Philosophical Idioms of Simulation

An effervescing philosophical idiom of simulation hypotheses is really just Cartesian doubt wearing steampunk cosplay. Even then and in so very many ways the associated concepts of rationality stretch back to an Aristotelian logical turn that passes through many minds and places before a Boolean backflip into computational brevity as manifest cybernetic control and all that follows.

Fascination with simulation hypotheses is one among many salient cultural reflexes in which, failing to secure ontological or epistemological anchors as certainty in the hyper-inflating spaces of linear mechanism that digital uplift promises, we find ourselves all swept along in a tide of bootstrapped, exponentiated abstraction and iterating virtualisation.

It is a function of endemic cognitive biases towards reductive explanatory schemas as a compound, offset or displaced entropic cost of algorithmic complexity that sees us fleeing or seeking to control the uncertainties of material reality by overlaying and inhabiting our own augmented metric complexities. It is rarely acknowledged- the extent to which the technologies branch out and infuse embodied, material reality with precisely the entropy as thermodynamic waste that results from our failures to acknowledge the implicit limitations of logical abstraction.

The metaphysical, unknowable essence and counter-intuitive source of all value that compels civilisation forwards sits here, hidden in plain sight, in a critical discontinuity and cognitive blindspot. We fail to perceive that those things which remain unknowable as forever beyond us (and our reflexive technological hyper-extensions) are simultaneously those unprovable truths which lies quite mischievously and ineradicably within us and which constitute the shifting axiomatic sands of the indefinitely extensible logic by, through and as which technology even becomes possible or – as function of human cognition – intelligible.

I expect to see further layers upon layers of sedimented, virtualised abstractions. Many will fail into an oblivion and great filter of extinction reciprocal to their commercial superficiality but just as with successful philosophical idioms, those that do succeed will be those that approximate to cultivating the optimal environmental as contextual conditions for the sustainable persistence of their conceptual (as much as material, technological) ancestors.

Just as does rechnology, philosophy abstracts itself and all the reflexive subjectivities as narrative self-identities that it invokes. There is no end to this, merely the endless mirroring of simulations and hypotheses within each other, without beginnings or unproblematic ends.

Context: Reality+ by David J Chalmers review – are we living in a simulation?

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