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Date of Submission


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Open Access Senior Thesis

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Bachelor of Arts



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Jesse Lerner

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Metaphysical quandaries have plagued humans for centuries, beginning with Plato, who in his Allegory of the Cave, illustrated a world where people misinterpreted shadows on the wall as reality. This paper examines the notion that our reality is a simulation, either created by us or by external forces. The ontological theories presented in this paper are mainly derived from the work of media theorist Jean Baudrillard and his concept of hyperreality as well as Nick Bostrom’s argument for the simulation hypothesis. I also analyze Slavoj Zizek’s comments on media depictions of simulations in mainstream movies like The Matrix and The Truman Show along with hyperreal events that have occurred, like the September 11 terrorist attacks. Baudrillard's theory suggests that our experience of reality is increasingly mediated by technology and media, to the point where it becomes difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not. This can lead to a sense of disorientation or alienation from reality, which may prompt people to search for alternative explanations for their experience. Baudrillard attributes these feelings to living in a hyperreal society whereas Bostrom's simulation theory offers an alternative explanation: that our experience of reality may be the result of living in a computer simulation. While both of these ideas may seem far-fetched, they speak to a deep-seated human desire to understand the nature of reality and our place within it.