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In the 1987 Robocop movie, Alex Murphy was shot by some gangsters.

When OCP was making Robocop using Alex Murphy's body, was Alex Murphy still alive, or did OCP use his dead body to make Robocop?

  • 1
    Another good question. Keep 'em coming :-) – Valorum Jun 25 '16 at 12:13
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    Legally, medically, and philosophically dead are three different things (though they certainly overlap). The answer given by @Valorum suggests that he would have been declared legally dead regardless of his medical state, and that (one form of) medical death was intentionally induced, but the story as a whole suggests that there was a certain continuity of mind that could form an argument against his being dead in a philosophical sense. – Darael Jun 25 '16 at 12:36
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    @Darael - There certainly exists a critical window of opportunity in which a brain could be recovered if it was placed into a body capable of supporting it. At present such technology doesn't exist (although the Russian made great strides towards it in the 1950's and early 60's) – Valorum Jun 25 '16 at 12:41
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    @Valorum that too, though I was more thinking of things like those declared legally dead while still living (the reason behind Mritak Sangh, amongst other examples), persistent vegetative states (where there is a strong philosophical argument that the person is dead even though the body lives on), and things like Lazarus Syndrome (where people who have been declared dead on medical grounds, owing to lack of circulation and what seem to be failed attempts at resuscitation, apparently-spontaneously recover). The point is the three concepts are distinct and should each be considered. – Darael Jun 25 '16 at 12:47
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Murphy was dead.

When the doctors are operating on him, the line is

Surgeon #1 - Ok, let's shock him to flatline, then quit.

[They shock him]

Surgeon #2 - No pulse!

Surgeon #1 - I'm calling it [medical slang for declaring the time of death].

which tallies very nicely with what we see in the film's official novelisation

A loud voice crashed through the fog. The dreams shattered. “I’ve got a straight line. Crash cart! 10 cc Adrenalin. Stand clear!”

He felt cold grease on his chest. A surge of electricity slammed into his muscles. There was the ferret-faced thug.

“Hit him again!” someone screamed. A sudden jolt conjured up the face of the Asian hit man. Another jolt. The farmboy. And another. The black man. And another. The high-foreheaded clown who blew his hand to shreds. His killers. He bade farewell to them all. Only blackness filled his life, now. A void.

“That’s it. He’s gone,” he heard someone say from another planet.

We see later see in the film that he was officially declared dead by the State. He had a funeral and his widow was provided with a pension.

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and this from the film's original script

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If you take the later TV series as canon, we actually see his body in the DPD morgue

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I think that Murphy's body is gone. They used his face to honor him, says Robocop in the film Robocop 2. However, I think they used his face because they used his brain. It makes sense that if they used his brain in the creation of Robocop, they would use the face that used that brain, i.e. Murphy. So in my book, Murphy lives on in Robocop. The reason Robocop says (while gesturing his face), "They did this to honor him," is because he doesn't want to hurt his wife anymore, knowing that her husband is still alive, but never coming home because he works 24/7. Anyway, that's my take on it.

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