Putnamian Anti-Envattor ver. 3.00: New Features – Same Results

Problemos 77:39-48 (2010)

Jonas Dagys
Vilnius University
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. It seems that Müller reaches his conclusion by confusing the syntactically identical, though semantically distinct utterances in BIV language, non-BIV language, and metalanguage. The reconstruction and analysis of Müller‘s argument shows that his argument, provided that its premises are formulated carefully so as not to beg the question against the sceptic, fails to establish anything more than the original version provided by Putnam.Keywords: scepticism, Olaf Müller, semantic externalism, disquotation, brain-in-a-Vat.
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