Department of Philosophy



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image from Blade Runner 2049 movie

With the new Blade Runner movie, there is fresh popular interest in defining and identify boundaries between humans and non-humans. The Smithsonian magazine interviewed Deborah Knight on the question of whether emotions provide dividing lines. Will the Voight-Kampff test always be able to tell the difference between replicants and humans? "You’re in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and you see a tortoise …"

That story has sparked conversation. The site Aesthetics for Birds picks up the theme: “Philosophers can’t resist the bait Blade Runner lays out for them.”



Deborah Knight searching for non-humans in the middle of a statue