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VWN Product Reviews: The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real
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An introduction to philosophy book, third in the ?Popular Culture and Philosophy? series, The Matrix and Philosophy is a collection of essays that mediate on the nature of existence, using the film The Matrix, and the simulation of total reality as a frame of reference.

Full of deep, meaningful analysis of life in simulated environments, and interthreaded with the Simulation Argument as postulated by Nick Bostrom. This is an argument backed by its own scientific proof that we may in fact be living in a simulated environment right now.

Fundamentally, this book takes ideas presented in The Matrix, compares them with philosophical writings from throughout history, and attempts to explain the latter in the context of the former. The central theme throughout the entire book is a drive to answer a single, burning question: Is a simulacrum like the Matrix actually possible?

Alongside the simulation argument, this tome covers many topics, including a detailed Artificial Intelligence and the nature of the mind, a discussion of fate, freedom, omniscience and determinism, and even a detailed analysis of Cypher, the member of the team in the original film who desired above all else to return to the matrix, and forget the real world existed, analysing the decisions he made and the reasoning behind that.

In the latter case, the book goes on to ponder whether ignorance might actually be bliss, or whether knowingly living in a simulation in which you have an enjoyable life might be better than scraping a life together in a shell of a ?real world?.

Essentially, this book is fairly light reading for philosophy, containing a fairly upbeat, and absorbing style of writing in general. However, at the same time, it further opens the can of worms the movies spawned, and starts to explore in depth some of the concepts it raises. Whether you agree with the conclusions or not, this book is a worthy addition to any library.

 

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