Further, rather than limiting the text, science fiction constructs have been argued to actually engender more insightful philosophical investigations. In a popular science fiction blog, writer Brad Templeton (2010) recently indicated,
In mainstream literature, the cliché is that the purpose of literature is to “explore the human condition.” SF tends to expand that, to explore both the human condition and the nature of the technology and societies we create, as well as the universe itself… The best hard SF thus explores the total human condition.
In this sense, the futuristic settings and slightly fantastical subject matter aid the text in constructing an investigation into the nature of humanity that otherwise couldn’t be as successfully broached in more traditional writing or film.
While the nature of science fiction is broad to the extent that it can encompass most literary examinations, it seems that despite its genre characteristics the central concern of the science fiction text is the examination of the humanity of its characters. In Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and the Wachowski brother’s The Matrix the nature of humanity is literally explored through the philosophical investigation of what it means to be human. In examining the philosophical quandaries posed by Blade Runner and The Matrix, this essay demonstrates that despite their technologies and futuristic settings, the central concern of these science fiction works is the investigation into humanity and what it means to be human.
Blade Runner posits a future world wherein the Tyrell Corporation has constructed a robot so equal in intelligence to its creator that upon its revolt on a distant planet it had to be banned on earth. The film opens with an investigator questioning a man seemingly to discover whether he is a replicant; that is, one of the robotic beings that have been outlawed on earth. By Director Ridley Scott opening the film with this