The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real

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Paperback, 280 pages
Open Court, 2002
First Edition, First Printing

The choice is yours, and you'll have to live with the consequences for at least the rest of your life. Will you take the blue pill - put this audiobook back and go on thinking of The Matrix as just a movie? Or will you take the red pill - listen to this book, and find out just how far down the rabbit-hole goes?

Is the world around us truly as it appears or are we inert bodies in tanks, our brains electronically stimulated to create a make-believe world which is all we know? This old philosophical puzzle has become cutting-edge cool with the appearance of the Keanu Reeves cult sci-fi movie, The Matrix.

The Matrix is the most philosophical film ever made, every step of its fast-paced plot pivoting on a philosophical conundrum. If the world as we know it is nothing more than our dream, does this make the dream real? If we had the choice to step out of our world into a more real but less pleasant one - to take the red pill - would it be a moral failure not to do so? Why do humans have a value above that of intelligent electronic mechanisms? Can the mind live without the body or the body without the mind?

In The Matrix and Philosophy, professional philosophers analyze The Matrix from many angles: metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic. They uncover hidden depths in this intricate work of art, and often reach disturbing conclusions. Those who take the red pill never look at 'the real world' the same way again.

The Matrix and Philosophy is also available in print from Open Court Books.

Editorial Reviews

"The Matrix is rich in central philosophical themes.  The Matrix and Philosophy is even richer in its identification and elaboration of these themes.  What could rationalists, empiricists, realists, anti-realists, materialists, holists, existentialists, and deconstructionists possibly hold in common?  Their signal ideas are all deeply embedded in that movie and artfully unearthed in this book.  Whatever your philosophical cup of tea, The Matrix and Philosophy is your teahouse." --Lou Marinoff, author of Plato Not Prozac and Philosophical Practice.

About the Author

William Irwin is Herve A. LeBlanc Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of Philosophy at King's College, Pennsylvania. Irwin's latest books are Little Siddhartha (2018) and God Is a Question, Not an Answer (2018). He is also the author of the novel Free Dakota (2016) and The Free Market Existentialist: Capitalism without Consumerism (2015). Irwin's first book, Intentionalist Interpretation: A Philosophical Explanation and Defense (1999), was nominated for the American Philosophical Association Young Scholar's Book Prize. Irwin is best known for having originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books with Seinfeld and Philosophy (1999), The Simpsons and Philosophy (2001), and The Matrix and Philosophy (2002). He was editor of these books and then General Editor of the Popular Culture and Philosophy Series through Open Court Publishing. In 2006, Irwin left Open Court to become the General Editor of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, which includes Metallica and Philosophy (2007) and Black Sabbath and Philosophy (2012), among other volumes. Irwin first theorized the philosophy and pop culture genre in his article "Philosophy as/and/of Popular Culture" in Irwin and Gracia eds. Philosophy and the Interpretation of Popular Culture (2006).