- Series: Popular Culture and Philosophy (Book 3)
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Open Court; 1st edition (August 28, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081269502X
- ISBN-13: 978-0812695021
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real (Popular Culture and Philosophy) Paperback – August 28, 2002
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For those interested in an solid introduction to philosophy (and the "big questions" philosophers from Socrates to Nozik have wrestled with), I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Were I teaching in the philosophy department, this would be my text of choice. (In fact, it was by a recommendation by a colleague in that department that I picked this up.) While the concepts are lofty, abstract and mind-bending, the authors, through pop-cultural references, connect the musings and writings of philosophers like Kant, Descartes, Hume as well as contemporary philosophers to events and plot points in the film, making these ideas both clear and accessable to lay readers.
At first I was a bit skeptical (no pun intended, and apologies to Pyrrho) of the premise of the book and its pop cultural approach to a serious discipline. I was immeadiately won over, however, by the introductory essay on Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" to Neo's discovery of what the Matrix is. The book is rich with such connections. Highly recommended.
The book is a collection of essays, some of which - such as an early one that explores the Matrix and how it relates to Plato's cave - are very good reads, but these are interspersed with essays that are overly technical, boring or that take a tangent and run with it, leaving the movie in the dust.
Lovers of philosophy will love this book. Lovers of the movie that aren't philosophy buffs will fall into two camps - they will either hate it or think it's just okay. You can enjoy the movie without thinking too hard about it - not so with this book, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but not necessarily a good thing either.
Two examples that come to mind: in the last chapter, the writer is using an esoteric term. He uses this term without defining it or relating what it means to the reader until about 3/4 of the way through the section. He uses the term in exactly the same context but chooses-that far in- to parenthetically explain what the term means.
Another instance is one author's justification for claiming the red pill's superiority over the blue pill because, though taking the blue pill will surely reduce a great a amount of angst, anxiety, and suffering, it will not remove ALL angst, anxiety, and suffering, so that we may as well opt for truth, as we'll be victim to these experiences regardless.
The book is filled with really rudimentary, verdant, and silly points like this. Issues are often taken for granted with little or no supporting evidence or justification.
I have no idea how or why erudite academics would put their names on most of this stuff.