Blade Runner

Edited by Amy Coplan, David Davies

© 2015 – Routledge

158 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415485852
pub: 2015-04-14
US Dollars$39.95
Hardback: 9780415485845
pub: 2015-04-15
US Dollars$145.00

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About the Book

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

About the Editors

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).

About the Series

Philosophers on Film

'The true significance of film for philosophy, and of philosophy for film, cannot be established in abstract or general terms. It can only be measured in and through individual philosophers' attempts to account for their experience of specific films. This series promises to provide a productive context for that indispensable enterprise.' – Stephen Mulhall, Fellow and Reader in Philosophy, New College, Oxford

Film is increasingly used to introduce and discuss key topics and problems in philosophy, whilst some films raise important philosophical questions of their own. Yet until now, dependable resources for those studying and teaching philosophy and film have been limited. Philosophers on Film answers this growing need and is the first series of its kind. Each volume assembles a team of international contributors who explore a single film in depth. Beginning with an introduction by the editor, each specially-commissioned chapter discusses a key aspect of the film in question.

Additional features include a biography of the director and suggestions for further reading, making the series ideal for anyone studying philosophy, film and anyone with a general interest in the philosophical dimensions of cinema.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism