Meta Treks 79: The Redshirt Edition / by Trek fm

The Philosophy of Color in Star Trek.


Running Time: 1 hour 15 minutes 57 seconds
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Star Trek: The Original Series is a colorful show, known for its striking set decorations and bold costuming, from the orange highlights on the Enterprise bridge to the primary colors of the Original Series uniforms, including the uniforms of the infamous Redshirts. But what exactly does it mean for a uniform to be red? Is redness a physical property of the uniform itself, or is redness an aspect of subjective mental experience for whomever observes the uniform? Can the uniform's color be reduced to its more basic physical properties or the basic properties of light itself (frequency, wavelength, and so on), or is color a fundamental part of reality, unable to be reduced to other physical properties? And does the property of "redness" exist as an abstract entity (similar to numbers or other abstract objects), or does color exist only in particular form within individual colorful objects like individual red uniforms?

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the philosophy of color in the Star Trek universe. From the physics of light to the physiology of color perception, and from concrete examples to the ontology of abstract entities, Zachary and Mike examine why physics and physiology struggle to give a fully adequate account of the existence and nature of color.


Intro (0001:20)
Is There a Philosophical Problem? (00:02:47)
Why Is the Red Shirt Red? (00:07:19)
Color Physicalism and the "Mystique" of Color Perception (00:18:19)
Abstract Entities (00:27:04)
A Red Shirt By Any Other Name (00:32:33)
The Inverted Spectrum Thought Experiment (00:35:18)
Color as an Emergent Property (00:44:20)
Color Primitivism (00:46:57)
Color Qualia (00:50:53)
Color Fictionalism (00:52:41)
Final Thoughts (01:00:52)
Closing (01:07:39)


Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison


Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Mark Walker (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)