David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Erkenntnis 54 (3):299-320 (2001)
Are we perhaps in the "matrix", or anyway, victims of perfect and permanent computer simulation? No. The most convincing—and shortest—version of Putnam's argument against the possibility of our eternal envattment is due to Crispin Wright (1994). It avoids most of the misunderstandings that have been elicited by Putnam's original presentation of the argument in "Reason, Truth and History" (1981). But it is still open to the charge of question-begging. True enough, the premisses of the argument (disquotation and externalism) can be formulated and defended without presupposing external objects whose existence appears doubtful in the light of the very skeptical scenario which Putnam wants to repudiate. However, the argument is only valid if we add an extra premiss as to the existence of some external objects. In order to avoid circularity, we should run the argument with external objects which must exist even if we are brains in a vat, e.g. with computers rather than with trees. As long as the skeptic is engaged in a discussion of the brain-in-a-vat scenario, she should neither deny the existence of computers nor the existence of causal relations; for if she does, she is in fact denying that we are brains in a vat.
|Keywords||René DESCARTES Hilary PUTNAM Crispin WRIGHT matrix (film) disquotation causality apriori envattment computer simulation cyber world|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Sherri Roush (2010). Closure On Skepticism. Journal of Philosophy 107 (5):243-256.
Xiaoqiang Han (2010). A Butterfly Dream in a Brain in a Vat. Philosophia 38 (1):157-167.
Michael Jacovides (2007). How Is Descartes' Argument Against Scepticism Better Than Putnam's? Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):593 - 612.
Henry Jackman (2001). Semantic Pragmatism and A Priori Knowledge. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):455 - 480.
David Liggins (2008). Quine, Putnam, and the 'Quine-Putnam' Indispensability Argument. Erkenntnis 68 (1):113 - 127.
Marian David (1991). Neither Mentioning 'Brains in a Vat' nor Mentioning Brains in a Vat Will Prove That We Are Not Brains in a Vat. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (4):891-896.
Anthony L. Brueckner (1986). Brains in a Vat. Journal of Philosophy 83 (3):148-167.
Mark Sprevak & Christina McLeish (2004). Magic, Semantics, and Putnam's Vat Brains. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 35 (2):227-236.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads173 ( #3,451 of 1,096,707 )
Recent downloads (6 months)95 ( #415 of 1,096,707 )
How can I increase my downloads?