Voigt-Kampff: Germanicity and Empathy in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Voigt-Kampff, the sinister test designed to detect the schizophenic ‘flattening of affect’ (33) of android psychopathy in Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?[i] (1968), is an extension of Alan Turing’s 1950 test of human-machine equivalence. Its purpose is to draw and cull the uncanny androids by exposing their lack of empathy for living creatures, particularly the rare, exotic and endangered animals of Dick’s post-nuclear San Francisco. Dick’s choice of the name Voigt-Kampff is a[…]

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Plato’s Cave: Rebel Without a Cause and Platonic Allegory

Nicholas Ray’s 1955 cult classic film Rebel Without a Cause[i], starring James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo is broadly understood as a violent, tragic recapitulation of the family. It is—‘following’ abstractedly, at least in title, Robert M. Lindner’s 1944 book Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath—a character study of suburban alienation in youth, and of latent psychopathy, influenced also by Freud, particularly ‘Family Romances’ (1909), Oedipal conflict, absence, surrogacy, and displacement.[…]

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