Professor Dr. Tyler Veak
Philosophy 201- B12 LUO
4 February 2013
Plato, Descartes, and The Matrix
Consider this, Is what we believe to be real and true real and true? In the movie The Matrix, Neo is a computer programer by day and hacker by night. He senses that something is wrong with the world but insists what he know he feels. When he dreams, he isn’t sure if it was real or just a dream just as Descartes believes he cannot trust his senses to tell him whether or not he is still dreaming.
Neo meets with Morpheus and Morpheus gives Neo the option of knowing the truth. According to Morpheus the world isn’t real, it is an illusion and offers Neo a life altering choice. To take a pill that will give him the truth. The truth Morpheus refers to is that the world Neo believes in is just an illusion. What Neo perceives as real by his senses is nothing more than a computer generating ideas in his head without any real experiences. Morpheus gives Neo the option of continuing to live his life in the shadows and the way he perceives it or to see the light and the truth. This closely resembles the allegory of the cave by Pluto. Plato invites us to imagine humans being held prisoners, with no freedom to move or see except what is directly in front of them in the form of shadows. This is the prisoners reality. This is what they come to believe is real. When in-fact there is another world just beyond their reality. It is only after one prisoner escapes the shackles and chains and finds that the actual world is not just shadows but a world with the light of the sun. The prisoner has difficulty adjusting his eyes to the brightness, but eventually does. This experience parallels to what Neo experiences.
Descartes poses the questions in his work Meditations of First Philosophy, 1961, of how we cannot for certain that the world he experiences isn’t not the product of an illusion forced upon him by an evil demon. He questions what he believes...
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