Straw Vulcans, Logic and Game Theory

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One of Star Trek’s most popular aliens are the Vulcans — a “purely logical” species that eschewed emotion. While Vulcans were an interesting species, they were unfortunately often used as  straw men used to attack the logic vs. emotion dichotomy.  In fact, this attack has become so cliched, that it earned a name: Straw Vulcan, and there’s even a video on the subject here.

Star Trek’s treatment of Vulcans is so simplistic, it fails in its very premise — the false dichotomy between logic and emotion.  See, rather than being opposing forces, logic SERVES emotion by charting an efficient course to emotional satisfaction. AS such, agents are logical to the extent that they efficiently satisfy their emotional goals — whatever they may be.  In fact, without emotion, there would be no goal for logic; no reason for anyone to explore, play 3D chess or even get…

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