Has any philosopher claimed that reality is a simulation, and the evil genius wants us to stay alive, in order for that philosopher to explain what seems like a miracle?

Would anyone ever admit to such a ridiculous belief? If that were true, how would it change our "metaphysics" (which is, incidentally, not my word)?

However dim that one sounds, I would be highly interested in hearing a very good counter-argument to that intuition. Perhaps it is too solipsistic? Or do we know that the evil genius would, then, be mad, and so not in control of our reality?

In effect, I may be looking for a definitive reason to believe that history is real, because it's that or an intolerably "queer" (in Mackey's sense) madness: so that he, the evil genius, would be God after-all. Else he would not be omnipotent.

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    Many theists would probably not say that a created universe was a simulation: the incarnation of Christ sort of precludes that. Dec 18 '18 at 22:58
  • Well obviously you're referring to Descartes. The creator of our simulation is not looking for philosophers to discover they're in a simulation..natural selection produces the best results.. but it's tediously slow. What if you could speed it up.. run 15bn years out in a few days.. give the simulation the starting equation.. boom.. a universe.. let it run... Intelligent life... 10 billion minds trying to cure mortality.. and Invent FTL travel. Who knows what the creator is looking for? But it's unlikely to be a philosopher.
    – Richard
    Dec 18 '18 at 23:00
  • @Richard is the creator human?
    – user35983
    Dec 18 '18 at 23:01
  • @confused IMO no.. but the intelligence need not be that much more advanced than our own . If we manage to survive 5000 years at this exponential rate of technological advancement. With the help of the synthetic intelligences we create.. might reach that capability ourselves.
    – Richard
    Dec 18 '18 at 23:08
  • i don't like the idea that there are super human powers or whatever that get the good, as opposed to us! @Richard
    – user35983
    Dec 18 '18 at 23:10

I came up with a few good tests of the external world that I'd like to pass along to you, and they all have to do with other people.

1) Kindness. Have others granted you kindness when you didn't deserve it, particularly when it cost them something? How would a mad string-puller make that happen?

2) Beauty. Take a look at a sunset, the stars, a thundercloud, the colors on the surface of a soap bubble... or listen to Air on the G String by Bach or anything that you like. Does this make you more or less credulous that what you see is a veneer over a dim despairing reality?

3) Creation. Look at a bug, or swing a feather, or just look at your hand. Did you know that your skin gets slightly moist when it feels a very slick surface, in order to increase the traction of your fingerprints in order to pick the item up? Would a mad scientist, as a sort of higher-form of videogame designer, have gone to the trouble to create such stuff?

4) Literature. Read a long novel, something grown-up or even Harry Potter (I'm reading the Gulag Archipelago). How did that story get there? Does it cause you to form beliefs that benefit the mad string-puller or does it influence your beliefs toward a realistic version of your observed universe?

  • these are all aesthetic things, and so, i feel, at root pragmatic.
    – user35983
    Dec 18 '18 at 23:01
  • Can you please expand on that? Dec 18 '18 at 23:04
  • Oh OK. 2 3 and 4 are, prima facie, aesthetic, about beauty. and, i think, kindness is also beautiful. I think I just have my answer though... I do believe that other people exist, and we were not born at the exact same time.
    – user35983
    Dec 18 '18 at 23:07
  • Here is a good one... One can't have thought without time. One cannot be at a place, without also being at a time (space and time are inextricable)... You are thinking now..Ergo space is real.. and by extension... Everything in it... No need to thank me... It's my pleasure.
    – Richard
    Dec 19 '18 at 0:40
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    @PeterJ yes.. I know that I'm simply trying to find a way of explaining some fairly dogmatic and deeply entrenched opinions on what reality is.. that I have because of a lifelong STEM education.. for years I absolutely rejected any form of solipsism. Now in my less certain age I find myself revisiting some of this.
    – Richard
    Dec 20 '18 at 11:08