Conceiving one's envatment while denying metaphysical realism

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (4):469 – 474 (1992)
Abstract
J.D. Collier sees Putnam as arguing (in the 'Brains in a Vat' chapter of [4]) that metaphysical realism is false.' He sees the argument as proceeding from the background assumption that metaphysical realism has the consequence that truth is 'radically non-epistemic', so that 'an [epistemically] ideal theory could be radically wrong about the world' [3, p. 413]. But, according to Collier, Putnam argues that 'an ideal theory satisfying all of our methodological and theoretical constraints cannot be false' [3, p. 413]. Collier attempts to defend metaphysical realism against this Putnamian attack by distinguishing 'between our ability to state a theory and our ability to conceive its possibility' [3, p. 413]. I will show that this defence is unsuccessful.
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References found in this work BETA
Anthony L. Brueckner (1986). Brains in a Vat. Journal of Philosophy 83 (3):148-167.
Tyler Burge (1982). Other Bodies. In Andrew Woodfield (ed.), Thought and Object. Oxford University Press.
John D. Collier (1990). Could I Conceive Being a Brain in a Vat? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (4):413 – 419.
Hilary Putnam (1980). Models and Reality. Journal of Symbolic Logic 45 (3):464-482.

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