In James B. South & K. Engles (eds.), Westworld and Philosophy. pp. 79-89 (2018)

Bradley Richards
Ryerson University
The consciousness of the hosts is a major theme in Westworld, and for good reason. Hosts are not philosophical zombies. The hosts act like they have feelings, like they suffer and fear, like they enjoy the yellow, pink, and blue tones of a beautiful sunset. This chapter examines the analogs of memory, perception, and emotion in hosts. Hosts have a very troubling relationship to memory. Although using a different visual style would denote unique host experience, using the same visual style to depict both human and host experience is not a strong indicator that the hosts are conscious, or that they have similar experiences to humans. Host perception, memory, and emotions all seem different from human, but the cinematic medium does not grant us immediate access to host experience, and neither the testimony of the creators, nor the hosts is totally reliable.
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