Saturday, June 26, 2004

On People Who Are Not So Sure They Are Not Brains In Vats

At "Certain Doubts," yet another philosophy weblog (these philosophy weblogs stick together, so if you ferrer out one, you ferret out dozens), there is an interesting post on the Brains-in-Vats argument I was so cynical about earlier. The claim is that the argument is worth study; after discussing how people respond to the argument, the author (Keith DeRose) concludes:

"All of this can lead one to think that AI really is a remarkable argument. Any argument whose weakest link is that intuitively powerful and yet has such an implausible conclusion is something of a wonder."

I remain unconvinced. There are lots of arguments that are intuitively powerful in the sense he describes with implausible conclusions; they are called sophisms. My position is as it was before: worth study in the way any philosophical argument might be, but not a wonder.

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