A philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also Jokes

2395

John Searle Enters the Matrix

Morpheus: "After this, there is no turning back, John Searle. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - and i show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more."

Morpheus: "Have you ever had a dream, Searle, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"

Morpheus: "The Matrix is everywhere, and everything you thought was real was only implanted in your mind by the machines, who use mankind as their batteries."
John Searle: "That doesn't make any sense."

Morpheus: "I know, it is difficult for a mind to free itse-"
John Searle: "No i mean that literally doesn't make any sense."

John Searle: "Look, if I have a dream about having dinner with you, and at the same time you have a dream about having dinner with me, we aren't in the same dream. That's not a Matrix, that's nothing."

Morpheus: "Oh. Huh. So then what is the real truth?"

John Searle: "I don't know, and I'm no scientist, but that whole thing about the batteries was pretty suspect too, so I'm guessing you aren't even close to cracking the case on this one."

Morpheus: "Well shit."
"Also that whole thing where you need to reach a dream telephone to get out...maybe just think about that a bit more before you go repeating it to people."

When The Matrix came out, the New York Times reached out to philosopher of mind John Searle to write an article about the philosophical implications of the movie, most likely expecting some kind of bland article about how it was a recreation of Descartes. Instead John Searle wrote them saying the movie was incoherent, for the reasons outlined in the comic. The article was never published on account of the fact that no one wanted to read that the movie was incoherent, not to mention most viewers probably wouldn't share Searle's intuitions about its incoherence. Ironic, since John Searle is one of the only modern philosophers to hold seriously the position that most people hold without any philosophical training - naive realism. That is to say, the belief that we experience reality directly. If this belief is true, of course, he is perfectly correct to say that the Matrix is incoherent, because a dream would be separated from reality via a causal connection, so we could have no interactive component.

Most people reject this upon further thought however, after all massively multiplayer video games, where the game world is experienced by each player independently but kept track of my a central computer, are perfectly coherent to most people. Philosophers usually reject this because they read Kant, which John Searle certainly did, but as far as I know he never played WoW so that's probably where he went astray.

When The Matrix came out, the New York Times reached out to philosopher of mind John Searle to write an article about the philosophical implications of the movie, most likely expecting some kind of bland article about how it was a recreation of Descartes. Instead John Searle wrote them saying the movie was incoherent, for the reasons outlined in the comic. The article was never published on account of the fact that no one wanted to read that the movie was incoherent, not to mention most viewers probably wouldn't share Searle's intuitions about its incoherence. Ironic, since John Searle is one of the only modern philosophers to hold seriously the position that most people hold without any philosophical training - naive realism. That is to say, the belief that we experience reality directly. If this belief is true, of course, he is perfectly correct to say that the Matrix is incoherent, because a dream would be separated from reality via a causal connection, so we could have no interactive component.

Most people reject this upon further thought however, after all massively multiplayer video games, where the game world is experienced by each player independently but kept track of my a central computer, are perfectly coherent to most people. Philosophers usually reject this because they read Kant, which John Searle certainly did, but as far as I know he never played WoW so that's probably where he went astray.

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