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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old January 22 2013, 04:27 AM   #31
Warped9
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

JimZipCode wrote: View Post
More broadly, I don't see anything in "Enterprise Incident" that hurt the integrity of the Spock character. What are you referring to?
Neither do I. Spock was under orders to get the damned cloaking device.

We can assume Starfleet might already have tried more secretive espionage ways to get the device and finally came up with this idea. It was a risky move because it could have gone wrong in so many ways. Indeed, the Romulan Commander tossing herself into the transporter beam might well have forestalled the Romulans declaring war. They not only lost a highly valued bit of hardware but also an experienced command officer---doesn't look too good for them particularly if it got out to their Klingon "allies." I could even see Starfleet "letting" it leak to the Klingons just to foster more distrust between the empires.
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Old January 22 2013, 04:30 AM   #32
Dale Sams
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

JimZipCode wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
I'd add in The Doomsday Machine. Without medical tests Spock really had no legal right to relieve Decker.
That's not really a situation of an ethical dilemma for Spock, because Kirk resolved the situation for him. Spock had no legal right to relieve Decker, and he DIDN'T relieve Decker, until Kirk manufactured a quasi-legal imperative for him. When Kirk ordered Spock to relieve Decker, it took Spock off the hook. Kirk assumed the responsibility. You could call that an ethical dilemma for Kirk, but not for Spock. (Of course Kirk didn't perceive it as a dilemma at all; it was instantly clear to him what the right course of action was.)

Spock's ethical dilemma was earlier, as he tried to stay within the letter of regulations while keeping Decker from getting the ship destroyed. Spock handles that with integrity; but it's Kirk who grasps the nettle.

Kirk's order to Spock is a genius moment of writing, I think. It crystallizes a key difference between Kirk and Spock: why Kirk is in command, and Spock is the best first officer in the fleet. Kirk assesses the situation correctly, and fabricates a non-existent prerogative to issue an order so Spock can do what needs to be done.
Completly splitting hairs here but based on my gut feeling after reading "The Caine Mutiny", Spock would not quite be off the hook, especially when Decker said, "IIIII don't recognize your authority to relieve me!"

So in other words, my speculation based off a fictional event as applied to a completly different fictional universe with its own set of rules is that Spock would also stand trial if it ever got that far and Decker wanted to proceed.
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Old January 22 2013, 02:05 PM   #33
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

Spock even states Decker may file a formal protest assuming they reached a starbase. I think Kirk and Spock were both on tenuous ground in relieving Decker.
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Old January 22 2013, 07:04 PM   #34
JimZipCode
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
Completly splitting hairs here but based on my gut feeling after reading "The Caine Mutiny", Spock would not quite be off the hook, especially when Decker said, "IIIII don't recognize your authority to relieve me!"
So in other words, my speculation based off a fictional event as applied to a completly different fictional universe with its own set of rules is that Spock would also stand trial if it ever got that far and Decker wanted to proceed.
Oh I completely agree with you guys, if Decker had made it back to Starbase with the rest of them, Kirk and Spock would have been up on charges. I meant only that after Kirk issued the order, Spock was off the hook for the decision to act. He wasn't off the hook legally; I should have said he was off the horns of the dilemma. Kirk made the decision for him.

One of the most awesome moments in all of TOS.
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Old January 22 2013, 07:18 PM   #35
Gov Kodos
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

The Doomsday Machine was an idiotic situation. Decker isn't an Enterprise officer. Spock should have told Decker to bugger off from the start and just had McCoy and security haul him off to sickbay. The Star Fleet order used in that situation was the kind of TV order made to create drama. Star Trek and Hollywood often portray scenes with rank outweighing the chain of command.
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Old January 22 2013, 07:36 PM   #36
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

Yet another, among many, examples of why military realism/verisimilitude and Star Trek should not be conflated, in any iteration of the franchise (still makes for a great scene, though).
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Old January 22 2013, 08:24 PM   #37
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

Ovation wrote: View Post
Yet another, among many, examples of why military realism/verisimilitude and Star Trek should not be conflated, in any iteration of the franchise (still makes for a great scene, though).
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Old January 23 2013, 08:34 AM   #38
A beaker full of death
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

JimZipCode wrote: View Post
More broadly, I don't see anything in Enterprise Incident that hurt the integrity of the Spock character. What are you referring to?
His seduction of the Romulan commander as a military strategem was hardly honorable.
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Old January 23 2013, 08:48 AM   #39
Captain Tracy
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
JimZipCode wrote: View Post
More broadly, I don't see anything in Enterprise Incident that hurt the integrity of the Spock character. What are you referring to?
His seduction of the Romulan commander as a military strategem was hardly honorable.
And upon 1000's of repeat viewings, ultimately hurts the integrity and credibility of the the established character over time.
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Old January 23 2013, 08:54 AM   #40
Gov Kodos
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

Of course, she was just an easily led woman, what else could you expect?
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Old January 23 2013, 01:09 PM   #41
Warped9
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
JimZipCode wrote: View Post
More broadly, I don't see anything in Enterprise Incident that hurt the integrity of the Spock character. What are you referring to?
His seduction of the Romulan commander as a military strategem was hardly honorable.
Whenever I watch it what I see is her doing the come on big time and Spock just letting her believe what she wants.
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Old July 9 2014, 07:52 PM   #42
JimZipCode
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

A beaker full of death wrote: View Post
His seduction of the Romulan commander as a military strategem was hardly honorable.
Captain Tracy wrote: View Post
And upon 1000's of repeat viewings, ultimately hurts the integrity and credibility of the the established character over time.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that. Frankly, I think you guys are out of your minds for thinking it. It seems a pretty simplistic notion of "integrity" and "honor".

Here's a more honorable course of action: Spock could not do everything in his power to keep the Romulan commander distracted. Instead, he could leave her free to stop Kirk from stealing the cloaking device, or at least destroy the Enterprise as it is trying to get away. Then the Romulans could proceed as they wanted. Given the events of Balance of Terror, that probably means the Romulans will invade Federation space, spark another war, and millions will die.

Would that display enough integrity?

It's interesting, I'm having some parallel arguments in the discussion forums dedicated to the Song of Ice and Fire books (Game of Thrones and its sequels), about whether in upcoming books Jon Snow will leave the Night's Watch and go perform other tasks in the story. The people I'm arguing with insist that Jon has too much "honor" to ever do that. I'm going to make the same point here, that I try making there:

You are confusing "honor" with "duty". It's easy to get confused about those things, because "honor" is a slippery term, with shifting meanings in different contexts. A good way to look at it is that "honor" is a public thing. It is reputation and how people look at you. Honor commands respect; or it is the demanding of respect. People get upset when their "honor" is besmirched.

"Duty" is different. In the Ice and Fire books, Jon Snow cares deeply about his duty, and follows it along some difficult paths, doing things that put his honor into question. Is he a traitor, that kind of thing. It's very clear to the reader that Jon is doing his duty; but his honor (the public face) takes a beating. In another context, Ned has a line to Arya, somewhere early in the first book. Ned's character is especially rigid when it comes to duty and honor, almost priggish about it. Confronted with a lie his daughter told, and the impossible circumstance she was caught, even Ned has to concede that "Even the lie was – not without honor."

So it is with Spock in this episode. His duty is very clear. He has a duty to protect the Federation and its peoples. He has a duty to assist Kirk in pulling off this wild scheme. And that's really all there is to it. Everything that Spock does in this episode flows directly from that. He behaves with complete integrity. Even his lies are not without honor. Spock himself gives all the answer that is needed. Who is he, that he could do what he did and yet maintain complete integrity?

First officer of the Enterprise.
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Old July 9 2014, 09:05 PM   #43
TheAdmiralty
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

Melakon wrote: View Post

Regarding Spock and ethics, I felt that his mind-touch with a grieving Kirk at the end of 'Requiem for Methuselah' was questionable. Spock did not ask permission to initiate this contact, which is highly unusual for him with people he knows.
This is the only one I'd call debatable.

As for the others, following rules and regulations has little to do with morality. There was nothing wrong with wanting to defend himself/Kirk/the miners against the Horta before he realized its true intentions. And I can't believe people are actually serious about the Romulan Commander thing.
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Old July 10 2014, 10:19 AM   #44
Robert Comsol
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

It appears it hasn't been mentioned, yet, but the entire handling of the Salt Vampire in "The Man Trap" must have been quite an ethical dilemma for Spock, at least in this episode’s aftermath, hopefully.

SALT VAMPIRE (disguised as McCoy): Oh. Well, we could offer it salt without tricks. There's no reason for it to attack us. (that’s the Salt Vampire disguised as McCoy!)
SPOCK: Your attitude is laudable, Doctor, but your reasoning is reckless.
CRATER: (eyeing McCoy carefully) The creature is not dangerous when fed.
SALT VAMPIRE: No, it's simply trying to survive by using its natural ability to take other forms.
CRATER: The way the chameleon uses its protective colouring, an ability retained no doubt from its primitive state, the way we have retained our incisor teeth. They were once fangs. Certain of our muscles were designed for chase. It uses its ability the way we would use our muscles and teeth if necessary, to stay alive.
SALT VAMPIRE: And like us, it's an intelligent animal. There's no need to hunt it down.
SPOCK: A very interesting hypothesis, Doctor

What’s happening in this episode’s climax is not to “seek out new life” but to trap, provoke and finally kill it. The Salt Vampire was undoubtedly under stress, irritated and confused.
They knew that they just talked with the creature, yet Spock doesn't come up with a contingency plan to prevent what eventually happened.

It always looked to me that the producers understood that this was not an episode to write home about.

In contrast we see in “Arena” quite a different Spock who almost appears eager to redeem himself for his colossal failure in “The Man Trap”.

SPOCK: You allude to invasion, Captain, yet positive proof
KIRK: I have all the proof I need on Cestus Three.
SPOCK: Not necessarily, sir. Several possible explanations…
KIRK: How can you explain a massacre like that? No, Mister Spock. The threat is clear and immediate. Invasion.

SPOCK: The destruction of the alien vessel will not help that colony, Jim.
KIRK: If the aliens go unpunished, they'll be back, attacking other Federation installations.
SPOCK: I merely suggested that a regard for sentient life…
KIRK: There's no time for that. It's a matter of policy. Out here, we're the only policemen around. And a crime has been committed. Do I make myself clear?
SPOCK: Very clear, Captain.

Bob
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Old July 10 2014, 12:52 PM   #45
JimZipCode
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Re: Spock Ethical Dilemmas

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
They knew that they just talked with the creature, yet Spock doesn't come up with a contingency plan to prevent what eventually happened.
Are you saying that Spock knew he had spoken with the creature, not with McCoy? I didn't read the episode that way.
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