Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is widely regarded as a "masterpiece of modern cinema" and is regularly ranked as one of the great films of all time. Set in a dystopian future where the line between human beings and ‘replicants’ is blurred, the film raises a host of philosophical questions about what it is to be human, the possibility of moral agency and freedom in ‘created’ life forms, and the capacity of cinema to make a genuine contribution to our engagement with these kinds of questions.
This volume of specially commissioned chapters systematically explores and addresses these issues from a philosophical point of view. Beginning with a helpful introduction, the seven chapters examine the following questions:
- How is the theme of death explored in Blade Runner and with what implications for our understanding of the human condition?
- What can we learn about the relationship between emotion and reason from the depiction of the ‘replicants’ in Blade Runner?
- How are memory, empathy, and moral agency related in Blade Runner?
- How does the style and ‘mood’ of Blade Runner bear upon its thematic and philosophical significance?
- Is Blade Runner a meditation on the nature of film itself?
Including a brief biography of the director and a detailed list of references to other writings on the film, Blade Runner is essential reading for students – indeed anyone - interested in philosophy and film studies.
Contributors: Colin Allen, Peter Atterton, Amy Coplan, David Davies, Berys Gaut, Stephen Mulhall, C. D. C. Reeve.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Amy Coplan and David Davies 2. Elegy in LA: Blade Runner, empathy, and death Berys Gaut 3. ‘More human than human’: Blade Runner and being-toward-death Peter Atterton 4. Replicant love: Blade Runner Voight-Kampffed C. D. C. Reeve 5. Do humans dream of emotional machines? Colin Allen 6. Zhora through the looking-glass: notes on an esper analysis of Leon’s photograph Stephen Mulhall 7. In the mood for thought: mood and meaning in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner Amy Coplan 8. Blade Runner and the cognitive values of cinema David Davies. Index
Amy Coplan is Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, USA. She is the co-editor, with Peter Goldie, of Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives (2011).
David Davies is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at McGill University, Canada. He is the author of Art as Performance (2004), Aesthetics and Literature (2007), and Philosophy of the Performing Arts (2011), and editor of The Thin Red Line (Routledge, 2008).