Simulation Argument

How can you be sure you're not living in a computer simulation? (http://www.simulation-argument.com/classic.html)

It poses the following three alternatives (at least one of them must be true): I personally think it is the first alternative, but not because we go extinct, but because it is impossible to become "posthuman". I think that there are (and we we'll discover) inherent complexity limits due to energy required to keep the complexity that make the hypothetical "planet computers" etc. infeasable. Just have a look at TheMostComplexWhichCanBeMadeToWork.


I feel there is a wrong assumption here: this is not because one of the tree alternatives must be true in our own universe that it has to go the same way in any other universe, including our "parent" one. Unless the rules of logic and mathematics in general are pan-universal (which I wouldn't dare to assume), the whole argument is void.


Divide by zero. If we're in a simulation, it will crash or at least give you an error. Alternatively, look for graphical glitches that real reality wouldn't have. Sometimes spinning an item under a fluorescent light gives colour fringes, surely a bug...

There doesn't have to be a spoon; your mind creates your reality and you believe it since you have no way of telling.

You have no way to tell if you are in "real" life now or not, and even if there was a "matrix" would you really want to be in the world with the real spoon?


Try to estimate the computive power necessary to create what you observe. Consider whether that much computive power is capable of being provided in the universe. At least it works for BrainInAvat?.

If we are living in a computer simulation then there is probably no way to know anything about the outside universe, so you can't assume that it works in the same way as ours or that it is impossible to provide that much computational power.'

There are likely ways to know about the outside universe by interfacing into that universe, or talking with someone who lives outside the simulation. The question is how do we do this? Imagine Mario in Mario Bros gets a message from the programmer on the screen that he is living in a simulated video game.. This is possible to do if Mario has a brain in the simulation capable of reading messages on the wall or screen somewhere.

{It's also possible that the universe doing the simulation has more dimensions than this one. A 4D (spacial) universe can pack a lot more transistors (or their equivalent) than a 3D one can.}


Descartes never wrote 'cogito ergo sum'. He wrote 'Je pense donc je suis'.

The above is incorrect. See discussion on the ReneDescartes page. (Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum: I think I think, therefore 'I think' I am. The preceding is ungrammatical in Latin--correctly, it's Cogito me cogitare, ergo cogito me esse: I think that I think, therefore I think that I am.)
Reminds me of those that can't fathom the reflective world in a mirror. This is repeatedly used in innocence pleas, with "It was the person in the mirror who done it, not me!". There is a real medical condition where this perception happens for real.

Yeah, it's called "denial".

Look, we humans actually have to be taught what a mirror is and that when we look in it we see ourselves. Several old folktales exist where the tale is believable and the main character does not understand. If we combine failing to learn this with bad memory we really do end up with a case where the person believes such a plea. Video playback is subject to the same thing.

I wonder if the elements exist in the universe which runs this one. Maybe that is what the programmers in that universe did - created the elements and their methods of being, and let it run. I wish they did more maintenance. -- ChaunceyGardiner


See also BeliefCreatesReality, ThereIsNoSpoon, LispSimulationTheory, TheMatrix, TheThirteenthFloor

CategoryPhilosophy

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