The Matrix Film

The Matrix, like the Meditations on First Philosophy, presents a scenario in which an individual is radically deceived about the nature of the external world. Proponents of skepticism sometimes adopt what we might call ‘the Skeptic’s Principle’: If it is possible that we are deceived about the nature of the external world, then we do not know those propositions that we think of as ordinary knowledge claims. The Skeptic’s Principle can then be used to build a modus ponens argument: (1) If it is possible that we are deceived about the nature of the external world, then we do not know those propositions that we think of as ordinary knowledge claims. (2) It is possible that we are deceived about the nature of the external world. (3) Therefore, we do not know those propositions that we think of as ordinary knowledge claims. As modus ponens is a valid form, the truth of the conclusion is dependent only upon the truth of premises (1) and (2). The Writing Prompt There are two questions to respond to; they can be treated separately, each being answered in a short paragraph. (This is a short writing prompt, not a formal essay.) Does The Matrix, in conjunction with the skeptical principle, constitute an argument that your ordinary knowledge claims are not really knowledge? (In other words–Does the The Matrix constitute a compelling defense of premise (2) above? Is it possible that we are deceived about the true nature of reality?) Why or why not? Is The Matrix an example of film as philosophy? Why or why not? (Here, be sure to address Wartenberg’s thinking for why The Matrix is philosophy on screen–though you don’t need to agree with him.)

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