Thursday, June 21, 2012

Star Trek's 'I, Mudd': liar's paradox and the Cartesian subject as rhetorical form

This has always been one of my favorite scenes from the original Star Trek series starring William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Spock. It's the liar's paradox scene from the "I, Mudd" episode. I am currently contemplating that this scene illustrates not simply the operating of a logical paradox but also how faulty rhetoric supplies disruptive content to a subject that defines itself as rational, resulting in fragmentation and paralysis of the subject under the Cartesian model of subjectivity.


Steven Hart said...

To boldly go where no Cartesian model has gone before.

le0pard13 said...

Well said, Nordette!

Dan Christensen said...

To summarize:

Kirk: Everything Harry says is a lie.

Harry: Everything I say is a lie.

If the narrative is to be consistent -- all bets are off otherwise! -- then both Kirk and Harry must be lying, and Harry must have told the truth on at least one other occasion. It's all so... logical!