I know this has been done on the boards before, but I couldn’t find the threads using the search function. Anyway, what are the philosophical arguments against the idea that we’re living in some Matrix-type simulation? FTR, I don’t think we are, but I’d appreciate a more solid basis for my belief than “It just seems implausible”.
I don’t know if this counts as philosophical, but we haven’t noticed any bugs. As someone who has written simulators, that does it for me.
Also, the universe is too old. Considering the cost of running the simulation, you’d turn it off once you hit more or less the steady state. Similarly, the universe is too big. Way too many events to update. One galaxy, or maybe a cluster, would do just as well.
Nobody has found any cheat codes, and there appears to be no pause button or back-up. Who would make a simulation that way?
Like creationism, it’s a non-falsifiable hypothesis. Any observation we make about our universe can be explained by, “oh, that was programmed into the simulation”, just like the creationist can say “oh, God just wanted it that way for some unknowable reason.” There is no conceivable experimental result that cannot be explained away.
Computer End Program appears to have no effect.
I think Nozick had the best approach in that it doesnt matter whether we can have absolut certainty (we cant) but whether we would choose to be in one, a choice revisited in our famous Matrix.
If we’re in a simulation that allows us to interact with other sentient beings like ourselves, we exercise some degree of free will, and can manipulate the environment we’re in, then I question whether we can truly call that a simulation. What constitutes a simulated reality if we have agency? If the rules of Fake Land comprise what we refer to as the rules of nature, then so what? Seems indistinguishable from reality to me.
I was a little dissatisfied with the Matrix because I felt as though we weren’t given enough information to appreciate how “unreal” the Matrix was. Yeah, the truth was that mankind was not really living in cities and dancing in clubs and eating at nice restaurants. But in the simulated world they mentally inhabited, were they not interacting with each other? Having relationships, resolving conflicts, expressing emotions, and learning profound things about themselves? What if they were capable of having real human experiences in the Matrix? Would it be so unreal then?
Eh? There are bugs all over the place. People walk behind horses and disappear forever. Frogs and fish fall out of the sky. You put down keys and they appear somewhere else – clearly an instance of the frame problem. There are weird UFO like things in the sky. Not only is the code buggy, but the universe needs a better graphics card.
You ask for two different things. For evidence, there can’t be any, since we can’t observe outside the simulation, and we have no other universes to compare ours to.
For philisophical arguments…the most compelling one would be “It doesn’t matter”. Plainly, meaning and authentic lives can be lived within this simulation. There’s nothing we lack for being simulated, by all evidence within the simulation, that keeps our lives from having meaning and value.
Any sufficiently complex simulation is indistinguishable from reality.
How would you know what a bug looked like?
Right. Somewhat vaguely analogous to the incompleteness theorem: you can never detect or describe a simulation from within itself (as long as it remains a closed system).
One might put forward the argument that in many practical cases it’s probably fairly easy to write a program that detects that it’s running in a simulator and not real hardware, but you can only do it by applying external knowledge of what “real hardware” looks like in comparison. At that point you’ve broken the “closed system” paradigm.
Simulation theories and Last Tuesdayism go together pretty well.
Anyway, if we are in a simulation it doesn’t have to be realistic. Maybe we’re in the batshit insane one. We just think it’s normal because we’re used to it.
I dunno- an artificial speed limit of C seems like a total hack. As does the Plankc Limit- it feels like the programmers are trying to hide something. And for all we know, pi is an easter egg.
Offhand, I’d say that Dark Matter is a bug.
That’s assuming that we’re the subjects of the simulation. For all we know, we’re just background actors. As has been said, it’s unfalsifiable- we don’t know what the purpose of the simulation is, so there’s no way to disprove it based on what we perceive as the purpose.
Huh. Actually makes sense.
I( personally think that this offers the clearest evidence that we are living in a simulation. Clearly scientists are hacking into a heuristic bit of code put in by the designers.
I agree - both are unfalsifiable, though I find Last Tuesdayism/Creationism arguments far more preposterous than simulation theories (probably because of the generally poor reasoning skills of those who espouse the former). I also agree it doesn’t really matter if we’re living in a simulation - I just find the philosophical argument interesting.
There has to be a limit somewhere, or we’d get into the Achilles and the tortoise paradox. As for dark matter, it is kind of an obvious bug.
If we are not the subjects (and I agree that there is no reason to think we are) then the age of the universe is a bigger problem. The actual subjects have long come and gone. Why is it still running. Doesn’t any super alien want to play solitaire?
It’s similar to God creating the universe for us. If he did, why did he wait so long to create the earth?
I don’t know that it’s a problem necessarily. The hypothetical can easily be twisted to fit and make sense. If it’s a computational process with an end goal in mind, the process is being run for an arbitrary number of iterations until it converges where it’s supposed to. Or the being running the simulation probably measures/experiences time in a very different way than we do. The Sims live entire lifetimes in only hours of play after all.
It’s more fun/engaging to participate in a discussion than it is to read others having one.
Hopefully I’m not too out of line here, but I’d like to add some thought-provoking ideas that are kind of FOR a simulation.
Solipsism is one thing you can’t discredit. The only thing you know for sure exists, is your own mind. Everybody else could be projections of your own consciousness and/or just simulations themselves.
According to the “brain in a vat” philosophical exercise, all of your experiences could be simulated by a computer simply feeding the correct electrical signals to your brain, while it sits in a vat. There is no objective way to prove that this isn’t what’s happening to you right now. Not that it is of course, just making the same point as others have about creationism and what-not.