Choose a TV show, book, movie, video game, or societal event or controversy (current or past) as a medium to further explore a philosophical issue we have discussed this semester. a) Examples (so many more possibilities too!): The Matrix, Avengers: Endgame, Back to the Future, West World, Upload, The Giver, Les Miserables, the Civil Rights movement (or more recent protest), the War in Ukraine (or specific event from it), bioethical questions, imaginary scenarios (like teleportation) Identify a precise philosophical issue to explore—one that relates to material with Plato or Aristotle, and compare to the works of Kant and Menkiti a) Compare/contrast how the 3 thinkers you have chosen would react differently to the way the philosophical issue arises in the medium you have chosen, explaining enough of their background views to clarify why each would react this way. b) Creatively analyze how one thinker would respond to the insights of the others, or whether the medium you have chosen supports or undermines any of their views more than the others. (You might do this by “impersonating” each thinker and having them respond to each other directly, or you might offer a third-person analysis of them…) General word count guidelines: minimum 900 (well-used!) words if working individually
“The Matrix” has been selected as the medium for this investigation. The concept of reality and whether it is objective or subjective are the current philosophical issues.
Plato held that there was an objective reality that was inaccessible to us directly. He had faith in the Forms, which are perfect, immutable things existing in a realm outside of the physical world. He thought that by study and reason, one may learn about these Forms.
On the other hand, Aristotle thought there was a physical reality that was immediately perceptible to our senses. He thought one could learn about this reality through experience and observation. He disregarded Plato’s notion of the Forms as unimportant to our comprehension of the world.
Kant felt that the two realities might be combined. He held the opinion that although there is an objective world that exists separate from our awareness of it, our view of this reality is influenced by our own cognitive structures. He thought that our view of reality is shaped by the way our experiences are filtered through our inborn categories of knowing.
Neo, the main character in “The Matrix,” discovers that the reality he has been living in is essentially a simulation made by intelligent machines to hold humans hostage. The Matrix is a machine-created subjective reality, but people see it as an objective reality.
Plato would contend that the reality depicted in The Matrix is simply a shadow of the real thing. He would contend that the Forms are the actual reality and that comprehending them is necessary for comprehending the rest of the universe.
Aristotle would contend that the reality shown in The Matrix is the only reality that is reachable by humans and that the only way to learn about it is through our senses. He would contend that the reality shown in The Matrix is the one we actually live in, and that our experiences and observations have an impact on this reality.
According to Kant, the factual and subjective realities coexist in The Matrix. He would contend that although The Matrix’s reality exists independently of our perception of it and is objective, our understanding of it is influenced by our own cognitive processes. The subjective perception of The Matrix’s reality, he would add, is what gives it relevance and purpose.
In terms of the three philosophers’ responses to one another’s ideas, Plato would contend that Aristotle’s emphasis on empirical experience is incorrect because it is a finite method of learning. Plato’s emphasis on the Forms, according to Aristotle, is unduly abstract, and understanding the physical universe is more significant. Both points of view, according to Kant, are valid, but the genuine reality is a combination of the objective and subjective.
Finally, “The Matrix” offers an intriguing framework for investigating the idea of reality and how it links to the ideologies of Plato, Aristotle, and Kant. The Matrix’s version of reality combines the empirical and the subjective, and it emphasizes how important both reason and experience are to how we see the world.