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BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - buch  · PDF fileBATTLESTAR GALACTICA ... In particular, I wish...

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  • B A T T L E S T A R



    E D I T E D B Y J A S O N T . E B E R L

  • B A T T L E S T A R


  • The Blackwell Philosophy and PopCulture SeriesSeries editor William Irwin

    A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and a healthy help-ing of popular culture clears the cobwebs from Kant. Philosophy hashad a public relations problem for a few centuries now. This seriesaims to change that, showing that philosophy is relevant to your lifeand not just for answering the big questions like To be or notto be? but for answering the little questions: To watch or not towatch South Park? Thinking deeply about TV, movies, and musicdoesnt make you a complete idiot. In fact it might make you aphilosopher, someone who believes the unexamined life is not worthliving and the unexamined cartoon is not worth watching.

    Edited by Robert Arp

    Edited by William Irwin

    Edited by J. Jeremy Wisnewski

    Edited by Jason Holt

    Edited by Sharon M. Kaye

    Edited by Jennifer Hart Weed, Richard Davis, and Ronald Weed


    Begins Out There

    Edited by Jason T. Eberl


    the office and philosophy: scenes from the unexamined lifeEdited by J. Jeremy Wisnewski

  • B A T T L E S T A R



    E D I T E D B Y J A S O N T . E B E R L

  • 2008 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd

    blackwell publishing350 Main Street, Malden, MA 021485020, USA9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK550 Swanston Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia

    The right of Jason T. Eberl to be identified as the author of the editorial material in this work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988.

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher.

    Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed astrademarks. All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names,service marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Thepublisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book.

    This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

    First published 2008 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd

    1 2008

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Battlestar Galactica and philosophy : knowledge here begins out there / edited by Jason T. Eberl.

    p. cm. (The Blackwell philosophy and popculture series)Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 9781405178143 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Battlestar Galactica (Television

    program : 2003 ) I. Eberl, Jason T.PN1992.77.B354B38 2008791.4572dc22


    A catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

    Set in 10.5/13pt Sabonby Graphicraft Limited, Hong KongPrinted and bound in the United States of Americaby Sheridan Books, Inc., Chelsea, MI, USA

    The publishers policy is to use permanent paper from mills that operate a sustainableforestry policy, and which has been manufactured from pulp processed using acid-freeand elementary chlorine-free practices. Furthermore, the publisher ensures that the textpaper and cover board used have met acceptable environmental accreditation standards.

    For further information onBlackwell Publishing, visit our website atwww.blackwellpublishing.com

  • v


    Giving Thanks to the Lords of Kobol viii

    There Are Those Who Believe . . . ix

    Part I Opening the Ancient Scrolls: Classic Philosophers as Colonial Prophets 1

    1 How To Be Happy After the End of the World 3Erik D. Baldwin

    2 When Machines Get Souls: Nietzsche on the Cylon Uprising 15Robert Sharp

    3 What a Strange Little Man: Baltar the Tyrant? 29J. Robert Loftis

    4 The Politics of Crisis: Machiavelli in the Colonial Fleet 40Jason P. Blahuta

    Part II I, Cylon: Are Toasters People, Too? 53

    5 And They Have a Plan: Cylons as Persons 55Robert Arp and Tracie Mahaffey

    6 Im Sharon, But Im a Different Sharon: The Identity of Cylons 64Amy Kind

  • Contents


    7 Embracing the Children of Humanity: How to Prevent the Next Cylon War 75Jerold J. Abrams

    8 When the Non-Human Knows Its Own Death 87Brian Willems

    Part III Worthy of Survival: Moral Issues for Colonials and Cylons 99

    9 The Search for Starbuck: The Needs of the Many vs. the Few 101Randall M. Jensen

    10 Resistance vs. Collaboration on New Caprica: What Would You Do? 114Andrew Terjesen

    11 Being Boomer: Identity, Alienation, and Evil 127George A. Dunn

    12 Cylons in the Original Position: Limits of Posthuman Justice 141David Roden

    Part IV The Arrow, the Eye, and Earth: The Search for a (Divine?) Home 153

    13 I Am an Instrument of God: Religious Belief, Atheism, and Meaning 155Jason T. Eberl and Jennifer A. Vines

    14 God Against the Gods: Faith and the Exodus of the Twelve Colonies 169Taneli Kukkonen

    15 A Story that is Told Again, and Again, and Again:Recurrence, Providence, and Freedom 181David Kyle Johnson

    16 Adamas True Lie: Earth and the Problem of Knowledge 192Eric J. Silverman

  • Contents


    Part V Sagittarons, Capricans, and Gemenese: Different Worlds, Different Perspectives 203

    17 Zen and the Art of Cylon Maintenance 205James McRae

    18 Let It Be Earth: The Pragmatic Virtue of Hope 218Elizabeth F. Cooke

    19 Is Starbuck a Woman? 230Sarah Conly

    20 Gaius Baltar and the Transhuman Temptation 241David Koepsell

    There Are Only Twenty-Two Cylon Contributors 253

    The Fleets Manifest 258

  • viii

    Giving Thanks to the Lordsof Kobol

    Although the chapters in this book focus exclusively on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, gratitude must be given first and fore-most to the original series creator, Glen Larson. Its well known thatLarson didnt envision Battlestar as simply a shoot em up western in spaceThe Lost Warrior and The Magnificent Warriors asidebut added thoughtful dimension to the story based on his Mormonreligious beliefs. Ron Moore and David Eick have continued this trendof philosophically and theologically enriched storytelling, and Immost grateful to them for having breathed new life into the Battlestarsaga.

    This book owes its existence most of all to my friend Bill Irwin,whose wit and sharp editorial eye gave each chapter a fine polish, andto the support of Jeff Dean, Jamie Harlan, and Lindsay Pullen atBlackwell. Id also like to thank each contributor for moving at FTLspeeds to produce excellent work. In particular, I wish to express mymost heartfelt gratitude to my wife, Jennifer Vines, with whom I verymuch enjoyed writing something together for the first time, and mysister-in-law, Jessica Vines, who provided valuable feedback on manychapters. Their only regret is that we didnt have a chapter devotedexclusively to the aesthetic value of Samuel T. Anders.

    Finally, Id like to dedicate this book to the youngest members ofmy immediate and extended families who are indeed the shape ofthings to come: my daughter, August, my nephew, Ethan, and mygreat-nephew, Radley.

  • ix

    There Are Those Who Believe . . .

    The year was 1978: still thrilled by Star Wars and hungry for moreaction-packed sci-fi, millions of viewers like me thought BattlestarGalactica was IT! Of course, the excitement surrounding the seriespremiere soon began to wear off as we saw the same Cylon ship blowup over and over . . . and over again, and familiar film plots wereretread as the writers scrambled to keep up with the networksdemanding airdate schedule. At five years old, how was I supposed toknow that Fire in Space was basically a retelling of The ToweringInferno?

    Enough bashing of a classic 1970s TV show (yes, 1970sGalactica 1980 doesnt count). Battlestar had a great initial conceptand overall dramatic story: Humanity, nearly wiped out by bad assrobots in need of Visine, searching for their long lost brothers andsisters who just happen to be . . . us. So it was no surprise thatBattlestar was eventually resurrected, and it was well worth thetwenty-five year wait! While initial fan reaction centered on the sexynew Cylons and Starbucks controversial gender change, it wasimmediately apparent that this wasnt just a whole new Battlestar,but a whole new breed of sci-fi storytelling. While sci-fi often pro-vides an imaginative philosophical laboratory, the reimagined Bat-tlestar has done so like no other. What other TV show gives viewerscybernetic life forms who both aspire to be more human (like Data onStar Trek: The Next Generation) and also despise humanity and seekto eradicate it as a pestilence? Or heroic figures who not only acknow-ledge their own personal failings but condemn their entire species as a flawed creation? Or a character whose overpowering ego and

  • There Are Those Who Believe . . .


    sometimes split personality may yet lead to the salvation of twowarring cultures? The reimagined Battlestar Galactica is IT!

    Like the ragtag fleet of Colonial survivors on their quest f

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