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Old October 25 2013, 10:59 PM   #1
ReadyAndWilling
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Data: What philosophy does he follow?

Hey guys, so Data is my favorite character in all of Star Trek. I really love watching him trying to solve problems with his 'disconnected logic' style of analyzing situations. One of my favorite Data scenes is where Data and Geordie are examining a plant and Data's reflexes allow him to grab the plant before it could strike Geordie. My other favorite Data scene is in the episode 'Genesis' of season 7 where the entire crew has 'De-evolved' and Data and Picard are the only two unaffected.

In both of these scenes, I love how Data is able to maintain his calmness and rational way of thinking. What is this style of thinking called? I'd like to know so I could look it up and learn. Is it just called 'rational thinking'? It seems similar to the Vulcan style of thinking, but Data seems warmer and more 'humane' if that's possible.

I hope I'm being clear with my question!

Thanks for any help.

Edit: I'm basically how you'd define his way of thinking and behavior when he's out on an away mission and even his thinking in general?
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Old October 25 2013, 11:17 PM   #2
Geoff Peterson
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

Rationalism.
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Old October 26 2013, 01:30 AM   #3
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

I like Data too, but his character suffered thru time (in real life).

In the first seasosn he was presented as a Pinocchio, the robot that wanted to be human, and by his questions Star trek analyzed the human condition.

But since that was a TV character success, he was kept that way, not allowed to evolve season after season up to and including the embarassing scene with Spock in Unification.

At that point I used to say "Data learned nothing in 7 years. My dog is smarter than him"

Then, because the character had became boring, they introduced that fucking emotion chip. That screwed Data the character in Generations and First Contact beyond help.

So all that effort about improving oneself and learning about humanity was pointless, and all that it took was a chip? a software patch? Nice job ruining Humanity, B&B.

But I see why they did that to him. If Data had succeeded, he'd be just another guy. Not good for serial TV. They love the reset button.
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Old October 26 2013, 05:33 PM   #4
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

Geoff Peterson wrote: View Post
Rationalism.
I would say no. Data would seem to be too intellectually open and inquisitive to be a rationalist. I don't see Data accepting "truth" as dogma, but rather I see Data much more as a empiricist. As someone with a obvious interest in discovery and the scientific principal, he would have to be a empiricist.

Mix in some Humanist philosophy. He does appear to possess a general reverence for life.

Also add some Zen philosophy (specifically shih-chueh ) to explain his quest to be Human, or at least more Human. Shih-chueh refers to the belief that over the course of time we pass from a state of ignorance and delusion to a state of realization and enlightenment.


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Old October 26 2013, 06:23 PM   #5
1001001
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

He made a comment once (I think in Data's Day) about how on one hand he was most like a Vulcan, but he found their "stark philosophy limited" (or something close to that).
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Old October 28 2013, 12:54 PM   #6
ReadyAndWilling
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

Geoff Peterson wrote: View Post
Rationalism.
Alright, thanks for the reply bro.

Can you expand on this? What type of philosophers should I be looking at?
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Old October 28 2013, 12:56 PM   #7
ReadyAndWilling
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

1001001 wrote: View Post
He made a comment once (I think in Data's Day) about how on one hand he was most like a Vulcan, but he found their "stark philosophy limited" (or something close to that).
Right, I remember this as well!

So 'rationalism' is the only term we could use for Data?
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Old October 29 2013, 02:02 AM   #8
Geoff Peterson
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

ReadyAndWilling wrote: View Post
1001001 wrote: View Post
He made a comment once (I think in Data's Day) about how on one hand he was most like a Vulcan, but he found their "stark philosophy limited" (or something close to that).
Right, I remember this as well!

So 'rationalism' is the only term we could use for Data?
Empiricist was also mention.
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Old October 29 2013, 02:28 AM   #9
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

Data's rational in his behavior but his philosophy is pretty strictly humanist. He applies his rationality to protect life above all else and even applies it to other artificial life forms. He was willing to die for his crew mates, he was willing to die for random villagers, he was willing to face treason charges for newly sentient repair devices, the only time he even entertained the idea of killing was a guy who he knew for a fact was going to continue to murder people in order to enslave him.

Data's philosophy is, quite simply, to value life.
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Old October 29 2013, 02:36 AM   #10
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

ReadyAndWilling wrote: View Post
Hey guys, so Data is my favorite character in all of Star Trek. I really love watching him trying to solve problems with his 'disconnected logic' style of analyzing situations. One of my favorite Data scenes is where Data and Geordie are examining a plant and Data's reflexes allow him to grab the plant before it could strike Geordie. My other favorite Data scene is in the episode 'Genesis' of season 7 where the entire crew has 'De-evolved' and Data and Picard are the only two unaffected.

In both of these scenes, I love how Data is able to maintain his calmness and rational way of thinking. What is this style of thinking called? I'd like to know so I could look it up and learn. Is it just called 'rational thinking'? It seems similar to the Vulcan style of thinking, but Data seems warmer and more 'humane' if that's possible.

I hope I'm being clear with my question!

Thanks for any help.

Edit: I'm basically how you'd define his way of thinking and behavior when he's out on an away mission and even his thinking in general?
A ternary based logicism as a base construct; with heuristically oriented statistical machine learning routines abstracted in fractal qubit matrices.
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Old October 29 2013, 06:32 PM   #11
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

Data is a HAL 9000?


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Old October 29 2013, 09:58 PM   #12
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

^ Not really. HAL broke down because he was unable to deal with the concept of deliberately telling a lie (i.e. withholding the true nature of the Discovery mission from Frank and Dave). HAL's breakdown was simply because he was designed to always tell the truth, yet was ordered to lie, and couldn't reconcile the two - that's why he killed all of the Discovery crew, so there would be no one left to lie TO.

Data, OTOH, would seem to be capable of telling a lie if it suited the greater good. ("Clues", for instance.) Data's programming is much more sophisticated than HAL's. Data can lie; HAL doesn't know how.
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Old October 29 2013, 10:38 PM   #13
Zelenyj
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

In my opinion (<-this part is very important), the way Data thinks and sees his life cannot be understood with help of human phylosophy or psychology terms.
He (and Lore) is unique, and has unique android personality. Data is rational, but this is how we see him, as we have concepts, opposite to rational. Data in fact just cannot behave otherwise. As he observe and study humans, he tries to copy human behaviour, and performs 'irrational' actions, such as painting, growing beard, writing poetry (which sounded quiet unhuman), etc. But whether Data listens to Mozart or learning to dance, his meaning of these human-like deeds is completely different from ours. He was created by human, and he lives among humans, so he wants to study his creators, to understand them. I don't know why, but if we discard the explanation that TNG writers wanted to show us what human is from the android point of view, maybe this is one of the commom things between Data and humans - he made his own choise about purpose in his life.

But most of the times, Data only tries (or was designed) to imitate humans.
Remember how he defined a friendship in his conception? "As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs eventually are anticipated and even 'missed' when absent." An imitation of emotional response, intended or not by Dr. Noonian Soong.
Data may look like he possess some of human emotions, but this is because he wants the crew (and us) to see a person not very different from them, he wants people to treat him like a capable crewmember and good friend, not like an alien.
In the episode "The Offspring", Data tells Lal about android lack of emotions: "It is a limitation we must learn to accept. (...) I've struggled to be more human until I realised it is the struggle itself that is most important. We must strive to be more than we are. It does not matter that we will never reach our ultimate goal. The effort yields its own reward" He himself admits that eventually becoming a human is close to impossible.

Don't understand me wrong, I really like Data and all these 'What is it like to be a human?'-moments. He is remarkable android, and awesome character, but that just how I see him. He is not human, and cannot became one, so, answering to the OP, you cannot just apply our phylosophy to Data.
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Old October 29 2013, 10:39 PM   #14
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

Lore was easier to understand. His philosophy? "F*cking psycho".
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Old October 30 2013, 12:42 AM   #15
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Re: Data: What philosophy does he follow?

George Steinbrenner wrote: View Post
^ Not really. HAL broke down because he was unable to deal with the concept of deliberately telling a lie (i.e. withholding the true nature of the Discovery mission from Frank and Dave). HAL's breakdown was simply because he was designed to always tell the truth, yet was ordered to lie, and couldn't reconcile the two - that's why he killed all of the Discovery crew, so there would be no one left to lie TO.
Not necessarily, actually. Or at least not necessarily based on the evidence just from 2001 the original movie. (I know Clarke presented his opinion of what happened in the sequel. Kubrick, as far as I know, never expressed his opinion.) Consider:

The scene where HAL and Frank are playing chess. HAL announces a mate in several moves and shows them out. But if you look closely at the moves, HAL cheats! He has Queen move to Bishop 3, when it should move to Bishop 6, and Frank accepts this incorrect move.

The obvious explanation? Well, that the movie makers made a mistake, because this is the sort of thing that doesn't matter and that you can watch a dozen times over without noticing. This is almost certainly correct. It's also a boring explanation.

The non-boring explanation? HAL is, as part of his programming, determined to test the crew and make certain they are alert, engaged, and fit for the Jupiter mission. Note his conversation with Dave about Dave's feelings regarding the mission. And now, HAL has evidence that Frank at least is either not paying attention, or doesn't care, or has had his mental faculties so dulled by the long dull routine of spaceflight that he can't even follow a chess game correctly. If Frank is making slips about where the Queen goes, what might he do when a precious, once-in-humanity's-lifetime event happens, as HAL knows well is coming?

Obviously, if the human crew can't be depended on to work correctly, and HAL can, then for a mission of this importance the humans have to be put out of the way so the computer --- which has never been recorded creating an error, and which none of the other computers in its manufacturing line has ever created an error --- can do the job rightly. And HAL very nearly, and very neatly, accomplishes this utterly logical goal.
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