Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy

Topics: Battlestar Galactica, Utilitarianism, Human Pages: 4 (1598 words) Published: May 3, 2013
There's no "frakking" way I could generate a good overview of a show like Battlestar Galactica. Only a show like Battlestar Galactica could take a derogatory word we all know and sensor it in a way that gives it emphasis, hence the "frakking" genius behind the Battlestar Galactica series. However, the show cannot be explained in just one word. The realistic feel to the military comradery and operations that take place within the show allow one who has never been in the military to imagine the experience. Also, the crew of Galactica are all very genuine and believable characters who are driven by basic human needs and desires. There are also fine examples of how a crew works together under good leadership. In a way, the plot revolves around leaders such as the character of Commander Adama. One can watch as emotions flair and problems escalate throughout the progression of the story. Yet Adama builds strength in his crew from the conflicts. I will argue Commander Adama's actions toward the beginning of the series were utilitarian due to his view of Cylons as lifeless objects. However, his reasoning becomes difficult to determine as he develops a love for crew members that reveal their Cylon identities. In this essay I will briefly explain Utilitarianism as understood from philosophers such as Bentham and Peter Singer. Secondly, I will introduce William Adama and the crew aboard the Galactica. Lastly and most importantly, I will provide examples of Adama’s utilitarian actions throughout the show. The theory behind the philosophy of Utilitarianism stems from a man named Jeremy Bentham. In Bentham’s essay The Utilitarian Calculus, he endeavors to document suffering on the basis that man at his core is purely hedonistic. “Motivational hedonism is the claim that only pleasure or pain motivates us.”(Moore) To Bentham, beings controlled by pleasure and pain bear the moral responsibility to limit pain and maximize pleasure to its greatest extent. He had advocated for the...

Cited: Battlestar Galactica. Prod. and Dir. Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. Perf. Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, and Grace Park. 2004. Sci-Fi Channel, 2003. DVD.
Jensen, Randell. “The Need of the Many vs. the Few.” Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy 2008. 101-13. Print.
Moore, Andrew, "Hedonism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =
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