Kant Meets Cyberpunk

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Abstract

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.

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