Thursday, December 26, 2013

Doctor Who Meets John Rawls

For the past half century, Doctor Who has been righting wrongs (or, at least, trying to do so) across endless expanses of space and time.  Regardless of which incarnations of the Doctor are your favorites - Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker are mine - the television series has entertained generations with more than just adventures, aliens, and acumen.  Doctor Who stories routinely rely on philosophical issues, from the logical to the metaphysical, as central drivers of the narrative.  The 50th Anniversary special, entitled The Day of the the Doctor, does this especially well.  Not only does it explore a variation of the Trolley Problem, more impressively, it imposes John Rawls' Original Position on two warring sides (that is, humans versus zygons) to force a peaceful resolution to their dispute.  As superb science fiction as it has ever been, Happy Anniversary, Doctor Who!