Neither mentioning 'brains in a vat' nor mentioning brains in a vat will prove that we are not brains in a vat
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (4):891-896 (1991)
In Reason, Truth, and History Hilary Putnam has presented an anti-skeptical argument purporting to prove that we are not brains in a vat. How exactly the argument goes is somewhat controversial. A number of competing "recon¬structions" have been proposed. They suffer from a defect which they share with what seems to be Putnam's own version of the argument. In this paper, I examine a very simple and rather natural reconstruction of the argument, one that does not employ any premises in which a sentence, viz. the sentence 'I am a brain in a vat', is mentioned rather than used. In this respect my version of the argument is importantly different from what appears to be Putnam's own version.
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Citations of this work BETA
Keith Butler (1998). Externalism and Skepticism. Dialogue 37 (1):13-34.
Yitzhak Benbaji (2004). Using Others' Words and Drawing the Limits of the Thinkable. Dialogue 43 (01):125-.
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