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Star Trek: The measure of a man

Updated on March 8, 2015

The Star Trek’s thriller movie is about an organization that aimed at exploring the space/galaxy. It was known as Starfleet. It had a section known as the Star Trek. In order to attain new ideas and broaden its horizon in exploring the Galaxy, Star fleet made an android and named it Data. Data, the android, had unique abilities to reason rationally, make rational decisions and even express its emotions. However, a conflict arose between Data and a commander known as Bruce Maddox. The commander wanted to dissemble the android, learn the technology used to make it and make an army of similar androids to be commanded by men in space exploration. However, the android perceived that the General lacked enough knowledge and skills to reconstruct it after the planned study. Therefore, Data refused to be experimented. It resigned from the company. Several prosecutions followed from the general, arguing that Data was a machine, a property of the company and had no rights to resign.

While in court, Picard helped Data to gain freedom from the Judge. This was after demonstrating that only a small difference existed between Data and human beings. The metaphysical problem involved in this movie is the problem of universals (Bruce, 2014). It tries to define and explain the nature of individual things (Data and Humans), and how they relate to each other. Under the problem of universals, the movie tends to elaborate on the problem of free will and determinism. Free will is where rational agents, such as Data, wishes to control their own actions and decisions. Determinism is that which tends to dispute the existence of free will (Bruce, 2014).

Data is just an android, a machine with super abilities to mimic the characters and behaviours of human beings. For identity, data should be referred to as ‘it’, meaning it is a machine. This is because the machine does not conform to all the characteristics of human being, in terms of composition or nature (Bruce, 2014). Therefore, Data is just a machine with unique characteristics. The characteristics that portray Data to be a unique machine is the android’s ability to think, act rationally and express emotions, just like humans do. According to the article, reproducing multiple androids similar to Data can be referred to as a race. This is because thousands of them portray similar features, traits and characteristics that make them qualify to be a race.

The question about Data being granted freedom from human exploration means freedom in many ways. For example, one has to remember that Data is almost a human, in terms of emotions and intelligence. Therefore, Data could perceive and reason on present issues and even rebel against activities that endangered its existence. Therefore, according to Data’s point of view, freedom means being able to disagree with what risks its existence. It also means being able to accept experiments that do not risk its existence, or the existence of its creators (man). This is because Data’s rebellion was based on the perception that its existence might end after the experiment. Therefore, Data is right to refuse being forced to undergo the experimental procedures. This is because, based on its ability to think, maybe Data knew that humans are prone to wickedness. Submitting to man’s orders meant that Data was vulnerable to human exploitation. The androids abilities could be used for good or evil. Therefore, Data chose freewill to be choosing what is good and beneficial.

The movie under discussion is metaphysical. It is also a fundamental problem of philosophy. This is because it tackles on issues pertaining to the nature of metaphysics (Bruce, 2014). It focuses on exemplifying fundamental issues of the philosophy of existence, beings and the world encompassing them. In addition, there are lessons that humans learn from this movie. Firstly, they should be cautious of their knowledge. This is because such knowledge can be used for good, or evil. Secondly, freedom to humans means being free from anything that endangers their wellbeing, or their existence. Therefore, they are bound to rebel against anything that threatens to end their existence. Finally, the ruling of JAG officer to grant Data its freedom was right. This is because Data earned this freedom by displaying knowledge that surpassed that of humans such as General Maddox. Therefore, Data deserved this freedom because it won it by merit.

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Bruce, W. W,. (2014). Metaphysics: problems in metaphysics. Retrieved on 22nd February 2014 from:


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