Thursday, June 17, 2004

Matrix Metaphysics

David Chalmers has a wonderful paper: The Matrix as Metaphysics, which perfectly captures my own ideas about skepticism - though in a much more coherent and convincing way than I've ever managed to express.
I think that even if I am in a matrix, my world is perfectly real. A brain in a vat is not massively deluded (at least if it has always been in the vat). Neo does not have massively false beliefs about the external world. Instead, envatted beings have largely correct beliefs about their world. If so, the Matrix Hypothesis is not a skeptical hypothesis, and its possibility does not undercut everything that I think I know. [Emphasis added]
The core idea is that we should understand the matrix as being another form of reality, another universe. Thus, the things which happen in it aren't lies, rather, they're true in that world.
I think the Matrix Hypothesis is equivalent to a version of the following three-part Metaphysical Hypothesis. First, physical processes are fundamentally computational. Second, our cognitive systems are separate from physical processes, but interact with these processes. Third, physical reality was created by beings outside physical space-time.
Interesting stuff. Read the whole thing for the rest of the details...


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