Question

How is philosophy portrayed in the film blade runner?

How is philosophy portrayed in the film blade runner?

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Answer #1
  • In the 1982 film Blade Runner by director Ridley Scott there is a genuine attempt to engage with philosophical thinking. Blade Runner is a science fiction film set in the year 2019 where humans have colonised other planets and allowed planet earth to become a wasteland. Humans have created replicates of themselves that are just as intelligent and are capable of having emotions but they only have short lives.
  • The replicates in the film, attempt to extend their lives by finding their creator (The Tyrrel Corporation) and taking their power away from them. The replicates are being hunted down by blade runners in order to retire them or in other words exterminate them.
  • The main philosophical idea the film explores is “What it means to be human”. The replicates are made up of synthetic materials but have a full emotional life, whilst the humans are portrayed as heartless and with selfish interests. It quickly becomes apparent that the replicates have more humanity than the humans do. The question of what makes us human is a theme blade runner attempts to explore in depth throughout the whole film.
  • The film conveys the idea that simple diagnostic criteria for deciding who or what is or is not human are bound to fail and that what it means to be human isn't so much an objective fact that's out there in the world waiting for us to discover, but rather it has more to do with our attitudes toward one another. Being human is more like a social construct than it is an objective fact. Now, that doesn't mean that objective facts in the world aren't relevant—they're very relevant and they're probably necessary—they're just not sufficient.
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