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Book description

The scenario of the brain in a vat, first aired thirty-five years ago in Hilary Putnam's classic paper, has been deeply influential in philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, and metaphysics. This collection of new essays examines the scenario and its philosophical ramifications and applications, as well as the challenges which it has faced. The essays review historical applications of the brain-in-a-vat scenario and consider its impact on contemporary debates. They explore a diverse range of philosophical issues, from intentionality, external-world scepticism, and the nature of truth, to the extended mind hypothesis, reference magnetism, and new versions of realism. The volume will be a rich and valuable resource for advanced students in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of mind and language, as well as anyone interested in the relations between language, thought and the world.


'This important new book brings Putnam's famous brain-in-a-vat argument bang up to date. Cutting edge papers by some of today's leading philosophers show how the argument provides a powerful lens through which to examine central topics such as semantic externalism, self-knowledge, the nature of justification, and metaphysical realism.'

Åsa Wikforss - Stockholms Universitet

‘Hilary Putnam's thought experiments from the early ‘70s to the mid ‘80s provoked a flood of fascinating and first-rate philosophical discussions about the nature [of] meaning, thought, reference, truth, reality, skepticism, knowledge and relativism. With an impressive line-up of outstanding authors, Goldberg's The Brain in a Vat compiles, updates and significantly advances all of the central issues sparked by Putnam's brilliant thought experiments.'

Peter J. Graham - University of California, Riverside

'In sum, while its title may suggest a narrow focus, this book contains a remarkable amount of up-to-date material on a variety of live philosophical issues. And yet its starting point in Putnam’s reflections on the [brain in a vat] scenario provides a unifying thread. The volume will be of interest to students getting familiarized with metaphysical realism, philosophical naturalism, semantic externalism, and radical scepticism, as well as experts in these respective fields.'

Cameron Boult Source: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism

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