The Matrix and Philosophy
Welcome to the Desert of the Real
Edited by William Irwin
Volume 3 in the Popular Culture and Philosophy® series
Is the world around us truly as it appears or are we inert bodies in tanks, our brains subjected to electronic stimulation creating a make-believe world of hallucination? The Keanu Reeves cult sci-fi movie, The Matrix, vividly conveyed the excitement and the horror of a fake world made of nothing but perceptions, substituting for a real world of grim despair. Since The Matrix is probably the most overtly philosophical movie ever to have come out of Hollywood it has popularized issues on which philosophers have a lot to say.
The Matrix and Philosophy is from the same team of cool, capable, young philosophers who created The Simpsons and Philosophy, which redefined the market for a work by serious philosophers. It has 20 new, thoughtful essays on philosophical problems raised by The Matrix, many of which focus on the issues "Can we be sure the world is really there, and if not, what should we do about it?" The book also explores other philosophical puzzles including ethical ones like Cypher’s decision to choose a pleasurable fake world over a wretched real one.