Direct realism and the brain-in-a-vat argument

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):397-413 (2000)
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The brain-in-a-vat argument for skepticism is best formulated, not using the closure principle, but using the “Preference Principle,” which states that in order to be justified in believing H on the basis of E, one must have grounds for preferring H over each alternative explanation of E. When the argument is formulated this way, Dretske’s and Klein’s responses to it fail. However, the strengthened argument can be refuted using a direct realist account of perception. For the direct realist, refuting the SIV scenario is not a precondition on knowledge of the external world, and only the direct realist can give a non-circular account of how we know we’re not brains in vats



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Michael Huemer
University of Colorado, Boulder

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The Puzzle of Metacoherence.Michael Huemer - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):1-21.
The virtues of epistemic conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2008 - Synthese 164 (2):185-200.

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