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brains in a vat

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posted on May, 27 2004 @ 08:38 PM
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Just came across a very interesting book-Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. He poses a very interesting and somewhat disturbing question- how do we know for sure that we are not just brains in a vat as part of a scientific experiment?




posted on May, 27 2004 @ 08:41 PM
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Um, could you elaborate further? I don't really see what your getting at.



posted on May, 27 2004 @ 09:18 PM
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Basicaly, Descartes posed the question that all our life, beliefs and emotions could be false. Electro-magnetic pulses sent to the brain as part of a scientific experiment. He claimed that one could not be 100% certain that we have a physical form and we are not just a brain experiencing emotions.

For example, how do we feel pain- the brain tells us so. Signals are sent to the brain, which in turn translates them into our notion of pain.



posted on May, 27 2004 @ 09:21 PM
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You are

Didn't you see The Matrix?


Originally posted by gvret
how do we know for sure that we are not just brains in a vat as part of a scientific experiment?



posted on May, 27 2004 @ 09:27 PM
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I did. Descartes was a philosopher around 1640 AD.



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 01:49 AM
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I suppose there really is no way to determine that, is there?

I also saw The Matrix. Mabey this is what the Wachowski brothers based their movie on.

[Edited on 28/5/04 by Sterling46]



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 02:09 AM
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Right now, I feel as though my brain is, in fact, suspended in a vat of some glutinous fluid, this vat being my skull and this fluid being a rather large quantity of mucus.

And, just a while ago, I took the red pill... the bottle said "Ibuprofen", but can we really be sure of anything, any more?

How deep does the rabbit hole go, Xenographer?


[Edited on 5-28-2004 by Xenographer]



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 02:43 AM
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You're absolutely correct, there's no way we could actually determine whether or not our bodies actually exist (for that matter, we can't determine if anything truly exists) - all we know for certain is that our minds exist (Cogito, ergo sum) . Many of the great philosophers have pondered this.

Plato considered a twist on it in Republic: he invented a cave, where people are bound from birth. Their keepers project shadows on the wall in front of them, basically controlling what they see. Of course, they know no other existence, so they have no reason to question what is happening. They eventually are released by some stranger, but not without a bit of a struggle. (This was probably the Wachowski brothers inspiration for The Matrix.

One philospher (I don't recall who at the moment) actually proposed that everything our senses produce are illusions, and should not be trusted. I'll dig through my books and see if I can find this.

The question is, does it really matter? For arguments sake, let's assume that someone could prove that our universe is an illusion. Would you change your life in any way? Would this revelation cause you to lose interest in life? Probably not.

[Edited on 5/28/2004 by PurdueNuc]



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 03:03 AM
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excellent question, purdueNuc. i think that if i were to find out that everything is an illusion, i would look at things differently and go about my life a whole lot different; it would be an avantage as to how to live - maybe not everyone could handle the truth, if there is a hidden one though...



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 03:08 AM
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Originally posted by PurdueNuc
You're absolutely correct, there's no way we could actually determine whether or not our bodies actually exist (for that matter, we can't determine if anything truly exists) - all we know for certain is that our minds exist (Cogito, ergo sum) . Many of the great philosophers have pondered this.


Technically incorrect, sorry...
The Cogito Ergo Sum says, when not literally translated, that we only exist when we are actively thinking
There is no proof for existance in the past
(By 'we', I mean one's own mind)
Descarte does dismiss this total scepticism however, He has a wide range of arguments to support him,
1) If we are to say all things we know are false, then we must have something to compare it against (This is commonly called the coin argument -- If all coins are forgeries, where is the reality they are based upon)
2) Descartes believed in a 'Supreme and Infinite Being', and he said that this supreme and infinite being would not deceive us, nor would he allow us to be actively deceived by another being.... The only thing that deceives us is our own perceptions, when they are not clear and distinct.

The Brain-in-vat idea is an interesting theory, but it is no longer seriously considered



posted on May, 28 2004 @ 07:12 AM
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that's a lot of brains il a lot of vats!!!



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