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

Front Cover
Open Court Publishing, 2002 - Performing Arts - 280 pages
13 Reviews
The Matrix conveys the horror of a false world made of nothing but perceptions. Based on the premise that reality is a dream controlled by malevolent forces, it is one of the most overtly philosophical movies ever to come out of Hollywood. These thought-provoking essays by the same team of young philosophers who created The Simpsons and Philosophy discuss different facets of the primary philosophical puzzle of The Matrix: Can we be sure the world is really there, and if not, what should we do about it? Other chapters address issues of religion, lifestyle, pop culture, the Zeitgeist, the nature of mind and matter, and the reality of fiction.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

The matrix and philosophy: welcome to the desert of the real

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The many faces of Keanu Reeves as hero Neo-Christ, Buddha, Socrates-are explored in these essays on the philosophical implications of the sci-fi martial arts blockbuster The Matrix, collected by the ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

To be fair, I'm only 1/3 the way in, but...
So far, the author has not done a good job of validating the claims of the research papers he has used in creating this book. While it is worth
reading, there are several completly wrong statements about the movie.
For example: Pg 45, above the half way point they have a quote from Mouse. "to deny our impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human." The author incorrectly uses this to illustrate a point about the strength of conviction both Mouse and Cypher have for taste as a test for what's real;however, the actual meaning of that phrase was to shift gears from talking about the glop of amino protien they eat tasting like a bowl of snot to trying to talk Neo into having a sex with the woman in red. Hence, the following phrase by Switch "here we go, the digital pimp hard at work". Obviously, mouse has used that exact phrase int he past as a lead in for pimping out his program (he designed the wonam in red) or how would Switch have known what was coming? Mouse obviously intended to pimp her out with his responce to that statement "pay no attention to theese hypocrits neo"
The book doe raise some good arguements, but the number of good points seems to be in ballance with the number of wrong ones. They try too hard to read meaning into everything and jsut get it wrong. No where does the movie ever claim that most or all of the beliefs the people in the matrix has are wrong, but it's a fundimental core of the arguements posed by the author. He does admit that he places more empethesis on the machines deliberatly screwing with our perceptions so we are more screwed up than we really are, but in reality (according to the movie) the computer is doing what ever it has to to keep us in the pink goo. Nothing else matters to the computer. It could care less if we are living in a perfect world, or a crappy hell hole-with the exception that of course they put in a later movie that this was the sixth or seventh (forgot, the sequals wern't anywhere as good as the origional) that the first incarnation was designed to be a perfect world, and humans rejected it. They discovered that we like to suffer so long as we believed we had a choice, we would accept the program and live our lives in the goo. Obviously, the computers have no intention to force suffering, they only want their batteries.

Selected pages


Computers Caves and Oracles Neo and Socrates
Skepticism Morality and The Matrix
The Matrix Possibility
Seeing Believing Touching Truth
The Desert of the Real
The Metaphysics of The Matrix
The MachineMade Ghost Or The Philosophy of Mind Matrix Style
NeoMaterialism and the Death of the Subject
Virtual Themes
Notes from Underground Nihilism and The Matrix
Popping a Bitter Pill Existential Authenticity in The Matrix and Nausea
The Paradox of Real Response to NeoFiction
Real Genre and Virtual Philosophy
DeConstructIng The Matrix
Penetrating Keanu New Holes but the Same Old Shit
The Matrix Marx and the Coppertops Life

Fate Freedom and Foreknowledge
Down the Rabbit Hole of Ethics and Religion
There Is No Spoon A Buddhist Mirror
The Religion of The Matrix and the Problems of Pluralism
Happiness and Cyphers Choice Is Ignorance Bliss?
The Matrix Simulation and the Postmodern Age
The Matrix Or The Two Sides of Perversion
The Potentials
The Oracles Index

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

WILLIAM IRWIN is Associate Professor of Philosophy at King's College, Pennsylvania. He has published several articles on theory of interpretation and aesthetics, as well as four books, including Intentionalist Interpretation: A Philosophical Explanation and Defense (Greenwood, 1999).

Bibliographic information