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Simulation Argument

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The Simulation Argument is a thesis set out in a 2003 paper[1] by Nick Bostrom, a Transhumanist philosopher, in which he argues that the scenario depicted in the film The Matrix is correct, and that the world that we see around us is merely a computer simulation.

This paper begins by arguing for the logic disjunction between the following three propositions propositions:

  1. The human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "post-human" stage;
  2. Any post-human civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof);
  3. We are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

The paper then goes on to argue that as there is a significant chance that we will one day become post-humans who run ancestor-simulations, therefore it is almost certain that we are living in a computer simulation[2] Since 2003 there has been a lot of interest in the idea, especially with the online community.[3]


  1. Bostrom, N., (2003), Philosophical Quarterly , Vol. 53, No. 211, pp. 243-255. , available from:
  2. see Nick Bostrom's website at
  3. see, for example the debates and material at:

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