Breaking Down the Reflex-Machine in Three Works by Philip K. Dick

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Sammanfattning: This thesis expands upon Philip K. Dick’s philosophy surrounding ‘androidization’, a process of degradation leading to the devolution of individuals into what he termed as ‘reflex-machines’. Often used interchangeably with Dick’s reference to the human-android, existing criticism has applied the ‘reflex-machine’ label broadly to characters throughout his work. This thesis aims to clarify the implications of such a state through a close reading of his three works, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, A Maze of Death, and A Scanner Darkly while detailing the processes that comprise the androidization which produces it. In doing so, it proposes that androidization is made up of a series of stages. This distinction is vital for understanding what Dick suggests for the potential recovery of the individual from the state of a reflex-machine and his hope for humanity at large. Split into two parts, this essay first examines the production of the reflex-machine with the support of theories by Louis Althusser, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault, and Jean Baudrillard. It then considers the solutions that Dick proposes for the individual undergoing androidization by referencing theories by Carl Jung, as well as Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.

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