The matrix is based on the philosophical story about the disembodied brain that was floating in a vat in a scientific laboratory where the experiment was conducted. In this case, the scientists connected the brain to the computer with world simulations to simulate the brain with the same input that the brain in a human body could receive and the output was recorded back to the computer.
The brain in a vat was therefore in its normal state just as the normal brain in a human being only that it lacked the body of a human being and the brain viewed things just like any other person.
Although the brain was in the laboratory and not in the body, it received an input that made it perceive that it was outside walking freely in the broad day light. This experiment about the brain raised many concerns about the beliefs of people hence the different hypotheses, which support or criticize the matrix.
The matrix hypothesis suggests that human beings are in the same situation just like the brain in a vat although in matrix the cognitive system is computerized not as in the case of human beings where the cognitive system is natural.
Envatted brains will have false beliefs as compared to the counterparts and this creates confusion since it is not easy to know whether someone is in a matrix or not. This results to the skeptical hypothesis since the matrix hypothesis seems to falsify most of the beliefs held by the people (Putnam 88).
George Berkeley holds the view that brains in a vat are not deluded since they have correct beliefs about their own world. He says that appearance is reality because what people feel, see or taste are realized to be real through the interpretation of the brain.
Reality can be viewed as the electrical signals, which are interpreted by the human brain. According to George Berkeley, reality is what is perceived. Berkeley supports the view of the matrix hypothesis that human beings are in a matrix and disputes the view that the matrix hypothesis is skeptical using the idealism of reality. This therefore supports the view that what the brain in a vat believed is real (Bostrom 3).
Chalmers on the other hand uses the Metaphysical hypothesis to support the views of the matrix hypothesis that human beings are in a matrix. About metaphysical hypothesis, Chalmers argues that the brain and the laws of physics as well as world’s creations determine reality.
In the metaphysical hypothesis, the physical processes are computational where the cognitive system is separate from the physical processes and that reality is created by those beings in the outside physical space and time.
The hypothesis endorses Berkeley’s idealism by explaining the ordinary processes that underlie reality on that the processes in metaphysical are similar to those that take place in the matrix hypothesis. He therefore explains this view using the three hypotheses (Searle 85).
The Creation Hypothesis
According to this hypothesis, space-time in the physical world is determined by a supernatural being that controls the physical world from outside the space. It is therefore right to conclude that many people in the world can believe this hypothesis especially those who believe that God created the world and that God is outside the world.
If it is true that God created the universe then the creation hypothesis is true and the matrix hypothesis is true. Chalmers therefore believes that he has the body while in a vat and that he is in Tucson even though he was in Australia (Searle 86).
The Computational Hypothesis
About this hypothesis, all processes in the space-time that involve computation are microphysical. This explains the view that physics is not the base of reality just like the microphysical processes, which underlie the chemical processes.
This therefore explains that reality underlie some computational processes. Some scientists suggest that physical reality can be a result of interacting bits in the cellular automata governed by some principles. Bits in this case are pure differences united by basic states to create reality (Putnam 99).
The Mind-Body Hypothesis
The hypothesis explains that the human mind is comprised of processes that are outside the physical space-time and it receives its input from the physical space-time and sends it back. This is explained further with the view that the human minds are nonphysical but they interact with the physical bodies (Searle 88).
The metaphysical hypothesis therefore combines the three hypotheses together to prove that the matrix hypothesis operates on the basis similar to the creation, mind-body, and computational hypothesis. It states that the world and its contents were created by beings outside the same world and that the computational processes constitute the microphysical processes.
The three hypotheses about computation, creation and the body mind constitutes metaphysical hypothesis. It further states that the computational processes, which constitute the microphysical processes, are designed by being such as the computer in the case of the matrix hypothesis is designed.
Metaphysical hypothesis and combination hypothesis are similar where one is a version of the other. However, the relationship among the three parts is specified in the metaphysical hypothesis (Putnam 100).
Chalmers argues that the metaphysical hypothesis holds the same view as the matrix hypothesis. He uses the three areas to explain the hypothesis that is the body-mind, computational and the creation. According to metaphysical hypothesis human beings posses cognitive system in mind that is isolated. This is similar to matrix hypothesis on how input is received and processed in the mind (Bostrom 4).
According to computational hypothesis, input is sent to the cognitive system from the external time-space and the feedback is sent back. About creation hypothesis, physically designed processes for informing the world create reality. According to the matrix hypothesis, human beings design computers that are used to send output to the cognitive system. This shows that the metaphysical hypothesis is linked to the matrix hypothesis.
To accept the truth underlying reality as explained in the metaphysical hypothesis means accepting the matrix hypothesis. The domain constituting the cognitive system and computers designed by other human beings interact.
If one accepts the creation hypothesis of the world, he or she accepts the matrix hypothesis and the metaphysical hypothesis. The world is therefore made of interactions between human beings and microphysical computations, which are not part of them. This therefore explains the basic nature of reality (Bostrom 4).
The matrix hypothesis can be viewed as the creation myth. The creation of the world took place long time ago when there were no people but the history exists right from the big bang and many other myths about the creation.
In the matrix, the creator is a machine, which simulate the input and in the creation of the world, the nonphysical mind started to exist after the envatted cognitive systems were attached to the simulation (Bostrom 4).
In the two hypotheses, there is a contrast that simulation is not real. The matrix hypothesis suggests that the simulation of physical processes in computers exist while the metaphysical hypothesis explains that the physical processes do not exist.
The computational hypothesis tries to unite the two but it fails to some extent because as much as the computational level underlies physical processes, which are real, there are some computational processes that cannot yield reality.
Simulation of physical reality requires computational elements with real particles. Details corresponding with the physical processes should therefore be involved in the computation. The other principle rests on an abstract computation, which can underlie the physical reality (Searle 89).
The two hypotheses succeed in justifying that the matrix hypothesis is correct by saying that human beings are in a matrix. The beliefs of the brain in a vat are not a delusion as they are proofed to be correct. In addition, the fact that it is in the dark room does not imply being alone. This can be explained using the analogy that human beings have their mind outside physical space and time.
For instance, when someone is in cold water the brain receives the input that it is in the cold water but one may think that since the brain is not in the water it is therefore not exposed to the coldness. It would be wrong to conclude that the person in the cold water has a wrong belief. This proves that envatted beings have correct beliefs (Putnam 102).
The fact that envatted beings may think that they are performing actions, which they are not or being in places that they have never been may create doubts but the two hypotheses try to explain the idea with relevant analogies. By the brain in a vat, believing that it is walking in Tucson does not mean that the belief is false. This is because the word “walking” could be inferring to different meanings depending on the language.
The brain in a vat therefore performs the action of walking in its environment, which is of course, different from the environment someone could be. The beliefs held by the brains in a vat are therefore correct and cannot be seen as being skeptical (Bostrom 5).
The aspect of not being sure whether one is in the matrix or not is further explained using real and virtual concept. For instance if one is in the matrix and refers to a certain word for example “head” the term will be referring to the virtual “head” and not the real “head”. The concepts are therefore made up of bits, which constitute the virtual concept in the matrix.
The ways things are perceived by people differ since people have different views on which part of the bit is given to the virtual concepts as opposed to the real concepts. The two hypotheses failed to distinguish clearly the bits between the virtual for those in the matrix and bits to be used for real terms by those outside the matrix.
Bostrom, Newton. “Are You Living in A Computer Simulation”? Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2003): 243. Print
Putnam, Henry. Reason, Truth, and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. Print
Searle, Janet. “Can Computers Think”? In Minds, Brains, and Science. Massachusetts : Harvard University Press. 1984. Print