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Summary Putnam's brain-in-vat argument is an attempted transcendental argument against the sceptical hypothesis that we are brains in vats (BIVs). A simple construction of the argument runs as follows: My word "brain" refers to brains; A BIV's word "brain" does not refer to brains; So I am not a BIV. An alternative reconstruction ends with the (perhaps weaker) conclusion that my sentence "I am not a BIV" is true. On either reconstruction, however, the argument seeks to use semantic means to refute some kind of radical, global, scepticism.
Key works Chapter 1 of Putnam 1981 contains the fullest statement of Putnam's argument, and helps to set the dialectical context of Putnam's interest in the BIV scenario. Putnam then clarified the argument in response to criticisms, particularly his 1992 reply to Anderson, and his 1994 reply to Wright. Here, Putnam makes clear that the argument involved only two premises (disquotation and some kind of causally constrained theory of reference), thereby favouring the first of the reconstructions suggested above. (The second reconstruction seems better suited to Davidson's 1986 anti-sceptical argument, which is closely connected with Putnam's.) Wright 1992 is one of the fullest and strongest defences of Putnam's argument; however, Wright ends by suggesting that Putnam has failed to refute certain ineffable sceptical concerns (similar worries were voiced by Nagel and van Inwagen). Button 2013 devotes several chapters to the BIV argument, seeking to defend it in its own terms, address Wright's ineffable concerns, and assess the overall limits of BIV-style argumentation. Brueckner & Ebbs 2012 collects a three-decade exchange which begins with Putnam's BIV argument and connects with the wider question of how scepticism and content externalism should interact. Goldberg 2015 offers new essays on the BIV argument
Introductions Putnam 1981 (ch. 1). Wright 1992. Button 2013 (chs. 12-16).
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  1. Brains in Vats and Model Theory.Tim Button - forthcoming - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Brain in a Vat. Cambridge University Press.
    Hilary Putnam’s BIV argument first occurred to him when ‘thinking about a theorem in modern logic, the “Skolem–Löwenheim Theorem”’ (Putnam 1981: 7). One of my aims in this paper is to explore the connection between the argument and the Theorem. But I also want to draw some further connections. In particular, I think that Putnam’s BIV argument provides us with an impressively versatile template for dealing with sceptical challenges. Indeed, this template allows us to unify some of Putnam’s most enduring (...)
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  2. Why Boltzmann Brains Are Bad.Sean M. Carroll - forthcoming - In Shamik Dasgupta & Brad Weslake (eds.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
    Some modern cosmological models predict the appearance of Boltzmann Brains: observers who randomly fluctuate out of a thermal bath rather than naturally evolving from a low-entropy Big Bang. A theory in which most observers are of the Boltzmann Brain type is generally thought to be unacceptable, although opinions differ. I argue that such theories are indeed unacceptable: the real problem is with fluctuations into observers who are locally identical to ordinary observers, and their existence cannot be swept under the rug (...)
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  3. Reassessing the Case Against Evidential Externalism.Giada Fratantonio & Aidan McGlynn - forthcoming - In Veli Mitova (ed.), The Factive Turn in Epistemology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This paper reassesses the case against Evidential Externalism, the thesis that one's evidence fails to supervene on one's non-factive mental states, focusing on two objections to Externalism due by Nicholas Silins: the armchair access argument and the supervenience argument. It also examines Silins's attempt to undermine the force of one major source of motivation for Externalism, namely that the rival Internalist picture of evidence is implicated in some central arguments for scepticism. While Silins concludes that the case against Evidential Externalism (...)
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  4. World Brains, Giant Brains and Brains in Vats.Charlie Gere - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
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  5. Putnam on Brains in Vats.Sanford Goldberg (ed.) - forthcoming - Cambridge University Press.
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  6. Précis of The Illusion of Doubt.Genia Schönbaumsfeld - forthcoming - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism:1-6.
    The Illusion of Doubt shows that radical scepticism is an illusion generated by a Cartesian picture of our evidential situation—the view that my epistemic grounds in both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ cases must be the same. It is this picture which issues both a standing invitation to radical scepticism and ensures that there is no way of getting out of it while agreeing to the sceptic’s terms. The sceptical problem cannot, therefore, be answered ‘directly’. Rather, the assumptions that give (...)
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  7. Underdetermination and Closure: Thoughts on Two Sceptical Arguments.Martin Smith - forthcoming - In Matthew Jope & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), New Perspectives on Epistemic Closure. Routledge.
    In this paper, I offer reasons for thinking that two prominent sceptical arguments in the literature – the underdetermination-based sceptical argument and the closure-based sceptical argument – are less philosophically interesting than is commonly supposed. The underdetermination-based argument begs the question against a non-sceptic and can be dismissed with little fanfare. The closure-based argument, though perhaps not question-begging per se, does rest upon contentious assumptions that a non-sceptic is under no pressure to accept.
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  8. Closure, Deduction and Hinge Commitments.Xiaoxing Zhang - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Duncan Pritchard recently proposed a Wittgensteinian solution to closure-based skepticism. According to Wittgenstein, all epistemic systems assume certain truths. The notions that we are not disembodied brains, that the Earth has existed for a long time and that one’s name is such-and-such all function as “hinge commitments.” Pritchard views a hinge commitment as a positive propositional attitude that is not a belief. Because closure principles concern only knowledge-apt beliefs, they do not apply to hinge commitments. Thus, from the fact that (...)
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  9. On the Alleged Instability of Externalist Anti-Skepticism.Matthew Jope - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (1):43-50.
    A certain brand of skeptical argument appeals to the thought that our inability to subjectively discriminate between competing hypotheses means that we are unwarranted in believing in either. Externalists respond by pointing out that such arguments depend on an internalist conception of warrant that we would do well to reject. This strategy has been criticised by Crispin Wright who argues that if we pursue the implications of externalism sufficiently far we find that it is ultimately unstable or incoherent. I first (...)
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  10. Idealism and Illusions.Robert Smithson - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):137-151.
    According to the idealist, facts about phenomenal experience determine facts about the physical world. Any such view must account for illusions: cases where there is a discrepancy between the physical world and our experiences of it. In this paper, I critique some recent idealist treatments of illusions before presenting my own preferred account. I then argue that, initial impressions notwithstanding, it is actually the realist who has difficulties properly accounting for illusions.
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  11. We Can't Know.Markus Lammenranta - 2020 - In Steven Cowan (ed.), Problems in Epistemology and Metaphysics : An Introduction to Contemporary Debates. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 38-51.
    The paper defends Cartesian skepticism by an argument relying on internalism and infallibilism. It argues that this sort of skepticism gives the best explanation of our intuitions and ordinary epistemic practices.
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  12. The Brain in a Vat, Edited by Sanford C. Goldberg.Cameron Boult - 2019 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 9 (1):75-82.
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  13. There Are Actual Brains in Vats Now.Adam Michael Bricker - 2019 - Logos and Episteme 10 (2):135-145.
    There are brains in vats in the actual world. These “cerebral organoids” are roughly comparable to the brains of three-month-old foetuses, and conscious cerebral organoids seem only a matter of time. Philosophical interest in conscious cerebral organoids has thus far been limited to bioethics, and the purpose of this paper is to discuss cerebral organoids in an epistemological context. In doing so, I will argue that it is now clear that there are close possible worlds in which we are BIVs. (...)
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  14. My Ordinary Anti-Sceptical Beliefs Are Not Insensitive.Changsheng Lai - 2019 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 14 (3):469-489.
    An orthodox sceptical hypothesis claims that one’s belief that “I am not a brain-in-a-vat (BIV)” (or any other ordinary anti-sceptical belief) is insensitive. A form of sensitivity-based scepticism, can thus be constructed by combining this orthodox hypothesis with the sensitivity principle and the closure principle. Unlike traditional solutions to the sensitivity-based sceptical problem, this paper will propose a new solution—one which does not reject either closure or sensitivity. Instead, I argue that sceptics’ assumption that one’s ordinary anti-sceptical beliefs are insensitive (...)
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  15. What to Believe About Your Belief That You're in the Good Case.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 6:206-233.
    Going about our daily lives in an orderly manner requires us, once we are aware of them, to dismiss many metaphysical possibilities. We take it for granted that we are not brains in vats, or living in the Matrix, or in an extended dream. Call these things that we take for granted “anti-skeptical assumptions”. What should a reflective agent who believes these things think of these beliefs? For various reasons, it can seem that we do not have evidence for such (...)
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  16. Structuralism as a Response to Skepticism.David J. Chalmers - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (12):625-660.
    Cartesian arguments for global skepticism about the external world start from the premise that we cannot know that we are not in a Cartesian scenario such as an evil-demon scenario, and infer that because most of our empirical beliefs are false in such a scenario, these beliefs do not constitute knowledge. Veridicalist responses to global skepticism respond that arguments fail because in Cartesian scenarios, many or most of our empirical beliefs are true. Some veridicalist responses have been motivated using verificationism, (...)
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  17. The New Evil Demon and the Devil in the Details.Mikkel Gerken - 2018 - In Veli Mitova (ed.), The Factive Turn in Epistemology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 102-122.
    I will argue that cases of massive deception, such as New Evil Demon cases, as well as one-off cases of local deception present challenges to views according to which epistemic reasons, epistemic warrant, epistemic rationality or epistemic norms are factive. In doing so, I will argue is that proponents of a factive turn in epistemology should observe important distinctions between what are often simply referred to as ‘bad cases.’ Recognizing epistemologically significant differences between deception cases raises serious challenges for those (...)
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  18. Duncan Pritchard’s Epistemic Angst.John Greco - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (1):51-61.
    _ Source: _Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 51 - 61 _Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of our Believing_. By Duncan Pritchard. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2016. Pp. xv + 239. ISBN 978-0-691-16723-7.
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  19. I—How Both You and the Brain in a Vat Can Know Whether or Not You Are Envatted.Ofra Magidor - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):151-181.
    Epistemic externalism offers one of the most prominent responses to the sceptical challenge. Externalism has commonly been interpreted as postulating a crucial asymmetry between the actual-world agent and their brain-in-a-vat counterpart: while the actual agent is in a position to know she is not envatted, her biv counterpart is not in a position to know that she is envatted, or in other words, only the former is in a position to know whether or not she is envatted. In this paper, (...)
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  20. ‘This Is the Bad Case’: What Brains in Vats Can Know.Aidan McGlynn - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):183-205.
    The orthodox position in epistemology, for both externalists and internalists, is that a subject in a ‘bad case’—a sceptical scenario—is so epistemically badly off that they cannot know how badly off they are. Ofra Magidor contends that externalists should break ranks on this question, and that doing so is liberating when it comes time to confront a number of central issues in epistemology, including scepticism and the new evil demon problem for process reliabilism. In this reply, I will question whether (...)
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  21. Ignorance and Knowledge: The Viability of Externalist Neo-Mooreanism as a Resonse to Radical Scepticism.John Asquith - 2017 - Dissertation, King's College London
    Here, I shall be examining the viability of a Moorean response to the Argument from Ignorance; i.e., one that tries to rebut the argument by denying its first premise that we cannot have knowledge that we are not BIVs. After first explicating the Argument from Ignorance in detail, I then go on to try and motivate this approach by critically examining two alternative approaches to dealing with radical scepticism: closure-denial, and attributer contextualism. Finding them wanting, I then turn to a (...)
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  22. How to Undercut Radical Skepticism.Santiago Echeverri - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1299-1321.
    Radical skepticism relies on the hypothesis that one could be completely cut off from the external world. In this paper, I argue that this hypothesis can be rationally motivated by means of a conceivability argument. Subsequently, I submit that this conceivability argument does not furnish a good reason to believe that one could be completely cut off from the external world. To this end, I show that we cannot adequately conceive scenarios that verify the radical skeptical hypothesis. Attempts to do (...)
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  23. Disjuntivismo epistemológico e ceticismo radical.Breno Ricardo Guimarães Santos - 2017 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 62 (3):624-656.
    Epistemological disjunctivism is a philosophical theory that has received special attention in the recent years. Particularly because it has been seen by many as a way of renewing discussions that range from the nature of justification of our daily beliefs to the possibility of unveiling the structure of the problem of radical skepticism and of responding to it. Duncan Pritchard is one of the authors who have offered a particular view of disjunctivism and ways of conceiving of disjunctivist treatments to (...)
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  24. Perspectival Externalism Is the Antidote to Radical Skepticism.Lisa Miracchi - 2017 - Episteme 14 (3):363-379.
    ABSTRACTHilary Putnam provides an anti-skeptical argument motivated by semantic externalism. He argues that our best theorizing about what it takes to experience, think, and so on, entails that the world is much as we take it to be. This fact eliminates the possibility of radical skeptical scenarios, where from our perspective everything seems as it does in the actual case, but we are widely and systematically mistaken. I think that this approach is generally correct, and that it is the most (...)
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  25. Transcendental Arguments, Conceivability, and Global Vs. Local Skepticism.Moti Mizrahi - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (2):735-749.
    In this paper, I argue that, if transcendental arguments are to proceed from premises that are acceptable to the skeptic, the Transcendental Premise, according to which “X is a metaphysically necessary condition for the possibility of Y,” must be grounded in considerations of conceivability and possibility. More explicitly, the Transcendental Premise is based on what Szabó Gendler and Hawthorne call the “conceivability-possibility move.” This “inconceivability-impossibility” move, however, is a problematic argumentative move when advancing transcendental arguments for the following reasons. First, (...)
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  26. An Argument for External World Skepticism From the Appearance/Reality Distinction.Moti Mizrahi - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (4):368-383.
    In this paper, I argue that arguments from skeptical hypotheses for external world skepticism derive their support from a skeptical argument from the distinction between appearance and reality. This skeptical argument from the appearance/reality distinction gives the external world skeptic her conclusion without appealing to skeptical hypotheses and without assuming that knowledge is closed under known entailments. If this is correct, then this skeptical argument from the appearance/reality distinction poses a new skeptical challenge that cannot be resolved by denying skeptical (...)
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  27. Putnam on Brains-in-Vats and Radical Skepticism.Duncan Pritchard & Chris Ranalli - 2016 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Brain in a Vat. Cambridge University Press.
  28. Dreams in a Vat.Danilo Suster - 2016 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 12 (2):89-105.
    Putnam’s semantic argument against the BIV hypothesis and Sosa’s argument against dream skepticism based on the imagination model of dreaming share some important structural features. In both cases the skeptical option is supposed to be excluded because preconditions of its intelligibility are not fulfilled (affirmation and belief in the dream scenario, thought and reference in the BIV scenario). Putnam’s reasoning is usually interpreted differently, as a classic case of deception, but this feature is not essential. I propose to interpret BIV’s (...)
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  29. What It Means to Live in a Virtual World Generated by Our Brain.Jan Westerhoff - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):507-528.
    Recent discussions in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind have defended a theory according to which we live in a virtual world akin to a computer simulation, generated by our brain. It is argued that our brain creates a model world from a variety of stimuli; this model is perceived as if it was external and perception-independent, even though it is neither of the two. The view of the mind, brain, and world, entailed by this theory has some peculiar (...)
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  30. How You Know You Are Not a Brain in a Vat.Alexander Jackson - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2799-2822.
    A sensible epistemologist may not see how she could know that she is not a brain in a vat ; but she doesn’t panic. She sticks with her empirical beliefs, and as that requires, believes that she is not a BIV. (She does not inferentially base her belief that she is not a BIV on her empirical knowledge—she rejects that ‘Moorean’ response to skepticism.) Drawing on the psychological literature on metacognition, I describe a mechanism that’s plausibly responsible for a sensible (...)
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  31. The (Un)Holy Grail of Epistemology.Paweł J. Zięba - 2015 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 22 (1):21-33.
    As formulated by Duncan Pritchard and John McDowell, epistemological disjunctivism is the claim that perceptual experience can provide the subject with epistemic justification that is reflectively accessible and externally grounded at the same time. Pritchard calls this thesis ‘the holy grail of epistemology’, since it reconciles two traditionally rival theories of justification, namely epistemic internalism and epistemic externalism. The main objection against epistemological disjunctivism thus understood is that it does not do justice to the well-known internalist intuitions expressed in The (...)
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  32. The Limits of Realism, by Tim Button. 264 + Xi P., Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013. [REVIEW]Nathan Wildman - 2014 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 68 (3):433-37.
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  33. The Limits of Realism.Tim Button - 2013 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Tim Button explores the relationship between minds, words, and world. He argues that the two main strands of scepticism are deeply related and can be overcome, but that there is a limit to how much we can show. We must position ourselves somewhere between internal realism and external realism, and we cannot hope to say exactly where.
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  34. Challenging Closure: Is It A Way To Answer The Skeptic?Fred Dretske - 2013 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 19:61-68.
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  35. Sceptical Scenarios Are Not Error-Possibilities.Tim Kraft - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):59-72.
    On a common view of scenario-based sceptical arguments sceptical scenarios are error-possibilities, i.e. their point is to introduce the possibility of having only false beliefs. However, global error is impossible for purely logical/conceptual reasons: Even if one’s beliefs are consistent, the negations of one’s beliefs need not be consistent as well. My paper deals with the question of what the consequences of this result are. Two attempts at repairing scenario-based sceptical arguments within the framework of understanding sceptical scenarios as error-possibilities (...)
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  36. Could a Brain in a Vat Self‐Refer?Rory Madden - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):74-93.
    : Radical sceptical possibilities challenge the anti-realist view that truth consists in ideal rational acceptability. Putnam, as part of his defence of an anti-realist view, subjected the case of the brain in a vat to a semantic externalist treatment, which aimed to maintain the desired connection between truth and ideal rational acceptability. It is argued here that self-consciousness poses special problems for this externalist strategy. It is shown how, on a standard model of first-person reference, Putnam's brain in a vat (...)
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  37. New Terms of Envatment.Samuel Montplaisir - 2013 - Ithaque 12:77-87.
    The argument against skepticism relying on content externalism, which was made famous by Hilary Putnam, has been considered inconclusive by many philosophers. However, some believe that this argument has precluded the possibility of skeptical hypotheses. These hypotheses typically are fictional scenarios where a deceptive power makes your experiences indistinguishable from those you would have if you were not in such a scenario, making most of your justified belief false. Some philosophers, such as Anthony Brueckner and Jon Altschul, have taken this (...)
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  38. Debating Self-Knowledge.Anthony Brueckner & Gary Ebbs - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
    Language users ordinarily suppose that they know what thoughts their own utterances express. We can call this supposed knowledge minimal self-knowledge. But what does it come to? And do we actually have it? Anti-individualism implies that the thoughts which a person's utterances express are partly determined by facts about their social and physical environments. If anti-individualism is true, then there are some apparently coherent sceptical hypotheses that conflict with our supposition that we have minimal self-knowledge. In this book, Anthony Brueckner (...)
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  39. Escepticismo y Desacuerdo.Rodrigo Laera - 2012 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 16 (1):81-97.
    Within the framework of the epistemological debate on disagreement, this paper aims to examine the sceptical thesis that holds that, if it is impossible to rationally choose among two excluding positions, the only sensible or rational thing to do is to suspend judgement. The idea that ordinary life does not constitute the source of scepticism is presented, which rules out real disagreement between epistemic pairs as its foundation. Sceptical scenes differ ontologically from everyday scenes, without such ontological difference entailing an (...)
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  40. Reliabilism and Brains in Vats.Jon Altschul - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (3):257-272.
    According to epistemic internalism, the only facts that determine the justificational status of a belief are facts about the subject’s own mental states, like beliefs and experiences. Externalists instead hold that certain external facts, such as facts about the world or the reliability of a belief-producing mechanism, affect a belief’s justificational status. Some internalists argue that considerations about evil demon victims and brains in vats provide excellent reason to reject externalism: because these subjects are placed in epistemically unfavorable settings, externalism (...)
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  41. An Old Problem for the New Rationalism.Yuval Avnur - 2011 - Synthese 183 (2):175-185.
    A well known skeptical paradox rests on the claim that we lack warrant to believe that we are not brains in a vat. The argument for that claim is the apparent impossibility of any evidence or argument that we are not BIVs. Many contemporary philosophers resist this argument by insisting that we have a sort of warrant for believing that we are not BIVs that does not require having any evidence or argument. I call this view ‘New Rationalism’. I argue (...)
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  42. Debasing scepticism.A. Brueckner - 2011 - Analysis 71 (2):295-297.
    In this paper, I will clarify Jonathan Schaffer's; debasing scepticism, highlighting its logical structure. 1 In many current discussions of scepticism, its scope is limited to propositions about the external world which, if known at all, are known a posteriori. The standard sceptical set-up goes as follows. The sceptic specifies a sceptical hypothesis, or counterpossibility, that is incompatible with the external-world propositions that I claim to know. The hypothesis – e.g. that I am a brain in a vat – is (...)
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  43. The Skeptic's Dogmatism: A Constructive Response to the Skeptical Problem.Kaplan Levent Hasanoglu - 2011 - Dissertation,
    The problem of philosophical skepticism relates to the difficulty involved in underwriting the claim that we know anything of spatio-temporal reality. It is often claimed, in fact, that proper philosophical scrutiny reveals quite the opposite from what common sense suggests. Knowledge of external reality is thought to be even quite obviously denied to us as a result of the alleged fact that we all fail to know that certain skeptical scenarios do not obtain. A skeptical scenario is one in which (...)
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  44. Vats, Sets, and Tits.A. W. Moore - 2011 - In Joel Smith & Peter Sullivan (eds.), Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism. Oxford University Press. pp. 41--54.
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  45. Reality: A Very Short Introduction.Jan Westerhoff - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    Is matter real? Are persons real? Is time real? This Very Short Introduction discusses what, if anything, is "real" by looking at a variety of arguments from philosophy, physics, and cognitive science. The book shows that the question "what is real?" is not some esoteric puzzle that only philosophers ponder. Scientists also ask this question when they investigate whether candidates for the fundamental constituents of matter are actually "out there" or just a mere abstraction from a successful theory and cognitive (...)
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  46. Embodiment or Envatment? Reflections on the Bodily Basis of Consciousness.Diego Cosmelli & Evan Thompson - 2010 - In J. Stewart, O. Gapenne & E. Di Paolo (eds.), Enaction: Towards a New Paradigm for Cognitive Science. MIT Press.
    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 (...)
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  47. Putnamian Anti-Envattor Ver. 3.00: New Features – Same Results.Jonas Dagys - 2010 - Problemos 77:39-48.
    The paper is devoted to a discussion and critical evaluation of antisceptical arguments in epistemology that are based on causal theory of reference, with the special focus upon the revised version of the Hilary Putnam‘s Brain-in-a-Vat argument presented by Olaf Müller. Müller claims that his argument is based on the metaphysically neutral principles of semantic externalism and disquotation, however more thorough analysis of these principles and of the possibility to use them for antisceptical purposes reveals the flaw in his argument. (...)
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  48. A Butterfly Dream in a Brain in a Vat.Xiaoqiang Han - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (1):157-167.
    Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream story can be read as a skeptical response to the Cartesian Cogito, ergo sum solution, for it presents I exist as fundamentally unprovable, on the grounds that the notion about “I” that it is guaranteed to refer to something existing, which Descartes seems to assume, is unwarranted. The modern anti-skepticism of Hilary Putnam employs a different strategy, which seeks to derive the existence of the world not from some “indubitable” truth such as the existence of myself , (...)
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  49. Closure On Skepticism.Sherrilyn Roush - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (5):243-256.
    It is received wisdom that the skeptic has a devastating line of argument in the following. You probably think, he says, that you know that you have hands. But if you knew that you had hands, then you would also know that you were not a brain in a vat, a brain suspended in fluid with electrodes feeding you perfectly coordinated impressions that are generated by a supercomputer, of a world that looks and moves just like this one. You would (...)
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  50. How I Know I'm Not a Brain in a Vat.José L. Zalabardo - 2009 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 64:65-88.
    I use some ideas of Keith DeRose's to develop an (invariantist!) account of why sceptical reasoning doesn't show that I don't know that I'm not a brain in a vat. I argue that knowledge is subject to the risk-of-error constraint: a true belief won’t have the status of knowledge if there is a substantial risk of the belief being in error that hasn’t been brought under control. When a substantial risk of error is present (i.e. beliefs in propositions that are (...)
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