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View Poll Results: Are you a brain in a jar?
Yes I am, whats it to you? 6 35.29%
Nope, I'm something else. 11 64.71%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 06-26-2003, 08:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Are you a brain in a jar?

I noticed alot of the posts here were centered around questions surrounding religion. I'd like to shake it up a bit and post something thats kinda been on my mind lately.

Are you a brain in a jar? Its a simple question. The harder part is this, can you prove your response?

This is the basic philosophical question behind movies like the matrix and the 13th floor, ect. Which is why its been on my mind lately. Think about it? What is you were born and your body was totally useless, but your brain was fine. Who's to say that there isn't technology in the "real world" that lets doctors put your brain in a vatt of protienes and such and plug it into a computer. And what if this computer fed your brain all the impulses to simulate your sences(sight, hearing, tactile sensations, smell, taste). You could have spent all these years interacting with people and places that aren't real. Your first kiss, could have been just a computer controled impulse. You could be sitting in a lab right now, with electrodes in you sitting in a jar, living your life happily and totally oblivious to the truth.

I know this is kinda a cheesey question, but think about it. Do we have any proof that this isnt' the case? What the real question this raises is, can you trust your senses. Can you use them as proof. Is seeing really beleiving? Neurologists have stimilated various parts of patient's brains with electrodes while they were consious and they reported seeing lights, colours, ect. What do you think? Are you a brain is a jar?
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Old 06-26-2003, 09:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Damn is this a good philosophical question. However, my response is related back to good ol' religion, specifically Christianity, or anything which has no credible explanation yet is widely believed(such as free will). If you don't know if God(or in this case, you being a brain) exists or is real, and can never prove nor disprove this statement, then both sides are true(philosophically speaking). Like Schrodinger said in his Schrodinger's Cat paradox, if you can never find any evidence that something is either real or not real, then it is in a perpetual state of being both sides of the argument.

So, the moral of the story is, you can't really trust your senses, only your belief.

That's just my two cents, I'm sure it doesn't really make much sense, or is wrong.

Last edited by LDeer; 06-26-2003 at 09:20 PM..
 
Old 06-26-2003, 09:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I beleive this is a highly debated question, so I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. However, you've used two highly debated things as examples, both the existance of God and the Existance of free will. There are many theories both proving and disproving both of these things exhistance. However, it is true the idea of questioning reality is somewhat trivial at this point, because even if I am a brain in a jar, my beleiving it or not isn't going to change it. I guess an answer isn't really what is interesting as the reasons behind beleiving one way or another. If that makes any sence.
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Old 06-26-2003, 09:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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occam's razor....its a complex solution to a simple input, and is therefor not very likely. That said, its possible.
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Old 06-27-2003, 03:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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yes you are.

and there is also no you, no brain, and no jar.
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Old 06-27-2003, 03:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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where my senses have not legitimately told me,
my hormones have.

I'm definitely not just a brain, that would be easier.
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Old 06-27-2003, 06:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm not a brain in a jar. How can I prove this? I don't have to. It's obvious I'm not a brain in a jar. Or, as Heidegger would put it, I am always already within-the-world. My world is what is real to me in my facticity, or, in other words, the world is what it is for me. So, even if there are other beings who might perceive me as being a brain in a vat, my world is such that I am not a brain in a vat. I'm a student typing at a computer in east Germany.

To more, the (slightly) more interesting question is "How do I know I'm not dreaming?" That also seems easy to me. When I'm dreaming, to the extent I think about, I know I'm dreaming. So it's not hard to know I'm not dreaming, either.

Sorry to be somewhat dismissive. I do like the notion of actually talking about something other than religion on a philosophy board -- doesn't seem to happen too often.
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Old 06-27-2003, 10:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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There is absolutely no way to prove either way.

That being said: Does it matter? If I were to tell you that you are indeed a brain in a jar, would that make any difference to the way you live?
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Old 06-27-2003, 11:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by chavos
occam's razor....its a complex solution to a simple input, and is therefor not very likely. That said, its possible.
An important thing to note about occham's razor is that it does not tell us what is right and wrong per se, but rather what is or isn't a useful model.

For example, quantum theory tells us about things that classical mechanics cannot describe, but if you're playing golf, you don't have time to derive the golf ball in terms of individual quarks and leptons. Hence QM may be more 'true' or accurate, but CM is more useful.

That is to say, as CSflim says, that we may or may not be brains in jars, but until it makes a difference to our lives, it's easier to assume we're not.
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Old 06-27-2003, 06:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by asaris
I'm not a brain in a jar. How can I prove this? I don't have to. It's obvious I'm not a brain in a jar. Or, as Heidegger would put it, I am always already within-the-world. My world is what is real to me in my facticity, or, in other words, the world is what it is for me. So, even if there are other beings who might perceive me as being a brain in a vat, my world is such that I am not a brain in a vat. I'm a student typing at a computer in east Germany.

To more, the (slightly) more interesting question is "How do I know I'm not dreaming?" That also seems easy to me. When I'm dreaming, to the extent I think about, I know I'm dreaming. So it's not hard to know I'm not dreaming, either.

Sorry to be somewhat dismissive. I do like the notion of actually talking about something other than religion on a philosophy board -- doesn't seem to happen too often.
that would be the general idea of my answer too. Ill go find out about this Heidegger guy, and you read atlas shrugged. Meet back in a month.
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Old 06-28-2003, 01:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Read Atlas Shrugged about 10 years ago. I don't really think too highly of it.
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"The Germans believe that power must reveal itself in hardness and cruelty and then submit themselves gladly and with admiration[...]. They do not believe readily that there is power in meekness and calm."

-- Friedrich Nietzsche
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Old 06-28-2003, 09:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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to claim that it might be would be a appeal to ignorance. yes it's a remote possibility but until someone can provide some supporting evidence, I've got no reason to believe or abide by any of contraints that might result if my brain was, infact, in a jar.
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Old 07-01-2003, 06:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I am not a brain in a jar. I am the being who is monitoring all of your brains in jars.

A simplified response to this type of question (very simplified) is that is does not matter. Either you are a brain in a jar experiencing reality as you know it, and you will at some point experience that your brain is in a jar, or you won't. The analogy is the sleeping/waking question. Once you wake up, you know for sure you were asleep so the question is answered. If one were to never wake up then the entirety of their existence would be experienced asleep, and their complete reality would consist of the experiences therein, i.e. the fact that they are actually a brain in a jar has no effect on their experience of reality an a non-brain-jar-being.
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Old 07-01-2003, 07:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by LDeer
So, the moral of the story is, you can't really trust your senses, only your belief.
couldnt agree more
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