosophy, using Star Trek as the example for the themes.

Geek bottom line

For any Star Trek fan looking to learn a little about philosophy, or perhaps a philosopher looking to learn a little about Star Trek, this book delivers. The various writers are philosophers and teachers of philosophy and do a great job of explaining their forte to the Star Trek fan masses. Additionally, many of the examples used spark fond memories spanning much of the Star Trek universe.

Geek Gift score (out of 5)

  • Fun factor: ***
  • Geek factor: *****
  • Value: *****
  • Overall: ****

For more reviews of tech gadgets, gizmos, games, and books, download the PDF of TechRepublic’s Geek Gift Guide 2011.