Is life a simulation?

Lecture The Matrix and Philosophy by Prof. dr. Jos de Mul
Arie Kers

“You take the blue pill...the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Is life merely a simulation? When the Matrix was released in 1999, the movie dealing with this question became a global phenomenon. And while the story of robots controlling our very reality might have seemed a silly science-fiction premise then, the idea of life being a mere simulation kept philosopher Descartes up for nights back in the 1600s. What other philosophical ideas are there to be found in The Matrix?

In December, The Matrix Resurrections was released in cinemas, more than 15 years after the original trilogy ended. The series was known for the many philosophical ideas it brought to the big screen. From Plato’s famous allegory of the cave, to Descartes’ ideas of a ‘deceiving demon’. The directors of the movie even made all actors read philosophical works before the movie started filming. In this lecture, Professor of Philosophy Jos de Mul looks back at the old trilogy, and he tells us what we can learn philosophically from these films. Moreover, he goes into detail on the influence the movie has had on society. Think, for example, of the controversial ‘Red Pill’ movement that developed over the past decade. He will use excerpts from the films to analyze the movies to the greatest detail.

Is life a simulation?

Prof. dr. Jos de Mul is Professor of Philosophical anthropology at Erasmus School of Philosophy. His work focuses on the (partly overlapping) domains of philosophical anthropology, philosophy of art and culture, and the philosophy of information and communication technologies. He has published about thirty books and more than two hundred twenty academic articles and book contributions.
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