Carolyn Korsmeyer examines the issue of sense experience and how the movie portrays the classic problems of perception in her essay “Seeing, Believing, Touching, Truth.” She links her evaluation of the use of senses in the movie to the problems philosophers have faced over the years when trying to ascertain the role senses play in our belief systems.
The philosopher Descartes, after the focus changed from “what is real” to “even if I think I know what is real, how do I know it?”; realized that all his previous work was based on his own senses and the senses of others and so had no basis other than his belief in it. He knew that under certain conditions, such as distance and poor lighting, that his senses could be misled, but that those conditions could be compensated for. He realized that his senses could be misled when dreaming, and like the movie, challenges all to uncover ways to tell the difference between the two. All of us have had the experience of living a piece of time in our lives, such as waking and going to school to take a big test, only to find it a dream and we are actually still at home in our beds and that day we already lived in our mind, is actually just beginning. How do we know w...
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...st on past experiences. In our past, the sense of trust was established by the levels of pleasure received during the process of touching. A person whose past includes a more than average amount of violence might perceive the movie scenes in a less than trusting manner. They might be more inclined to be like Cypher, willing to forgo the experiences of a real world for one that he feels safe in. But no matter which direction our personal experiences have us leaning towards, it is this sense of trust in a belief, even if that belief is but a sensual perception that allows us to go on the ride and experience ideas.
The Matrix”. The Wachowski Brothers. DVD. Warner Bros., 1999.
Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy, 1-3 (182-198)
Descartes power point
Seeing believing touching truth
Hume An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (237-262)
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