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.
KeywordsMoral Consideration Moral Standing Robot Slave Blade Runner Mere Object
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