The Matrix As Metaphysics By David Chalmers

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In “The Matrix as Metaphysics,” David Chalmers, contemporary philosopher of mind, illustrates how the Cartesian “Brain in a Vat” fable (interchangeable with Descartes own “Evil Devil”) , used as an epistemological thought experiment, treads in the field of metaphysics rather than epistemology. Chalmers argues that, even if man’s world is dictated by these brains in vats, even if man’s world was ruled by an evil devil who purposely deceives their perceptions, man has largely correct beliefs about the world. This idea, however, defies Descartes original intention of the thought experiment being skeptical. So, how does Chalmers make a skeptical and, therefore, an epistemological argument one that is metaphysical instead? To make such a claim, Chalmers first substitutes the “Brain in a Vat” hypothesis with, what he calls, the Matrix hypothesis. The two hypotheses are practically equivalent, the only differences being that the Matrix hypothesis predicts a virtual, computerized world rather than the imaginary world which the “Brain in the Vat” hypothesis predicts. After this substitution, Chalmers goes on to argue that, if man is computerized, then there may be some creator, outside of their spacetime, who built said computer (Creation Hypothesis). He then says that, if man’s world is computerized, then, under all its physical processes lie computer code which accounts for those processes (Computational Hypothesis). Chalmers follows up by saying that, if man is computerized,

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