The Knowledge of Human Existence: Perception, Empiricism, and Reality An Analysis Contrived Through The Matrix and The Prestige

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March 11, 2012

The Knowledge of Human Existence: Perception, Empiricism, and Reality An Analysis Contrived Through The Matrix and The Prestige

Movies provide the audience with a unique experience. Not only do they entertain, they allow the audience to explore their own preconceptions. The most vital preconception that movies allow the viewer to explore and interact with is the definition and formation of knowledge. For centuries man has grasped for the true definition of knowledge. In this struggle many have fought for a unifying definition, this great conflagration of discourse and study did not lead to a unified definition of knowledge. Moreover, it leads to the question that still beats in the hearts of the philosopher and the
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In his dying moments Angiers defines his own understanding of his purpose, while the film-maker paints it in a romantic sense, it provides the viewer with the true understanding of individual existence. It is just that. Individual. While shaped by the collective experience, the only thing a human being can say for certain is that their existence is their own, folding too completely into an empirical collective experience is as unfulfilling as life without death. Hence, Angier must die by the end of the film. (Nolan, 2006).
Knowledge cannot be limited solely to a scientific explanation of why things are and why things aren’t. John Cottingham’s piece, “The Question,” from The Meaning of Life provides the seeker of knowledge with an explanation for the limitedness of scientific inquiry. In the piece Cottingham highlights “religious discourse” throughout time as necessary force for further investigation into the why that creates the human need for knowledge of existence. While “religious discourse” may not provide an exact answer to what existence is, this is inconsequential as according to Cottingham, “But its advocates would urge that it none the less assuages the nausea, the ‘nausea’ as Jean-Paul Sartre called it, that we feel in confronting the blank mystery of existence,” (Cottingham, 2003, p.9). Here Cottingham’s inclusion of “religious discourse” as essential in understanding the “blank

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