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The Matrix and philosophical issues - Essay Example

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At the heart of The Matrix is that of skepticism, of concerns regarding the very nature of reality, and of whether we know anything to be real at all. Just a few minutes after the movie opens, Neo says, “you ever have that feeling where you're not sure if you're awake or still dreaming?” (A. Wachowski and L. Wachowski) like a foretelling of things to come. The Matrix plays out an old philosophical tale of a brain in a vat: A disembodied brain is floating in a vat, inside a scientist's laboratory. The scientist has arranged that the brain will be stimulated with the same sort of inputs that a normal embodied brain receives. To do this, the brain is connected to a giant computer simulation of a world. The simulation determines which inputs the brain receives. When the brain produces outputs, these are fed back into the simulation. The internal state of the brain is just like that of a normal brain, despite the fact that it lacks a body. From the brain's point of view, things seem very much as they seem to you and me. (Chalmers 135) The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves as Neo, a program writer by day, and a hacker by night. By hacking he thinks he is exercising his individuality, his free will. When asked if he believes in fate, Neo answers, “No… Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life” (A. Wachowski and L. ...
A prison for your mind” (A. Wachowski and L. Wachowski). As a viewer of this movie, one is left with a nagging feeling, “was Morpheus talking to me, too?” Am I also a slave? Am I in a prison in my own mind? Science, through direct observation of phenomena, gives us a way of knowing reality. Through scientific testing we know that everything we know about life, humanity and civilizations almost always have a material basis. In fact scientists have found that emotions, which mainly reside in the subjective and the invisible, are nothing more than the byproduct of hormones released into our system. And yet, thanks to science, we also know that there are some things we are unable to explain. For example, what causes water to flow up, against gravity, from a tree trunk to the leaves? What forces the heart to beat? How does a woman’s body know how to respond when she is about to give birth? The kind of reality that science gives us is objective reality – one that can be directly perceived by our five senses, which are then interpreted by the brain. Looking at the tale of the brain in a vat, we know that we can be so easily deluded into thinking that what we think is real. In fact, there is scientific evidence showing that there is no such thing as a normal brain and that we “are some momentary fluctuation in a field of matter and energy out in space than a person …[our] memories and the world [we] think [we] see around [us] are illusions” (Overbye). And yet despite these, we still have the capacity to question our own existence, and it is here were the gift lies. Rene Descartes said, “I realized that it was necessary…to demolish everything completely and start again right from the foundations if I wanted to establish ...Show more


The Matrix: An Analysis How do you know what you know? How do you know what you know is real? Underneath the computer generated images, death-defying stunts and the wide audience acceptance of The Matrix trilogy is a philosophical world waiting to be explored…
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The Matrix and philosophical issues essay example
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