After the Blade Runners and Black Mirror I’m almost tired of the question of soul-having. I get it, people jump through hoops to have a word that can’t be measured to draw a line between themselves and animals, computers, etc. ‘Soul’,  ‘internal experience’. Turns out there’s no hard line; there’s possibly no meaningful difference between slavery, caste systems, animal husbandry, and androids/AIs without human rights, and we are bad people until we acknowledge this.

In Fullmetal Alchemist, there are these “homunculi,” artificial persons, which are humans without souls. Besides the fact that they have superpowers, the only difference between them and humans is they spend all day bitching and moaning about how they don’t have souls. I’ve yet to see any fiction show me a “person without a soul” that had any compelling point to make. Every single example was just something like Data from Star Trek: boy I wish I had a soul; I’m so sad about the fact that I have no emotions.

Person A has a soul, person B lacks a soul.

What’s the difference?

Well, one has a soul.

Yes, but what does that mean?

The other doesn’t have a soul.

What are the implications of this? How is this a meaningful statement?

Well they don’t have a soul you see, you gotta have a soul.

What about the guy without a soul?

Well obviously he doesn’t need a soul. He doesn’t have a soul.

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