The Matrix & Philosophy

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 319
  • Published : October 31, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
The Matrix
and Philosophy
Welcome to the
Desert of the Real

Edited by

WILLIAM IRWIN

For Peter H. Hare,
Morpheus to many

Contents

Introduction: Meditations on The Matrix

1

Scene 1
How Do You Know?

3

1.
2.
3.
4.

Computers, Caves, and Oracles: Neo and Socrates
WILLIAM IRWIN
Skepticism, Morality, and The Matrix
GERALD J. ERION and BARRY SMITH

16

The Matrix Possibility
DAVID MITSUO NIXON

28

Seeing, Believing, Touching, Truth
CAROLYN KORSMEYER

41

Scene 2
The Desert of the Real
5.
6.

7.
8.

5

53

The Metaphysics of The Matrix
JORGE J.E. GRACIA and JONATHAN J. SANFORD

55

The Machine-Made Ghost: Or, The Philosophy of
Mind, Matrix Style
JASON HOLT

66

Neo-Materialism and the Death of the Subject
DANIEL BARWICK

75

Fate, Freedom, and Foreknowledge
THEODORE SCHICK, JR.

87

iii

iv

Contents

Scene 3
Down the Rabbit Hole of Ethics
and Religion
9.
10.

11.
12.

There Is No Spoon: A Buddhist Mirror
MICHAEL BRANNIGAN

101

The Religion of The Matrix and the Problems
of Pluralism
GREGORY BASSHAM

111

Happiness and Cypher’s Choice: Is Ignorance Bliss?
CHARLES L. GRISWOLD, JR.

126

We Are (the) One! Kant Explains How to Manipulate
the Matrix
JAMES LAWLER

138

Scene 4
Virtual Themes
13.
14.

15.
16.

18.

153

Notes from Underground: Nihilism and The Matrix
THOMAS S. HIBBS

155

Popping a Bitter Pill: Existential Authenticity in
The Matrix and Nausea
JENNIFER L. MCMAHON

166

The Paradox of Real Response to Neo-Fiction
SARAH E. WORTH

178

Real Genre and Virtual Philosophy
DEBORAH KNIGHT and GEORGE MCKNIGHT

Scene 5
De-Construct-Ing The Matrix
17.

99

188

203

Penetrating Keanu: New Holes, but the Same Old Shit
CYNTHIA FREELAND

205

The Matrix, Marx, and the Coppertop’s Life
MARTIN A. DANAHAY AND DAVID RIEDER

216

Contents

20.

The Matrix Simulation and the Postmodern Age
DAVID WEBERMAN

225

The Matrix: Or, The Two Sides of Perversion
SLAVOJ ZIZEK

240




19.

v

The Potentials

267

The Oracle’s Index

273

Acknowledgments

281

About the Editor
Popular Culture and Philosophy
About The Matrix and Philosophy
Praise for The Matrix and Philosophy

Credits
Cover
Copyright

About Open Court Publishing Company
About PerfectBound

vi

Introduction:
Meditations on The Matrix





Which pill would you choose, the red or the blue? Is ignorance bliss, or is the truth worth knowing, no matter what? After watching The Matrix we are impressed by the action and special effects, and also besieged by questions. Is it possible that we ourselves are prisoners of the Matrix? Is this a Christian film? A Buddhist film? There is no spoon?

A student of mine at King’s College, Adam Albert, first drew my attention to The Matrix. He immediately saw the connections between the film and Descartes’s speculations on the possibility of deception by dreams or an evil deceiver. My experience and his were similar to those of philosophy professors and students around the world. The magazine Philosophy Now even held an

essay contest for college students. The topic: Which pill would you choose? Why?
With this book, professors follow the trail blazed by their students. Each author asks and answers questions about the philosophical significance of the film. As culture critic Slavoj Zizek suggests, The Matrix is a philosopher’s Rorschach inkblot test. Philosophers see their favored philosophy in it: existentialism, Marxism, feminism, Buddhism, nihilism, postmodernism. Name

your philosophical ism and you can find it in The Matrix. Still, the film is not just some randomly generated inkblot but has a definite plan behind it and intentionally incorporates much that is philosophical. The Wachowski brothers, college dropout

comic-book artists intrigued by the Big Questions, readily
acknowledge that they have woven many...
tracking img