Last week, Lady Geek Girl asked whether it was ethical to keep droids as servants, in the Star Wars universe. Her answer centers around the idea of souls, and whether droids might qualify as soul-bearing beings. Ultimately, she concluded, it doesn’t matter if they have souls, these machines need to be treated with dignity and respect.
I’d like to expand on the idea, because it’s a good one. If we assume souls exist and are part of what makes us fully human, then we have to deal with the question of non-human beings that exhibit traits that philosophers like to assign to souls. Our favorite geeky genres are a great place to experiment with a lot of these ideas, with all sorts of beasts and beings with all kinds of abilities. So if you’ll indulge me for a few moments, I’d like to take a look at how droids are basically the Harry Potter house-elves of the Star Wars universe, and what that could mean about their place in their own universe.