Embodiment or Envatment? Reflections on the Bodily Basis of Consciousness
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Suppose that a team of neurosurgeons and bioengineers were able to remove your brain from your body, suspend it in a life-sustaining vat of liquid nutrients, and connect its neurons and nerve terminals by wires to a supercomputer that would stimulate it with electrical impulses exactly like those it normally receives when embodied. According to this brain-in-a-vat thought experiment, your envatted brain and your embodied brain would have subjectively indistinguishable mental lives. For all you know—so one argument goes—you could be such a brain in a vat right now.1 Daniel Dennett calls this sort of philosophical thought experiment an “intuition pump” (Dennett 1995). An intuition pump is designed to elicit certain intuitive convictions, but is not itself a proper argument: “intuition pumps are fine if they’re used correctly, but they can also be misused. They’re not arguments, they’re stories. Instead of having a conclusion, they pump an intuition. They get you to say ‘Aha! Oh, I get it!’ (Dennett 1995, p. 182). Philosophers have used the brain-in-a-vat story mainly to raise the problem of radical skepticism and to elicit various intuitions about meaning and knowledge (Putnam 1981). The basic intuition the story tries to pump is that the envatted brain, though fully conscious, has systematically false beliefs about the world, including itself. Some philosophers reject this intuition. They propose that the envatted brain’s beliefs are really about its artificial environment or that it..
|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
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.
David J. Chalmers (2005). The Matrix as Metaphysics. In Christopher Grau (ed.), Philosophers Explore the Matrix. Oxford University Press. 132.
Olaf L. Müller, Consciousness Without Physical Basis. A Metaphysical Meditation on the Immortality of the Soul.
Diego Cosmelli & Evan Thompson (web). Embodiment or Envatment? Reflections on the Bodily Basis of Consciousness. In J. Stewart, O. Gapenne & E Di Paolo (eds.), Enaction: Towards a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science. MIT Press.
Richard Foley (2003). Three Attempts to Refute Skepticism and Why They Fail. In S. Luper (ed.), The Skeptics: Contemporary Essays. Ashgate Publishing.
Sherrilyn Roush (2010). Closure On Skepticism. Journal of Philosophy 107 (5):243-256.
Jon Dorbolo (2006). Intuition Pumps. Minds and Machines 16 (1):81-86.
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.
Daniel Dennett (2001). The Zombic Hunch: Extinction of an Intuition? Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 48:27-43.
Henry Jackman (2001). Semantic Pragmatism and A Priori Knowledge. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):455 - 480.
Olaf L. Mueller (2003). Can They Say What They Want? A Transcendental Argument Against Utilitarianism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (2):241-259.
Michael Huemer (2000). Direct Realism and the Brain-in-a-Vat Argument. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):397-413.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads38 ( #44,788 of 1,100,886 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #176,807 of 1,100,886 )
How can I increase my downloads?