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My thoughts regarding existentialism and existence of androids Kevin Luo

on Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:31 am
Existentialists believe that human are born and then determine their purposes. In other words, in contrast to essentialist concept of essence before existence, existentialism states that our character, value, and purpose are determined by ourselves. Everyone, no matter his background, has free will and the freedom of making any decision he want, and we can be the person who we want to be. Furthermore, the belief of existentialism points out that humans are born will self-consciousness; they are clearly aware of their existence and actively looking for their purpose of existence.
As far as I am concerned, I can’t conclude whether Nexus-6 androids “exist” so far. To be exact, I find that in this book we can't really view android just by a universal standard. So far in this novel, I believe that android can be separate into two groups base on whether they are aware of their true identity.
For those who know they are android, we can’t say they “exist” with human essence. One example is Inspector Garland who is an android that escape to earth. After he realizes his upcoming ending, he told Rick the mentality of those who break free and come to Earth. Through his conversation with Rick, we can tell that he has come to terms with his ending. I think we can conclude that those androids that are aware of their true identity seek no purpose of being exist. The only thing they want is break free and enjoy limited moments of freedom. And even through they may have different social roles and makes decisions every day, it is not a reflection of their free will, but merely their disguise in order to blend in. If those androids really do have human essence, they wouldn’t go to earth a place where android are inferior than animals and being hunted.
On the other hand, androids like Resch, who are given implanted memory and do not aware of his true identity, behave like humans with essence. When Resch is interacting with Rick and finds out both Polokov and Garland are androids, Resch actually reacts with trace of self-consciousness and self-determined decision. He is first shocked when realizing for a long time he is under the command of an android, and then questions his past experience, and even actively concerns about his future. I don’t know how Resch’s mind changes in the next chapters, but so far I think he can be seen as an android that “exists”. To conclude, for those android who are unaware of their identity, they “exist” and live with essence according to who they think they are.


Last edited by Kevin Luo on Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: My thoughts regarding existentialism and existence of androids Kevin Luo

on Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:40 am
These are great thoughts that reminds me of another question: do we humans really have free wills?

As mentioned in the 3rd paragraph, “And even through (though*) they may have different social roles and makes (make*) decisions every day, it is not a reflection of their free will, but merely their disguise in order to blend in.” This basically means that androids do not have free wills because they are programmed.

Reflecting to humans, however, I discover the problem. Regarding the concession made in the same sentence—“Even through (though*) they may have different social roles and makes (make*) decisions every day, …”—is that not what exactly we humans do? That is what makes us real humans—a social species. So, how can we determine that androids do not exist with human essence?

Viewed from humans ourselves, the problem … We do not think androids have free wills because they are programmed, but what about ourselves? What do our free wills come from? People will probably agree that they come from combinations of neural activities in our brain. These combinations are biological—they are natural. Anything natural follows the law of nature. So we can say that the law of nature determines what our brains act, and thus determines our “free” wills.

So, do we humans really have free wills?
William Pao
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Reply to Kevin Luo

on Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:25 pm
In this passage, Kevin shows his person overall comprehension on the relationship between essence and existence in the novel "Electric Sheep". But I've got a different understanding of the existence and essence of the androids. All of the creatures, like human beings, and objects in the world own independent existence, even the human-made androids. What matters is their essence, human discovers their essence as their life proceeds, while the android's essence is predefined and obtained at the moment of being created.
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Re: My thoughts regarding existentialism and existence of androids Kevin Luo

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