Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real” as Want to Read:
The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real (Popular Culture and Philosophy #3)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  1,701 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
The Matrix conveys the horror of a false world made of nothing but perceptions. Based on the premise that reality is a dream controlled by malevolent forces, it is one of the most overtly philosophical movies ever to come out of Hollywood. These thought-provoking essays by the same team of young philosophers who created The Simpsons and Philosophy discuss different facets ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published August 28th 2002 by Open Court
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Matrix and Philosophy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Matrix and Philosophy

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Andrew Miller
Apr 12, 2013 Andrew Miller rated it really liked it
This book discusses the reoccurring philosophical trends and ideas in The Matrix (movie); topics such as, neo-materialism, 'fate', freewill, and nihilism. The idea of nihilism expressed in the matrix pertained to my scientific philosophy on life, and was incredibly interesting to say the least - it really makes you think about real life implications of the 'matrix'. The movie series The Matrix suggests humans’ life is without objective meaning as it portrays Earth and it’s populous as an artific ...more
Mike Angelillo
Aug 03, 2008 Mike Angelillo rated it did not like it
Shelves: regrets
Descartes this...blah, blah, blah,....brain in a vat that...blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I get it. It is just so incredibly dull. Plus the fact that each article is written by a different person (often a student) leads to a lot of repeated themes and authors trying to sound impressive rather than informative and entertaining.

Unlike The Dharma of Star Wars, this book added nothing to the enjoyment of the film.
Geoffrey Sperl
This is a decent review of the first Matrix film, but after watching the second two and seeing what the Wachowskis do to deconstruct the mythology they built in the first movie, this book seems completely out of date. There are discussions of Morpheus's dogma, for example, that don't have the advantage of seeing how his beliefs are challenged in the succeeding films.

As an introduction to philosophy in the trilogy, this is a decent read, but it falls into the trap many academic books do. The acad
Jul 28, 2015 Tassia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Appassionati di filosofia
Essendo un'appassionata di Matrix ed avendo una discreta curiosità per la filosofia pensavo che questa raccolta di venti saggi fosse una scelta piuttosto azzeccata. Purtroppo mi son dovuta ricredere. Se il curatore avesse avuto una visione d'insieme dell'opera si sarebbe certamente reso conto che c'è una ripetizione nauseante degli stessi concetti; si arriva all'ultimo saggio che al sol sentire nominare il demone malvagio di Descartes o la caverna platonica si avverte un irrefrenabile impulso di ...more
CV Rick
Jun 23, 2009 CV Rick rated it liked it
Shelves: pop-culture
An interesting book which ties lines of philosophical reasoning to the highly symbolic Matrix movie. I thought that parts of it were quite insightful, but too many of the philosophers used the same 4 scenes of the movie to make their point that it became quite repetitive - Trinity bring Neo back to life, the choice of Red or Blue pill, the scene with towers of pod-humans energizing batteries for the AI world, and Cypher's betrayal.

Perhaps different writers could've analyzed different plot eleme
Dec 25, 2016 Foroogh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
اين كتاب در حقيقت مجموعه مقالاتي هست كه توسط افراد مختلف پيرامون ابعاد فلسفي، روانشناختي ، جامعه شناسي ، نظريات رسانه و... فيلم ماتريكس حرف ميزنه وبراي كساني كه فيلم رو ديدند حتما جذاب خواهد بود
Oct 29, 2016 Amazingsomeone rated it it was amazing
Matrix was my favorite movie ever. This is a good book, a great addition to your reading list if you are into philosophy and have liked the movies.
Feb 12, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
I was scared to read this, assuming I wouldn't remember much from my college days. But I'm actually doing quite well, and this is pretty interesting. My favorite in college was philo of the mind, which is totally what the Matrix is about, and probably why I liked the movie so much.

The only thought I've had worth noting at this point is that I just gone done reading a book discussing the concept of false/ignorant happiness (Farenheit 451), and now I'm reading about the Matrix, where you have to d
Mike Smith
Feb 08, 2013 Mike Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Another entry in the "Popular Culture and Philosophy" series that uses a pop culture phenomenon, in this case the 1999 movie The Matrix, to examine philosophical topics (see also my reviews of books in this series covering the TV show Lost , Monty Python , and Harry Potter ).

Not surprisingly, these essays by a variety of philosophers and academics focus on topics such as the nature of reality, true knowledge, fate, and religion. Generally, the quality of the essays is good and the material is
Jacob Russo
Jan 29, 2008 Jacob Russo rated it it was amazing
The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real is a really interesting and fun book. It is about the first Matrix movie and how the Wakowski Brothers incorporated many different aspect of philosophy into the movie. The book examines various scenes from the movie and then explains how they are related to fascinating philosophical concepts. Some of the philosophers that the different authors who contribute to individual parts of the book delve into include: Socrates, Kant, Descartes, ...more
Lynne Jamneck
Mar 08, 2008 Lynne Jamneck rated it liked it
Today, someone txt'd me out of the blue and asked what Neo's name was in The Matrix.

The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real is a good introduction to some of the more common threads of philosophy. The pop-culture references make it easy for the philosophical layman to get his or her head around tricky concepts like the nature of reality, fate and consciousness, whilst also addressing issues of ethics and morality within the construct of the film.

If you like the Matrix films
Apr 26, 2015 Dustin rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
we come to the cave of Plato, where you find yourself bound in chains, knowing only the shadows on the wall and contemplating the nature of a spoon.

The Matrix and Philosophy is part of the Popular Culture and Philosophy series published by Open Court. Within you’ll find a series of essays discussing the philosophical themes of the Matrix trilogy and how they relate to the broader topics of free will, reality and if it really matters if we’re all just plugged into a massive multiplayer existence.
The Arcane Master
Jul 01, 2010 The Arcane Master rated it really liked it
This is a fairly decent text. Out of all the pop culture and philosophy volumes, this is among the better ones.
The papers presented span over a broad range of philosophical perspectives-from metaphysics to deconstructionism, classical to postmodern.
i particularly appreciate that many of the essays are critical of the film as a work of art philosophy.
A good read if you're the nerdy sort. At least a very basic grasp of philosophy is probably required if you want to enjoy reading it. Otherwise,
Joseph Santiago
Aug 26, 2014 Joseph Santiago rated it really liked it
This book demonstrated that the questions of philosophy can be as inspiring as the answers to the questions. It had been a long time since I saw the movie and this book has added more depth to the reflection of the story. i found this book to be enjoyable as it take the reader through motive, action, and perspective action through the story line. That prospective action is broken down into examples that could apply to many arguments and questions for one's own life. This was a good read for the ...more
Apr 12, 2013 Maylin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, sf
I rarely read non fiction and was a little worried that trying to listen would be difficult. In fact it was very easy. The set up was like a series of radio lectures by different authors.

It may be 'pop' culture but I found it got me thinking and the grey matter is still mulling over things days later - so that's good - right?

I was amazed at the different aspects of Philosophy covered including Plato, Descartes and Zen Buddhism and now feel a burning desire to see the Matrix again.

I will definite
Apr 28, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it
Loved reading this book, as it gives you great insight into the entire concept of the Matrix. Based more on the philosophical concepts and how they could be applied to life as we know it. It is not an easy book to read (Just as with all Philosophy), and you have to read it slowly to digest it all. But if you've got extra time on your hands and want to take a trip "down the rabbit hole" then give it a shot.
Jan 13, 2011 Dru rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
A collection of essays that analyzes philosophy using the film, The Matrix as the common ground. Some just went over my head while others were able to keep my interest. I particularly liked : the religion of the matrix and the problems of pluralism, happiness and cypher's choice: is ignorance bliss?, notes from underground: nihilism and the matrix, the matrix Marx and the coppertop's life....

But if you don't like philosophy or the Matrix, don't come near this book!
Sep 12, 2014 Norbert rated it liked it
Mostly an excellent book, though there are a few of the essays that feel like they're shoehorned in to the book for the sake of completeness, rather than because The Matrix actually touched on any of those topics. This is especially true of the feminist essay near the end which panned Trinity for needing to be rescued by Neo. You know, after she just saved both Neo and Morpheus via a helicopter rescue. But let's ignore that in lieu of her actually being weak enough to ever need help.
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jun 14, 2010 Meg - A Bookish Affair rated it did not like it
This book is a collection of philosophical essays on the Matrix movie. In the very beginning of the book, the author states that every philosophy has a home in the Matrix as so many of the parts of the movie are universal so each of the essays takes a look at different philosophies that the authors believe can be found in the Matrix. This book was just not my cup of tea.
May 10, 2012 Joe rated it it was ok
Saw the Matrix trilogy this past week on AMC and figured I'd check this out. Somewhat interesting but very redundant, revisiting Plato's caves and Decartes Meditations innumerable times. It is a collection of essays covering the same topic so the repetition is understandable. It might make for a nice discussion in a philosophy class.
Jan 21, 2016 Philippe rated it really liked it
At least a philosophy book which is human-readable and fun ! This is the purpose of this collection : to bring philosophy to people outside of the academic milieu. I think this is achieved : I read it. And while reading it, it gave me planty of reference that my studies in "education nationale" failed to bring to me.
I a eager to grab another one of this series.
Aug 31, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it
I was required to read this book for a philosophy course. I'm so glad I actually read this book (I don't always read books for my courses). I couldn't believe how helpful it was in understanding what all the old philosophers were saying. It made it easy to understand through the stories from the Matrix movies. If you're thoroughly confused by philosophy give this book a chance!
Toph White
Sep 03, 2016 Toph White rated it really liked it
Fun read with a good combo of pop-culture and philosophy
Nov 27, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it
If you liked the Matrix movies and enjoy philosophy this book is for you. Specifically analyzing the Matrix movie with notorious philosophers like Descartes and Plato, this provides an interesting way to learn more about these important men and learn more about some interpretations of the movie. (The author wrote a second book as a follow up which focuses on the sequels).
Dec 02, 2007 Kerri rated it liked it
This book had a few excellent chapters--I particularly enjoyed the Buddhist, Christian, and feminist readings of the film. However, as a whole I wasn't entirely impressed. I also thought that the book would delve into all three films, but it only covers the original movie.
Peter Voutov
Oct 05, 2014 Peter Voutov rated it liked it
The essays are a bit repetitive in the analysis. There are some good pointers to further literature for amateur philosophers. The essay, I enjoyed The Pardox of Real Response to Neo-Fiction by Sarah E. Worth, which also prompted me to watch the movie eXistenZ, which I hadn't seen before.
Nov 20, 2012 Andie rated it liked it
Very interesting, it got me interested in philosophy (it was the first philosophy book I ever read), but I found the essays a bit dry originally and could only really get into it the second time around. This could be due to the difference in my age between the first and second reads, as well.
Anthony Arena
May 01, 2014 Anthony Arena rated it really liked it
Very interesting read, and as astoundingly astute as Slavoj Zizek is, it took me forever to read his section: great observations, but packed, as usual, like the density of a black hole for content. Not a bad thing, just an observation
Oct 08, 2012 Neomi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, tv-film, 2012
I devoured this book.. Watched the documentary on the Matrix and sat down with this book. It blew my mind.. as an eager philosophy student in college, this was just icing on top. But I also recommend it to anyone who loves The matrix, and wants a better understanding of the themes used.
David Markwell
Feb 08, 2016 David Markwell rated it liked it
Some good essays in this book. I've always wondered if the whole trilogy of these movies had been out before this book was written would they even have bothered since the last two movies were atrocious. Oh well.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
excellent book 2 12 Nov 17, 2011 06:42PM  
  • Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful than You Can Possibly Imagine
  • Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy & Religion in The Matrix
  • Iron Man and Philosophy: Facing the Stark Reality
  • Dexter and Philosophy: Mind over Spatter
  • The Chronicles of Narnia and Philosophy: The Lion, the Witch, and the Worldview (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
  • Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way
  • The Beatles and Philosophy: Nothing You Can Think that Can't Be Thunk
  • Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think!
  • Woody Allen and Philosophy: [You Mean My Whole Fallacy Is Wrong?]
  • Stephen Colbert and Philosophy: I Am Philosophy (And So Can You!)
  • Supervillains and Philosophy: Sometimes, Evil is its Own Reward
  • The Philosophy of the X-Files
  • Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy: The Footprints of a Gigantic Mind
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale
  • Absolute Recoil: Towards A New Foundation Of Dialectical Materialism
  • Lost and Philosophy: The Island Has Its Reasons
  • The Daily Show and Philosophy: Moments of Zen in the Art of Fake News
  • Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing is as it Seems
- B.A. in philosophy, Summa Cum Laude, Fordham University, 1992. Full Presidential Scholarship.

- Dissertation "Harmonizing Hermeneutics: The Normative and Descriptive Approaches, Interpretation and Criticism," Buffalo, 1996, 226 pp. Awarded the Perry Prize for Outstanding Dissertations in Philosophy.

- Ph.D. in philosophy, The State University of New York at Buffalo, June 1, 1996. Presidential Fell
More about William Irwin...

Other Books in the Series

Popular Culture and Philosophy (1 - 10 of 102 books)
  • Seinfeld and Philosophy: A Book About Everything and Nothing (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
  • The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale
  • The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All
  • Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking Outside the Batter's Box
  • The Sopranos and Philosophy: I Kill Therefore I Am (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
  • Woody Allen and Philosophy: [You Mean My Whole Fallacy Is Wrong?]
  • Harry Potter and Philosophy: If Aristotle Ran Hogwarts
  • Mel Gibson's Passion and Philosophy: The Cross, the Questions, the Controverssy
  • More Matrix and Philosophy: Revolutions and Reloaded Decoded (Popular Culture and Philosophy)

Share This Book