The Knowledge of Human Existence: Perception, Empiricism, and Reality An Analysis Contrived Through The Matrix and The Prestige
Movies provide the audience with a unique experience. Not only do they entertain, they allow the audience to explore their own preconceptions. The most vital preconception that movies allow the viewer to explore and interact with is the definition and formation of knowledge. For centuries man has grasped for the true definition of knowledge. In this struggle many have fought for a unifying definition, this great conflagration of discourse and study did not lead to a unified definition of knowledge. Moreover, it leads to the question that still beats in the hearts of the philosopher and the …show more content…
Based upon Cottingham, this empirical knowledge, the tangible is limited in its ability to assist human beings in their understandings of existence. It is into this gladiatorial arena where Rene Descartes jumps as a opponent of a solely empirical understanding of existence.
Rene Descartes provides a rational approach to the problem of understanding existence. Descartes rationalism is based upon his definition of the “material” of existence. Rather than being bogged down in the definition of “material,” Descartes comes to the conclusion that, “Consciousness is the essential property of mind substance,” (Collinson, 2006, p.81). Descartes’ definition of the “essential property” as espoused in Diane Collinson’s Fifty Major Philosophers opens the door for how human existence is defined. The “essential property” of existence is not based on tangible experience. Collinson highlights Descartes suggestion that the mind experiences the empirical sense of the body, but not because of direct physical experience, rather that, “ideas of primary qualities are not derived from sense experience but are innate,” (Collinson, 2006, p 83.). This idea of “primary qualities” can be applied to the question of existence as experienced by Neo in The Matrix. Neo’s character ascends from a plateau of empirical existence in the beginning of the film. He does not know that he is actually being deceived, that his