About this topic
Summary The simulation argument refers to an argument of Nick Bostrom's. The conclusion of the argument is that one of the following three theses is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. For other arguments that we live in a simulation, see the sibling category `Simulation Hypothesis'.
Key works The simulation argument was introduced in Bostrom 2003
Related categories

35 found
  1. The Doomsday Simulation Argument. Or Why Isn't the End Nigh, and You're Not Living in a Simulation.Mr István A. Aranyosi - manuscript
    According to the Carter-Leslie Doomsday Argument, we should assign a high probability to the hypothesis that the human species will go extinct very soon. The argument is based on the application of Bayes’s theo-rem and a certain indifference principle with respect to the temporal location of our observed birth rank within the totality of birth ranks of all humans who will ever have lived. According to Bostrom’s Simulation Argument, which appeals to a weaker indifference principle than the Doomsday Argument, at (...)
  2. Introduction to Singularity Edition of JCS.Uziel Awret - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (1-2):7-15.
  3. Are We Sims? How Computer Simulations Represent and What This Means for the Simulation Argument.Claus Beisbart - 2014 - The Monist 97 (3):399-417.
    N. Bostrom’s simulation argument and two additional assumptions imply that we likely 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 (...)
  4. Simulation Argument in the Context of Ultimate Reality and Meaning.Alexander A. Berezin - 2006 - Ultimate Reality and Meaning 29 (4):244-261.
  5. On the 'Simulation Argument' and Selective Scepticism.Jonathan Birch - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):95-107.
    Nick Bostrom’s ‘Simulation Argument’ purports to show that, unless we are confident that advanced ‘posthuman’ civilizations are either extremely rare or extremely rarely interested in running simulations of their own ancestors, we should assign significant credence to the hypothesis that we are simulated. I argue that Bostrom does not succeed in grounding this constraint on credence. I first show that the Simulation Argument requires a curious form of selective scepticism, for it presupposes that we possess good evidence for claims about (...)
  6. Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?By Nick Bostrom - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (211):243–255.
    This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is (...)
  7. A Patch for the Simulation Argument.N. Bostrom & M. Kulczycki - 2011 - Analysis 71 (1):54-61.
    This article reports on a newly discovered bug in the original simulation argument. Two different ways of patching the argument are proposed, each of which preserves the original conclusion.
  8. The Simulation Argument.Nick Bostrom - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine 50 (50):28-29.
  9. The Simulation Argument: Some Explanations.Nick Bostrom - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):458-461.
    Anthony Brueckner, in a recent article, proffers ‘a new way of thinking about Bostrom's Simulation Argument’ . His comments, however, misconstrue the argument; and some words of explanation are in order.The Simulation Argument purports to show, given some plausible assumptions, that at least one of three propositions is true . Roughly stated, these propositions are: almost all civilizations at our current level of development go extinct before reaching technological maturity; there is a strong convergence among technologically mature civilizations such that (...)
  10. Are You A Computer Simulation?Nick Bostrom - 2009 - In Susan Schneider (ed.), Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 20.
  11. The Simulation Argument: Reply to Weatherson.Nick Bostrom - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):90 - 97.
    I reply to some recent comments by Brian Weatherson on my 'simulation argument'. I clarify some interpretational matters, and address issues relating to epistemological externalism, the difference from traditional brain-in-a-vat arguments, and a challenge based on 'grue'-like predicates.
  12. Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?Nick Bostrom - unknown
    This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history ; we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently (...)
  13. The Simulation Argument Again.Anthony Brueckner - 2008 - Analysis 68 (3):224-226.
  14. Could I Be in a “Matrix” or Computer Simulation?Permutation City, Vanilla Sky, John Pollock, Nick Bostrom & René Descartes - 2009 - In Susan Schneider (ed.), Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence. Wiley-Blackwell.
  15. Freak Observers and the Simulation Argument.Lyle Crawford - 2013 - Ratio 26 (3):250-264.
    The simulation hypothesis claims that the whole observable universe, including us, is a computer simulation implemented by technologically advanced beings for an unknown purpose. The simulation argument (as I reconstruct it) is an argument for this hypothesis with moderately plausible premises. I develop two lines of objection to the simulation argument. The first takes the form of a structurally similar argument for a conflicting conclusion, the claim that I am a so-called freak observer, formed spontaneously in a quantum or thermodynamic (...)
  16. Innocence Lost: Simulation Scenarios: Prospects and Consequences.Barry Francis Dainton - manuscript
    Those who believe suitably programmed computers could enjoy conscious experience of the sort we enjoy must accept the possibility that their own experience is being generated as part of a computerized simulation. It would be a mistake to dismiss this is just one more radical sceptical possibility: for as Bostrom has recently noted, if advances in computer technology were to continue at close to present rates, there would be a strong probability that we are each living in a computer simulation. (...)
  17. L’argument de la Simulation et le problème de la classe de référence : le point de vue du contextualisme dialectique.Paul Franceschi - 2016 - Philosophiques 43 (2):371-389.
    Paul Franceschi | : Je présente dans cet article une analyse de l’argument de la Simulation selon le point de vue du contextualisme dialectique, fondée sur le problème de la classe de référence. Je décris tout d’abord l’argument de la Simulation de manière détaillée. J’identifie ensuite la classe de référence et j’applique successivement l’argument à trois classes de référence distinctes : les simulations conscientes de leur propre nature de simulation, les simulations imparfaites et les simulations à immersion. Finalement, je montre (...)
  18. The Simulation Argument and the Reference Class Problem: The Dialectical Contextualist's Standpoint.Paul Franceschi - unknown
    I present in this paper an analysis of the Simulation argument from a dialectical contextualist's standpoint. This analysis is grounded on the reference class problem. I begin with describing Bostrom’s Simulation Argument step-by-step. I identify then the reference class within the Simulation argument. I also point out a reference class problem, by applying the argument successively to several references classes: aware-simulations, rough-simulations and cyborg-type simulations. Finally, I point out that there are three levels of conclusion within the Simulation Argument, depending (...)
  19. On the Disanalogy in the Simulation Argument.Paul Franceschi - unknown
    I propose in this paper a solution to the problem arising from the Simulation argument. I describe first Bostrom's Simulation Argument in detail and its inherent problem. I recall then the implicit analogy underlying the Simulation argument. I show then the inadequacy of this analogy, by pointing out a disanalogy between the human situation corresponding to the Simulation Argument and its underlying urn analogy. I point out that such disanalogy is also present within the Emerald case, another thought experiment imagined (...)
  20. The Simulation Argument and the Self-Indication Assumption.Paul Franceschi - unknown
    I present in this paper a line of refutation of the Simulation Argument. I recall first Bostrom's Simulation Argument. I draw then a comparison between the Emerald Case and the core analogy underlying the Simulation Argument. I also discuss the justification of the Self-Indication Assumption and its relationship with the Simulation Argument. I show lastly that the Simulation Argument is a disguised reformulation of an application of an extended form of the Self-Indication Assumption to the situation related to the Simulation (...)
  21. Is the Universe a Vast, Consciousness-Created Virtual Reality Simulation?Bernard Haisch - 2014 - Cosmos and History 10 (1):48-60.
    Two luminaries of 20th century astrophysics were Sir James Jeans and Sir Arthur Eddington. Both took seriously the view that there is more to reality than the physical universe and more to consciousness than simply brain activity. In his Science and the Unseen World Eddington speculated about a spiritual world and that "conscious is not wholly, nor even primarily a device for receiving sense impressions." Jeans also speculated on the existence of a universal mind and a non-mechanical reality, writing in (...)
  22. How to Live in a Simulation.Robin Hanson - 2001 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 7 (1).
    If you might be living in a simulation then all else equal you should care less about others, live more for today, make your world look more likely to become rich, expect to and try more to participate in pivotal events, be more entertaining and praiseworthy, and keep the famous people around you happier and more interested in you.
  23. Testing the Simulation Argument. Jo’C. - 2013 - The Philosophers' Magazine 61 (61):7-7.
  24. The Doomsday Argument and the Simulation Argument.Peter J. Lewis - unknown
    The Simulation Argument and the Doomsday Argument share certain structural similarities, and hence are often discussed together. Both are cases where reflecting on one’s location among a set of possibilities yields a counter-intuitive conclusion—in one case that the end of humankind is closer than you initially thought, and in the second case that it is more likely than you initially thought that you are living in a computer simulation. Indeed, the two arguments do share strong structural similarities. But there are (...)
  25. A Note on the Simulation Argument.Peter J. Lewis - unknown
    The point of this note is to compare the Doomsday Argument to the Simulation Argument. The latter, I maintain, is a better argument than the former.
  26. The Fine-Tuning Argument and the Simulation Hypothesis.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Think 16 (47):93-102.
    In this paper, I propose that, in addition to the multiverse hypothesis, which is commonly taken to be an alternative explanation for fine-tuning, other than the design hypothesis, the simulation hypothesis is another explanation for fine-tuning. I then argue that the simulation hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘designer’ and ‘supernatural designer of immense power and knowledge’ in much the same way that the multiverse hypothesis undercuts the alleged evidential connection between ‘fine-tuning’ and ‘fine-tuner’ (or ‘designer’). If this is (...)
  27. Why Doomsday Arguments Are Better Than Simulation Arguments.M. Richmond Alasdair - 2017 - Ratio 30 (3):221-238.
    Inspired by anthropic reasoning behind Doomsday arguments, Nick Bostrom's Simulation Argument says: people who think advanced civilisations would run many fully-conscious simulated minds should also think they're probably simulated minds themselves. However, Bostrom's conclusions can be resisted, especially by sympathisers with Doomsday or anthropic reasoning. This paper initially offers a posterior-probabilistic ‘Doomsday lottery’ argument against Bostrom's conclusions. Suggestions are then offered for deriving anti-simulation conclusions using weaker assumptions. Anti-simulation arguments herein use more robust reference classes than Bostrom's argument, require no (...)
  28. Apocalypse Now Does The Matrix: Anthropic Adventures From Doomsday to Simulation.Alasdair Richmond - 2008 - Think 6 (17-18):29-40.
    Following on from Nick Bostrom's discussion of the Doomsday argument, Alasdair Richmond considers how anthropic reasoning can lead from Doomsday to some odd conclusions about computation and our place in reality.
  29. Doomsday, Bishop Ussher and Simulated Worlds.Alasdair M. Richmond - 2008 - Ratio 21 (2):201–217.
    This paper attempts three tasks in relation to Carter and Leslie's Doomsday Argument. First, it criticises Timothy Chambers' 'Ussherian Corollary', a striking but unsuccessful objection to standard Doomsday arguments. Second, it reformulates the Ussherian Corollary as an objection to Bradley Monton's variant Doomsday and Nick Bostrom's Simulation Argument. Finally, it tries to diagnose the epistemic/metaphysical problems facing Doomsday-related arguments.1.
  30. Correcting Errors in the Bostrom/Kulczycki Simulation Arguments.Wehr Robert Dustin - manuscript
    Both patched versions of the Bostrom/Kulczycki simulation argument contain serious objective errors, discovered while attempting to formalize them in predicate logic. The English glosses of both versions involve badly misleading meanings of vague magnitude terms, which their impressiveness benefits from. We fix the errors, prove optimal versions of the arguments, and argue that both are much less impressive than they originally appeared. Finally, we provide a guide for readers to evaluate the simulation argument for themselves, using well-justified settings of the (...)
  31. The Simulated Universe.Brent Silby - 2009 - Philosophy Now 75 (75):28-30.
    This article explores the Simulated Universe argument with particular reference to Nick Bostrom’s formulation. After providing an exposition of the argument, I address two problems and conclude that we reject the possibility that we exist in a simulation.
  32. Theological Implications of the Simulation Argument.Eric Steinhart - 2010 - Ars Disputandi 10:23-37.
    Nick Bostrom’s Simulation Argument (SA) has many intriguing theological implications. We work out some of them here. We show how the SA can be used to develop novel versions of the Cosmological and Design Arguments. We then develop some of the affinities between Bostrom's naturalistic theogony and more traditional theological topics. We look at the resurrection of the body and at theodicy. We conclude with some reflections on the relations between the SA and Neoplatonism (friendly) and between the SA and (...)
  33. A Critical Engagement of Bostrom’s Computer Simulation Hypothesis.Norman Swazo - unknown
    In 2003, philosopher Nick Bostrom presented the provocative idea that we are now living in a computer simulation. Although his argument is structured to include a “hypothesis,” it is unclear that his proposition can be accounted as a properly scientific hypothesis. Here Bostrom’s argument is engaged critically by accounting for philosophical and scientific positions that have implications for Bostrom’s principal thesis. These include discussions from Heidegger, Einstein, Heisenberg, Feynman, and Dreyfus that relate to modelling of structures of thinking and computation. (...)
  34. Are You a Sim?Brian Weatherson - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (212):425–431.
    Nick Bostrom argues that if we accept some plausible assumptions about how the future will unfold, we should believe we are probably not humans. The argument appeals crucially to an indifference principle whose precise content is a little unclear. I set out four possible interpretations of the principle, none of which can be used to support Bostrom’s argument. On the first two interpretations the principle is false, on the third it does not entail the conclusion, and on the fourth it (...)
  35. Simulation, Self-Extinction, and Philosophy in the Service of Human Civilization.Jeffrey White - 2016 - AI and Society 31 (2):171-190.