Meta Treks 6: Whacking Vreenak / by Trek fm

Consequentialism vs. Deontological Ethics.

iTunes | Stitcher | Download | RSS
Running Time: 1 hour 23 minutes 55 seconds

In the Deep Space Nine episode "In the Pale Moonlight," was Captain Sisko justified in using less-then-honorable means to bring the Romulans into the war with the Dominion in order to end the war and save lives? Or were Sisko's actions unjustified because they violated universally valid moral rules and principles?

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling analyze "In the Pale Moonlight" from the contrasting ethical theories of consequentalist ethics (or utilitarianism) and deontological ethics (or rule-based ethics). Mike and Zachary consider the applicability of different forms of consequentialism, such as Jeremy Bentham's quantitative approach to utilitarianism, John Start Mill's more qualitative approach to utilitarianism, and rule utilitarianism as a middle-ground between ethics emphasizing consequences and ethics emphasizing rules.

This episode of Meta Treks covers the crucial concepts of deontological/Kantian ethics, such as Kant's Categorical Imperative, the notion that some actions are intrinsically right or wrong regardless of consequences, and treating others as ends in themselves and not merely as means to your own ends. Mike and Zachary wrap up the conversation with a discussion of whether the justification for the Prime Directive is chiefly consequentialist or whether the Prime Directive, as the Federation's highest law or rule, is grounded in the intrinsic worth of the natural development of other worlds and cultures.


Welcome to Episode 6 (00:01:06)
Discussing the CBS Star Trek Announcement (00:02:22)
Introducing the Topic (00:15:10)
Consequentialism (00:16:40)
Example - In The Pale Moonlight (00:19:31)
Utilitarianism (00:32:09)
Deontological Ethics (00:44:00)
Kantian Ethics (00:44:40)
The Categorical Imperative (00:49:00)
The Prime Directive (01:05:38)
Rule Utilitarianism (01:10:05)
Virtue Based Ethics (01:17:46)
Final Thoughts (01:20:06)


Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling


Dennis Castello (Editor and Producer) Norman C. Lao (Executive Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Charlynn Schmiedt (Executive Producer) Will Nguyen (Content Manager) Richard Marquez (Production Manager)

Send us your feedback!

Twitter: @trekfm
Contact Form:
Visit the website at
Subscribe in iTunes:

More recent episodes of Meta Treks...