Zombies, Blade Runner,
and the Mind-Body Problem
RACHEL [TO DECKARD]: Or we could live in sin, except that I’m
—PHILIP K. DICK, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
J.R. SEBASTIAN [TO ROY BATTY]: You’re so perfect!
Zombies are Undead. Something animates them, but whatever it is—whether voodoo or science run amok—it’s not their departed souls or, as philosophers (not wanting to prejudge the theological question of souls) would have it, their conscious selves or minds. Zombies enter philosophy where horror fantasy and science fiction meet dawning scientific fact. Robots, many believe, are unconscious, soulless automata. Many further believe robots will remain unconscious and soulless no matter how convincingly human their appearances and behavior become, even robots able to fool the most careful unaided observer—like the androids in Blade Runner}
1 All quotations and references to characters and situations refer to Blade Runner
(directed by Ridley Scott, 1982) a film adaptation of Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids
Dream of Electric Sheep?