Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Brains in a vat, philosophy: thought experiment of Hilary Putnam (in Reason, truth and history, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1981) in which brains are floating in a nutrient solution while the reality is simulated through electrical impulses. It is about the question whether we can be sure not to be in such a situation. See also skepticism, reference, knowledge, causal theory of knowledge.
 
Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Davidson, Donald
 
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Brains in a Vat Rorty VI 166
Brains in a Vat/BIV/Davidson/Rorty: if they have always been in the vat, they many of beliefs about their factual vat-plus-computer environment, no matter what kind of input they receive.
Rorty VI 230
Brains in a Vat/Davidson/Rorty: are mostly right with their assumptions. They are not capable of wondering if they really are sitting in the chair in front of the fire: to ask such a question you need to know something about the things, i.e. be causally related to them. The brains already know a lot, and much of what they know something about is precisely their vat-plus-computer environment.
Rorty VI 230
Dream/Davidson: the dreamer mostly feels the right things. Although he is mistaken, e.g., about what specific real things surround him in that specific moment.

D I
D. Davidson
Der Mythos des Subjektiven Stuttgart 1993

D III
D. Davidson
Handlung und Ereignis Frankfurt 1990

D IV
D. Davidson
Wahrheit und Interpretation Frankfurt 1990

Ro I
R. Rorty
Der Spiegel der Natur Frankfurt 1997

Ro II
R. Rorty
Philosophie & die Zukunft Frankfurt 2000

Ro III
R. Rorty
Kontingenz, Ironie und Solidarität Frankfurt 1992

Ro IV
R. Rorty
Eine Kultur ohne Zentrum Stuttgart 1993

Ro V
R. Rorty
Solidarität oder Objektivität? Stuttgart 1998

Ro VI
R. Rorty
Wahrheit und Fortschritt Frankfurt 2000


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> Counter arguments in relation to Brains in a Vat



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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-03-27