Vats, Sets, and Tits *

A. W. Moore

in Transcendental Philosophy and Naturalism

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608553
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729645 | DOI:
 						Vats, Sets, and Tits 							*

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This essay begins with Hilary Putnam’s celebrated argument that we could not be brains in vats, which, if it is successful, rebuts an extreme philosophical scepticism. The bulk of the essay is concerned to show that there is a route from this argument to a radical version of transcendental idealism, whereby we have an inexpressible insight into the possibility that none of our thinking concerns things in themselves. It traces this route by exploiting a remark that Putnam himself makes, in the course of his argument, about its connection with the Skolem-Löwenheim Theorem. But it leaves us free to resist travelling along the route. Towards the end of the essay there are some comments about why, if we find Putnam’s argument attractive, that is what we should do, since there is good reason not to find the destination of the route attractive.

Keywords: Brains in vats; Putnam; Scepticism; Skolem-Löwenheim Theorem; Things in themselves; Transcendental idealism

Chapter.  5791 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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