Philosophy of Computing and Information > Computer Simulation and Virtual Reality > Simulation Hypothesis
Edited by Jonathan Simon (New York University)
|Summary||The simulation hypothesis is the hypothesis that we live in a simulation. The simulation hypothesis is a metaphysical hypothesis, not an epistemic hypothesis, but some argue that careful consideration of the metaphysical hypothesis can teach valuable epistemic lessons. There are several ways to understand the claim that we live in a simulation and thus several ways to understand the simulation hypothesis. On a very permissive construal it is simply the digital physics hypothesis, i.e. the hypothesis that physical reality (or anyway that portion of it with which we are in immediate contact) is ultimately computational or `digital'. On a more narrow construal, the simulation hypothesis also entails that there is more to reality than physical reality. But note that this is satisfied if minds exist outside of physical reality (as substance dualists think) or if God exists. On an even stricter construal, the simulation hypothesis entails that there is a further `base reality', and physical reality stands to this base reality in roughly the relation that an implementation of an algorithm stands to the hardware that implements it (and the reality of that hardware). Note though that if simulations can be analog, then we can live in a simulation in the latter sense even if physical reality as we know it proves to be analog rather than digital.|
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