In the novel androids' lifespan is limited to few years (something connected with their metabolism, they are biological creatures although made artificially.)
Could we then compare androids to children? Children are not born with empathy, they develep it. Perhaps the reason why androids do not have emphaty in the novel is the fact that they just have not had the time to develop it.
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I agree with #2. I think part of the point of the novel is to profoundly question what it is to be human. Note what the humans do: they hunt down androids as if they were wild beasts and engage in shallow lives. The androids seem to be presented as more human than the humans themselves in their emotions and their desire to make the most out of the time that they have. Thus your comparison does have some merit.
Other than killing their human masters on Mars in order to escape their forced slavery, the androids who have escaped to Earth only to be hunted by bounty hunter Rick Deckard seem far more human than the real humans who want them dead. The androids do have many of the same characteristics as children, simply wanting only to enjoy their remaining years with the ones they love. The fact that no one can tell the androids apart from humans except by the questionable Voight-Kampff test shows that there is little difference between them and the two non-android types, "humans" and "specials."
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