[lit-ideas] Re: Decisions, decisions

  • From: Michael Chase <goya@xxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 11:28:16 +0200

Le 22 oct. 04, =E0 19:36, Robert Paul a =E9crit :

> I want to thank Mike Chase for pointing out to me the philosophical=20
> issues which
> I hadn't seen before in the Matrix. I really hadn't thought of it, the=20=

> film, in
> that way, no doubt because I was caught up the leather and special=20
> effects.

M.C. There are arguably quite a few more. At=20
http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/rl_cmp/phi.html, one may find=20
essays on philosophy in the matrix by people well over the age of 21,=20
like David Chalmers, John Patridge, , Hubert & Stephen Dreyfus, and=20
others. I particularly liked Colin McGinn's "The Matrix of dreams".

        I think it's rather hard to deny that the Matrix creators had =
Putnam's "Brain in a vat" thought-experiment right from the start (see=20=

Christopher Grau's paper on the site given above). But it also may have=20=

been influence by the thought experiment described in Robert Nozick's=20
Anarchy, State, and Utopia. The Experience Machine lets us plug our=20
brain into a computer programmed to make us think we are living=20
whatever we take to be the best possible life. When plugged in, the=20
life we think we are living is a computer-induced dream. Nozick asks=20
(p. 43) : "Would you plug in? What else can matter to us, other than=20
how our lives feel from the inside=A0?" In an interesting paper entitled=20=

"The meanings of life" (in D. Schmidtz, ed., Robert Nozick, Cambridge=20
2002), David Schmidtz argues that virtually all of us would refuse to=20
plug in. I'm not sure he's right, and I'm not sure the reasons he gives=20=

are the most pertinent ones.

        I *am* sure, however, that this question is a *philosophical* =
It's also the plot of The Matrix.

Michael Chase
7, rue Guy Moquet
Villejuif 94801

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