Dick uses Rick Deckerd as an example of why humanity cannot be defined by empathy. Rick's lack of empathy is evident throughout the novel. Rick is lacking in empathy, as he never uses his own empathy box and loves the android, Rachel Roesen, more than his own wife. He distances himself from those around him. For example, he is emotionally detached from his wife and does not interact with his neighbors, save one short business conversation about buying a friend's horse. Contrary to Rick, the Androids that he is trying to kill, enjoy each other's company and communicate often all examples of the supposed human traits Rick lacks. The author perfectly utilizes Rick's emotionally suspect character in a demonstration that humanity cannot be clearly defined, when Rick attempts to administer a Voigt-Kampff test on Luba Luft. During the episode, Luba Luft accuses Rick of being an android with false human memories. When he is taken to the police station and questioned as a possible android by Inspector Garland, the reader has no way of knowing whether or not Rick is an android. In this example, the author shows the reader why humans are androids are not different especially if we cannot tell an empathy less human from a machine.
Similar to Rick, John Isidore provides an example of why humanity cannot be defined by its compassion. Isidore is considered subhuman, yet he posses the most empathy out of all of the characters in the novel, which should make him the most human by his society's standards. Philip K. Dick makes the distinction between human and android more vague, because the lives that Isidore finds himself most emotionally attached to are those of machines, not humans. For instance, Isidore is affectionate toward an electric spider, Pris and her android friends. In contrast, he finds no emotional connection with the human beings around him. For instance, he does not feel for his boss, Hannibal Sloat, who constantly insults him.