Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Brains in a vat, philosophy: thought experiment of Hilary Putnam (in Reason, truth and history, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1981) in which brains are floating in a nutrient solution while the reality is simulated through electrical impulses. It is about the question whether we can be sure not to be in such a situation. See also skepticism, reference, knowledge, causal theory of knowledge.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Robert Nozick on Brains in a Vat - Dictionary of Arguments

II 175
Brains in a vat/BIV/Nozick: although the belief that he is in the vat is correctly caused, the person is not susceptible to this fact.
>Brains in vat/Putnam
, >Reference/Putnam, >Meaning.
Susceptibility would require covariance of belief and facts.
>Counterfactual Conditional: if the brains were not in the vat, they would not believe it.
II 210
Brains in a Vat/Nozick: we are not connected with the fact that we are not in the vat, even if we are not in the vat.
Cf. >nonfactualism, >Facts.
II 244
Brains in a vat/Skepticism/NozickVsSkepticism: Skepticism calls for something too strong: there is supposed to be a q ("We are in a vat"), such that it is incompatible with any p.
In contrast, the weaker is true: for each p there is something that is incompatible with it. - (Quantifiers interchanged).

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

No I
R. Nozick
Philosophical Explanations Oxford 1981

R., Nozick
The Nature of Rationality 1994

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2024-02-27
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