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Article
How You Know You are Not a Brain In a Vat
Philosophical Studies
  • Alexander Jackson, Boise State University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
10-1-2015
Disciplines
Abstract
A sensible epistemologist may not see how she could know that she is not a Brain In a Vat (BIV); 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 epistemologist coming to believe she is not a BIV. I propose she thereby knows that she is not a BIV. The particular belief-forming mechanism employed explains why she overlooks this account of how she knows she is not a BIV, making it seem that there is no way for her to know it. I argue this proposal satisfactorily resolves the skeptical puzzle.
Copyright Statement

This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Philosophical Studies, published by Springer. Copyright restrictions may apply. The final publication is available at doi: 10.1007/s11098-015-0445-x

Citation Information
Alexander Jackson. "How You Know You are Not a Brain In a Vat" Philosophical Studies (2015)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alexander_jackson/20/