I defend a how-possibly argument for Kantian (or Kant*-ian) transcen- dental idealism, drawing on concepts from David Chalmers, Nick Bostrom, and the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. If we are ar- tificial intelligences living in a virtual reality instantiated on a giant computer, then the fundamental structure of reality might be very dif- ferent than we suppose. Indeed, since computation does not require spatial properties, spatiality might not be a feature of things as they are in themselves but instead only the way that things necessarily ap- pear to us. It might seem unlikely that we are living in a virtual reality instantiated on a non-spatial computer. However, understanding this possibility can help us appreciate the merits of transcendental ideal- ism in general, as well as transcendental idealism’s underappreciated skeptical consequences.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Alexander H.G. ed. 1956. The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence. Manchester UK: Manchester University Press.
Allais Lucy. 2015. Manifest Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Asimov Isaac. 1982. The Complete Robot. Garden City NY: Doubleday.
Barrow John D.; and Frank J. Tipler. 1986. The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Berkeley George. 1710/1965. A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. In Principles dialogues and philosophical correspondence ed. C. M. Turbayne. New York: Macmillan.
Bostrom Nick. 2002. Anthropic Bias. New York: Routledge.
Bostrom Nick. 2003. Are we living in a computer simulation? Philosophical Quarterly 53: 243–55.
Bostrom Nick. 2011. Personal communication publicly shared with permission as “Bostrom’s response to my discussion of the simulation argument” at The Splintered Mind blog Sep. 2 2011. http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2011/09/bostroms-response-to-my-discussion-of.html.
Carroll Sean. 2010. From Eternity to Here. New York: Penguin.
Chalmers David J. 1996. The Conscious Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chalmers David J. 2003/2010. The Matrix as metaphysics. In The Character of Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chalmers David J. 2010. The singularity: a philosophical analysis. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (9–10): 7–65.
Chalmers David J. 2012. Constructing the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chalmers David J. 2017a. The structuralist response to skepticism. Unpublished manuscript. Downloaded from PhilPapers August 17 2017.
Chalmers David J. 2017b. The virtual and the real. Disputatio 9: 309–52.
Chen Xiaoke; Gabitto Mariano; Peng Yueqing; Ryba Nicholas J. P.; and Zuker Charles S. 2011. A gustotopic map of taste qualities in the mammalian brain. Science 333: 1262–6.
Chomsky Noam. 2009. The mysteries of nature: how deeply hidden? Journal of Philosophy 106: 167–200.
Descartes René. 1637/1985. Discourse on the Method. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes vol. I trans. J. Cottingham R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Descartes René. 1641/1984. Meditations on First Philosophy. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes vol. II trans. J. Cottingham R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Descartes René. 1647/1985. Principles of Philosophy. In The Philosophical Writings of Descartes vol. I trans. J. Cottingham R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.