David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 35 (2):227-236 (2004)
In this paper we offer an exegesis of Hilary Putnam’s classic argument against the brain-in-avat hypothesis offered in his Reason, truth and history (1981). In it, Putnam argues that we cannot be brains in a vat because the semantics of the situation make it incoherent for anyone to wonder whether they are a brain a vat. Putnam’s argument is that in order for ‘I am a brain in a vat’ to be true, the person uttering it would have to be able to refer successfully to those things: the vat, and the envatted brain. Putnam thinks that reference can’t be secured without relevant kinds of causal relations, which, if envatted, the brain would lack, and so, it fails to be able to meaningfully utter ‘I am a brain in a vat’. We consider the implications of Putnam’s arguments for the traditional sceptic. In conclusion, we discuss the role of Putnam’s arguments against the brain in a vat hypothesis in his larger defense of his own internal realism against metaphysical realism.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Rory Madden (2013). Could a Brain in a Vat Self‐Refer? European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):74-93.
Bredo C. Johnsen (2003). Of Brains in Vats, Whatever Brains in Vats May Be. Philosophical Studies 112 (3):225 - 249.
Anthony L. Brueckner (1986). Brains in a Vat. Journal of Philosophy 83 (3):148-167.
Kirk Ludwig (1992). Brains in a Vat, Subjectivity, and the Causal Theory of Reference. Journal of Philosophical Research 17:313-345.
Anthony Brueckner (1992). If I Am a Brain in a Vat, Then I Am Not a Brain in a Vat. Mind 101 (401):123-128.
Henry Jackman (2001). Semantic Pragmatism and A Priori Knowledge. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):455 - 480.
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.
Added to index2009-10-30
Total downloads103 ( #13,940 of 1,679,341 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #59,909 of 1,679,341 )
How can I increase my downloads?