Are We Sims? How Computer Simulations Represent and What this Means for the Simulation Argument

Beisbart, Claus (2014). Are We Sims? How Computer Simulations Represent and What this Means for the Simulation Argument. The Monist. an international quarterly journal of general philosophical inquiry, 97(3), pp. 399-417. The Edward C. Hegeler Foundation

[img] Text
simarg_published.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (846kB) | Request a copy

N. Bostrom’s simulation argument and two additional assumptions imply that we are likely to live in a computer simulation. The argument is based upon the following assumption about the workings of realistic brain simulations: The hardware of a computer on which a brain simulation is run bears a close analogy to the brain itself. To inquire whether this is so, I analyze how computer simulations trace processes in their targets. I describe simulations as fictional, mathematical, pictorial, and material models. Even though the computer hardware does provide a material model of the target, this does not suffice to underwrite the simulation argument because the ways in which parts of the computer hardware interact during simulations do not resemble the ways in which neurons interact in the brain. Further, there are computer simulations of all kinds of systems, and it would be unreasonable to infer that some computers display consciousness just because they simulate brains rather than, say, galaxies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Beisbart, Claus

Subjects:

100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 120 Epistemology

ISSN:

0026-9662

Publisher:

The Edward C. Hegeler Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Claus Beisbart

Date Deposited:

13 Mar 2015 16:31

Last Modified:

13 Mar 2015 16:31

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.64946

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/64946

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback