Academy of Lifelong Learning

Exploring Ethics in Star Trek - Session 1

Michael Harvey


Tuesdays, September 6 – October 11 (six weeks)

4:15 – 5:45 pm



In all its varieties, the television series Star Trek, from the original NBC series (1966-1968) to six follow-on versions, has charmed and entertained millions of viewers. It has also educated them, for exploration and dramatization of ethical issues and challenges have been staples of Star Trek stories from the beginning. Ethical clashes between idealism and pragmatism, tolerance and justice, the rights of individuals and the rights of society, just to name a few, drive many of the most celebrated episodes of the television series, such as the original series’ “Balance of Terror,” to “The Inner Light” from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In this WC-ALL course students will watch four Star Trek episodes drawn from the original series, as well as two follow-on series, and then discuss key ethical issues raised by each show.

The course includes optional ethics readings for each episode, an optional final ethics reflection, and an optional class field trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.