THE METAPHYSICS OF STAR TREK

For those who like their philosophy with a twist, Ö la The Tao of Pooh, an intriguing though sometimes too constricted elucidation of some of Star Trek's deeper meanings. Perhaps because it is such a pop-culture icon, Star Trek (the original TV show, the sequels, the movies) has attracted legions of interpretations about everything from its deeper meanings to the reality (or lack thereof) of its science. Now Hanley, a philosopher at Central Michigan University, boldly and entertainingly goes where no philosopher has gone before. Though the show frequently grapples in its playful, inconsistent way with issues such as the fixity of identity, the limits of personhood, and the nature of time, Hanley is primarily concerned with employing it to illustrate his own theories on these topics. Using the Android Data, for example, as well as holograms and exocomps that appear in various episodes, he argues that ``the fairest test to determine whether or not an individual qualifies for personhood does not depend on its ability to pass for a human being.'' However, as a disciple of the analytic school of philosophy, Hanley isn't particularly interested in the really big questions (Why are we all here? What does it all mean?), questions Star Trek also tends to shun. He believes, instead, in a more narrowly focused approach that is ``continuous with the natural sciences.'' This leads to a certain aridity, a relentless reliance on logic that seems finally not only limiting but ultimately unconvincing. Like many philosophers, he is better at attacking those he disagrees with (he's particularly good at pointing out the show's philosophical contradictions) than building wholly credible positions of his own. Still, his ideas are spirited and provocative. It's to Hanley's credit that he's been able to mine so much from what after all is just clever, light entertainment. Philosophy 101 was never this much fun.

Pub Date: July 30, 1997

ISBN: 0-465-09124-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1997

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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