What's It Like to Be a BIV? A Dialogue

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (4):734--756 (2015)
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Several subjects are fully convinced that they are brains in vats whose experiences are hallucinatory. They confront a ‘skeptic’ who raises the possibility that they are not brains in vats who lack and hallucinate hands but ‘brains in skulls’ who have hands and see them. Familiar responses to skepticism are offered in support of the claim that the subjects know they do not have hands. The philosophical significance of this looking-glass approach to skepticism is also discussed. It is suggested that these familiar responses to skepticism do not achieve anything because, if we begin from the assumption that we are brains in vats, we can employ those same responses to skepticism to support the claim that we know we do not have hands. One interlocutor argues that things are not so dismal. The main conversation is framed by a discussion among night watchmen at some sort of skepticism laboratory.



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Michael Veber
East Carolina University

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References found in this work

What is Justified Belief?Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
The Skeptic and the Dogmatist.James Pryor - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):517–549.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Solving the Skeptical Problem.Keith DeRose - 1995 - Philosophical Review 104 (1):1-52.

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