An In-Depth Look at Bostrom’s Simulation Argument

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Filosofiska institutionen

Author: Viking Nilsson; [2021]

Keywords: Bostrom; Simulation Argument;

Abstract: In his 2003 paper “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation” Nick Bostrom argues that it is reasonable to believe that we are currently living in a computer simulation run by another civilisation. To argue this, Bostrom derives a mathematical formula that helps him calculate the probability that our universe is indeed simulated. The paper has gained widespread popularity, and is every bit as intriguing today as when it was written nearly 20 years ago. In this essay I will critically analyze Bostrom’s simulation argument and its implications. I will start off by focusing on the arguments that Bostrom presents in his 2003 article. I will then proceed by arguing why an incredibly advanced civilization may run a huge number of simulations in an attempt at finding out where their civilization comes from, or how it has developed. I will do this because Bostrommerely assumes that it is reasonable to assume that this is the course of action a highly developed civilisation will take. I will also take other works he’s written on the subject into consideration, namely his answer from 2011 to a mistake found in the original paper. 

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