'How Can It Not Know What It Is?': Self and Other in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner

Andrew Norris

Abstract


In this essay I provide a reading of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner that focuses upon the question of the kind of creatures the Replicants are depicted as being, and the meaning that depiction should have for us. I draw upon Stanley Cavell's account of the problem of other minds to argue that the empathy test is in fact a mode of resisting the acknowledgment of others. And I draw upon Martin Heidegger's account of authenticity and mortality to argue that this acknowledgment is crucial if one would become human. The film does not so much suggest that Replicants are, as such, human, but rather that humanity is won through the encounter with the inauthentic.


Keywords


acknowledgment, authenticity, William Blake, Blade Runner, Stanley Cavell, Philip K. Dick, empathy, Martin Heidegger, humanity, identity, Theodor Lipps, mortality, other minds, Replicants, Ridley Scott, scepticism, slaves, the uncanny

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