Simulation arguments that the universe and our experience of it may be computer simulations constructed by advanced civilisations (either alien or our human/posthuman descendants) have been the subject of widespread debate since Bostrom’s original philosophical formulation of the principal position in 2003. Since then the key elements of the argument – boosted by ‘The Matrix’ film and its sequels and spin-offs covering similar scenarios – have been discussed critically by philosophers, psychologists, literary critics and scientists, and there is now a large body of literature on the topic. The principal theme of this monograph is that this simulation literature offers immense potential for learning and teaching in a wide range of domains. After examining the main claims of the argument – and the key criticisms of simulation hypotheses – the implications of this debate in the spheres of ethics, epistemology and metaphysics are examined with a view to offering practical recommendations for potentially fruitful philosophical and educational discussion topics.
Professor Terry Hyland is a Director and Trustee at the Free University of Ireland in Dublin where he teaches philosophy to mature students. He has over 200 publications - including 7 books, 23 book chapters and over 180 articles - on a diverse range of philosophy of education topics.
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Simulation arguments, Virtual Reality, Consciousness, Philosophy, Education
PHILOSOPHY / General