Inception, analysis, philosophy, explanation

Inception, analysis, philosophy, explanation. We are going to immerse ourselves in that type of fusions of themes that I like so much, cinema and philosophy, this because it is a didactic way of teaching to think. The film Inception is a science fiction thriller that explores the nature of reality, dreams, and the human mind.

The story follows a group of “extractors” who are hired to enter the subconscious mind of a businessman and plant an idea, a process known as “Inception.”

Some of you may have read the previous version of this post; Suddenly others came to this new, reworked version.

The point is that I felt that elements and context were needed, which is why I chose to rewrite the text.

Inception, analysis, philosophy, explanation
Inception, analysis, philosophy, explanation


Inception is a film that explores the concept of dream-sharing technology and its implications for corporate espionage and personal identity.

The film features a cast of talented actors, including Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb, a skilled extractor who can steal secrets from people’s subconscious; Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur, his pragmatic partner and right-hand man; Elliot Page as Ariadne, a brilliant architect who designs dreamscapes.

But it also features: Ken Watanabe as Saito, a powerful businessman who hires them for a risky mission; Tom Hardy as Eames, a versatile counterfeiter who can impersonate anyone in the dream world; Marion Cotillard as Mal, Cobb’s late wife who stalks his dreams; Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer, the heir to a rival corporation and its initial target; Tom Berenger as Browning, Fischer’s godfather and advisor; and Michael Caine as Miles, Cobb’s mentor and father-in-law.

The film was written, produced and directed by Christopher Nolan, known for his complex and original stories and his mastery of cinematic techniques.


Inception is a science fiction action film that tells the story of a group of professional thieves who use experimental technology to enter the dreams of their victims and extract or implant information. The main characters are:

Cobb: The leader of the team, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. He is an expert in the art of extraction, but he is also haunted by the death of his wife Mal and his inability to return to the United States with their children.

Arthur: Cobb’s partner and friend, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is in charge of organizing and planning the missions, as well as managing the “blows” that awaken the dreamers.

Ariadne: An architecture student recruited by Cobb, played by Elliot Page. She is responsible for designing and building the dream scenarios, as well as helping Cobb face Mal in his subconscious.

Eames: A British forger hired by Cobb, played by Tom Hardy. He is able to adopt the appearance of other people in dreams, which allows him to deceive and manipulate targets.

Saito: A Japanese businessman who hires Cobb to perform the most difficult mission: the inception, played by Ken Watanabe. He is the client and protector of the team, but he is also personally involved in the shared dream.

Yusuf: A Kenyan chemist who provides the sedative needed for deep sleep, played by Dileep Rao. He is a specialist in pharmacology and physiology of sleep.

– Robert Fischer: The Target of Conception, played by Cillian Murphy. He is the son and heir of Maurice Fischer, a tycoon who is about to die and whose company is Saito’s competitor.

– Mal: Cobb’s deceased wife, played by Marion Cotillard. It is a projection of Cobb’s subconscious that pursues him and sabotages his missions, due to the guilt he feels for his death.

Miles: Malo’s father and Cobb’s mentor, played by Michael Caine. He is an architecture teacher who introduces him to Ariadne and helps him contact his children.

Philosophy: Inception, analysis, explanation

Here is a philosophical analysis of the film’s themes:

Reality and perception: One of the main themes of Inception is the nature of reality and how we perceive it. The film explores the idea that our perception of reality is subjective and can be manipulated by external factors. The idea of dreams within dreams within dreams challenges the audience to question what is real and what is not.

Free Will and Determinism: The film also touches on the idea of free will and determinism. The protagonist, Cobb, struggles with guilt and regret for his past actions, and it is suggested that he cannot change his fate due to his subconscious desires. The concept of limbo suggests that some forces, such as time and memory, are beyond our control.

Ethics and morality: The concept of Inception raises ethical and moral questions about using technology to manipulate people’s minds. The film asks if it is ever right to go into someone’s mind and plant an idea without their knowledge or consent. This raises the question of the value of personal autonomy and whether it should be protected at all costs.

Consciousness and Unconscious: The film delves into the depths of the human mind, exploring the relationship between consciousness and the unconscious. The subconscious mind is presented as a powerful force that can be manipulated by external stimuli. The film asks whether our conscious thoughts and actions are really ours or whether they are determined by unconscious forces.


Inception is a science fiction film that explores the concept of lucid dreams, that is, those in which the dreamer is aware of being dreaming and can control some aspects of the dream.

The plot centers on Dom Cobb, a thief who uses a machine to enter the dreams of his victims and extract or implant information into their subconscious. Cobb is hired by Saito, a Japanese businessman, to perform a very difficult mission: to make an inception, that is, to plant an idea in the mind of Robert Fischer, the heir to a corporate empire, to dismantle his father’s business. To do this, Cobb recruits a team of experts in the art of manipulating dreams, including Arthur, Ariadne, Eames and Yusuf.

Together they will have to design and execute a plan that takes them through various levels of dreams within dreams, avoiding the defenses of Fischer’s subconscious and the dangers of getting lost in limbo, a state of deep sleep from which it is difficult to escape. In addition, Cobb will have to face his own demons, represented by the figure of his late wife Mal, who torments him in his dreams and threatens to sabotage his mission.


Christopher Nolan’s film Inception (2010) alludes to Plato’s philosophy by posing the question of reality and illusion. According to Plato, the sensible world that we perceive with the senses is an imperfect copy of the intelligible world of ideas, which we can only access with reason. In Inception, characters can enter other people’s dreams and manipulate them to create fake scenarios that look real. Thus, the distinction between the true and the false, the objective and the subjective, the real and the imaginary, is questioned.

The film also references Plato’s cave myth, in which prisoners only see the shadows cast on a wall and believe they are reality, until one of them manages to go outside and contemplate the real world. In Inception, dreamers must use a totem pole to know if they are in a dream or in reality, and the protagonist, Cobb, has the doubt of whether his life is real or an illusion.


Christopher Nolan’s film Inception (2010) raises a number of philosophical questions about the nature of reality, dream, and illusion. One of the possible references that can be found in the film is the allusion to Descartes, the French philosopher who formulated the famous principle “I think, therefore I am”. Descartes doubted everything he perceived from the senses, for he could be deceived by an evil genius who would make him believe that he was awake when in fact he was dreaming.

To escape this methodical doubt, Descartes relied on the certainty of his own thought, which could not be false or illusory. In Inception, characters dive into other people’s dreams to manipulate their minds, and use devices called “totems” to distinguish between dream and reality. These totems are personal objects that have abnormal behavior in sleep, such as a spinning top that never stops or a die that always falls on the same number.

However, these totems are not infallible, as they can be replicated or altered by other dreamers. In addition, the characters run the risk of being trapped in a deep level of sleep called “limbo”, where they lose track of time and their identity. Thus, Inception raises the possibility that reality is an illusion created by our mind, and that we can only access it through the exercise of reason, as Descartes proposed.


One of the most interesting references made by the director is the allusion to Freud and his theory of psychoanalysis. According to Freud, dreams are a way of access to the unconscious, where repressed desires, internal conflicts and traumas of the past meet.

Nolan uses this idea to create a world where characters can enter other people’s dreams and influence their decisions, but also face their own demons. Thus, Inception is a metaphor for psychoanalytic therapy, where the protagonist, Cobb, must overcome his guilt for the death of his wife and free himself from her influence in order to return to his reality.

End explained

The end of Inception is one of the most debated and analyzed in the history of cinema. Christopher Nolan’s film presents us with a world where it is possible to enter other people’s dreams and influence their decisions. The protagonist, Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), is an expert in this type of operation, but also a fugitive who seeks to return to his family.

The last scene of the film shows us Cobb arriving in America and reuniting with his children. However, before hugging them, he leaves a totem on the table, an object that allows him to know if it is in reality or in a dream. The totem is a spinning top that, according to the rules of the movie, only stops in the real world. The camera focuses on the spinning top, which seems to wobble, but cuts itself before seeing if it falls or not.

What does this ending mean? Is Cobb in reality or in a dream? There are several theories about it, but none is definitive. Some argue that the totem pole is not Cobb’s true indicator, but his wedding ring, which he only wears when he dreams of his wife Mal (Marion Cotillard). Others point out that Cobb’s children are the same clothes and age as in his memories, suggesting that they are a projection of his subconscious. Still others claim that the entire film is a dream of Cobb, or that the ending is a metaphor for cinema as a way of daydreaming.

The truth is that Nolan has left the ending open to the interpretation of the viewer. The director has said that the important thing is not whether the spinning top falls or not, but that Cobb stops looking at it and concentrates on his family. In this way, Nolan invites us to reflect on the nature of reality, the subjectivity of perception and the power of imagination.

Science fiction thriller

A science fiction thriller is a genre of fiction that combines elements of science fiction and suspense. Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction that imagines alternative realities based on scientific or technological innovations, such as artificial intelligence, space exploration, time travel or genetic engineering.

The thriller is a form of suspense fiction that creates excitement and anxiety in the reader by presenting a dangerous or risky situation, such as a crime, a conspiracy, or a chase.

A science fiction thriller usually uses science fiction concepts to create an exciting plot that challenges the characters and the reader. Some examples of science fiction thrillers are The Matrix, Minority Report, Inception, and The Hunger Games.


In conclusion, Inception is a thought-provoking film that raises philosophical questions about reality, perception, free will, ethics, morality and conscience. The film challenges the audience to think deeply about these concepts and consider how they shape our understanding of the world and ourselves.

Read also: Relationship Between Logic and Philosophy Watch video summary Inception; What is philosophy?

Second edition 2021; Third Edition 2023

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