• Timothy Shanahan


Arriving at the Tyrell Corporation to test his Voight-Kampff machine on one of the new Nexus 6 replicants, Deckard is introduced by Rachael to its eponymous CEO, Dr Eldon Tyrell, who wastes no time on social pleasantries: ‘Demonstrate it. I want to see it work.’ Deckard is understandably puzzled because there is apparently no replicant present: ‘Where’s the subject?’ Tyrell responds: ‘I want to see it work on a person. I want to see a negative before I provide you with a positive.’ Presupposed in Tyrell’s request is his belief that replicants are not persons — a belief that he later underscores when he describes Rachael, who has by then been exposed as a replicant, as ‘an experiment, nothing more.’ Tyrell’s belief encounters no resistance from Deckard who apparently holds the same belief about replicants. When Rachael asks him whether he has ever retired a human by mistake, he replies that he hasn’t, and then adds, ‘Replicants are like any other machine. They’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.’ In his view, replicants are essentially appliances whose sole value consists in their usefulness to human beings. Before Deckard fully grasps the fact that Rachael is a replicant, he refers to her as he would a person: ‘She’s a replicant, isn’t she?’ Once the truth sinks in, however, she becomes for him a mere object: ‘How can it not know what it is?’ Between those two questions Rachael is transferred from the category person to that of a disposable commercial product.


Moral Consideration Moral Standing Robot Slave Blade Runner Mere Object 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Timothy Shanahan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy Shanahan
    • 1
  1. 1.Loyola Marymount UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations