What is ‘bulk apperception’? Westworld season 1 episode 6’s Maeve cliffhanger explained

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The Independent Culture

Westworld aired an eventful and exciting episode this week, but its big finish required viewers to be pretty on top of their philosophy vocabulary.

The final scene saw Maeve demand alterations to her code from her technicians, after she became fully aware that she was created in a lab for the amusement and indulgence of humans.

She wanted her ‘loyalty’ and ‘pain’ attributes turned down, but her ‘bulk apperception’ dialed “all the way to the top”.

So what exactly does the latter mean and what does it mean for her character going forward?

The term ‘apperception’ originates with Descartes and was developed by Kant, and, in its most basic definition, refers to ‘introspective self-consciousness’.

More specifically though, it means the process of understanding something in terms of previous experience. “The process by which new experience is assimilated to and transformed by the residuum of past experience of an individual to form a new whole,” as Dagobert D. Runes put it in his 1942 Dictionary of Philosophy.

We can assume then, that Maeve is trying to hold onto her past - both the information she has just learned and her earliest history. We also learned in the episode that hosts’ memories aren’t being “wiped” as such but but their codes overwritten, which is why Maeve gets flashbacks of her “life” before she was a brothel madam - a time she clearly wants to hold on to cerebrally.

Westworld continues on Sunday night on HBO in the US and Tuesday night on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

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