4th essay - Introduction to Philosophy 4th Short Paper...

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Introduction to Philosophy 4 th Short Paper 12/3/07 In this paper, I am going to explain what the brain-in-a-vat hypothesis is and why it is an epistemological problem. Then I will explain Putnam’s theory of reference and why that theory shows that whenever someone thinks “I am a brain-in-a-vat” it must be false. I will conclude this paper by explaining why I think that Putnam’s argument doesn’t offer a good reason not to believe I am a brain-in-a-vat. The brain-in-a-vat hypothesis is that there is a brain sitting in a vat filled with liquid that can sustain the life of the brain which is attached to neurons that is attached to a machine which gives the brain electrical impulses like it would in the body. The computer tells the brain “I’m outside” and the brain believes it when actually it is not. The computer can tell the brain anything that it wants and puts the brain in a matrix, or virtual reality, where it is having normal conscious experiences that are not related to the real world. The problem with this hypothesis is that you cannot know whether you are a brain-in-a-vat if it is impossible to tell the difference between the real world and the matrix. Putnam’s theory of reference makes it such that one’s belief that “I’m a brain-in-a-vat”
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This note was uploaded on 03/26/2008 for the course PHIL 26:061 taught by Professor Depoe during the Fall '07 term at University of Iowa.

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4th essay - Introduction to Philosophy 4th Short Paper...

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