Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Discussion topic - why should we choose reality?

This is all too confusing. I can't take this any more. Anyway, several weeks ago, dreams were being discussed at the club meeting, and somebody mentioned a case where an individual chose to remain in a state of vivd dreaming than wake up for a prolonged period. This reminded me [of] an article written about The Matrix, but seems relevant. Likewise Nozick's experience machine. So I was thinking, maybe if people were to peruse said articles, there may be some stuff worth discussing on why we should choose reality over non-reality at the next meeting. The Matrix article and the Nozick (actually I couldn't be arsed finding it, so hopefully Martin or the like will be).

6 comments:

MelbournePhilosopher said...

I think that if I had cheap access to the Holodeck from Star Trek, I would do nothing but sleep with cute aliens, play tennis and program politicians to appear with devil horns and comical t-shirts.

Clearly any level of society that can build a holodeck can also remove the need to work for a living.

I would most likely punctuate this lifestyle with enormous dinner parties, held at no cost to myself in sumptuous surroundings. We could re-create the Academy, but this time it would have better internet access, and fewer togas.
Actually scratch that - togas are cool.

-MP

MH said...

Since it is up to me to do your dirty work ... the sanctioned Matrix papers are available at < http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/rl_cmp/phi.html >. I write ‘sanctioned’ because these are the ones that Warner Bros. have published on the Matrix website. Am not quite sure of which section of Nozick you are referring to, so cannot help on that front.

Also, am not quite sure about the togas ...

Samuel Douglas said...

Ah Martin, what is your problem with togas?

Without having read the articles, I do concur with melbournephilosopher. If the experience is good enoug, why bother with a reality that just makes you cranky and/or sad. Sure, the things we interact with might not be 'real people', but do we (and should we) put that much inherent value on our interaction being with 'real' things and persons in the 'real world'?

Pete said...

Might also be of interest to read the "Brains in a Vat" chapter from Putnam's work "Reason, Truth and History". I'm not sure if its a good argument or not but he does make a case suggesting that we couldn't turn our backs on reality even if we wanted to....

Aside from that I'm not sure what philosophical value this exercise has. Sure we can fantasize about superfunky technology that creates for us all the experiences that we could ever want. But what's the point that you guys are trying to get at here????

Another consideration: suppose we imagined a superfunky technology that could reshape existing reality into all the experiences that we could ever want. Would that have any more value than the holodeck? But again, what is the point of this exercise?

MH said...

On the Club administration front, the next couple of weekly discussions are slated. Will try and fit this in though in the near future.

Cooly McCool said...

The point is that the matrix article is interesting and might allow for some casual philosphic debate that does not require mountains of reading or assumed knowledge. Also, it might make relevant a screening of the matrix and waking life, and it might also allow someone to convince me that the real world is preferable to staying in bed because dreams really do shit all over reality.