Does my total evidence support that I’m a Boltzmann Brain?

Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3717-3723 (2020)
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A Boltzmann Brain, haphazardly formed through the unlikely but still possible random assembly of physical particles, is a conscious brain having experiences just like an ordinary person. The skeptical possibility of being a Boltzmann Brain is an especially gripping one: scientific evidence suggests our actual universe’s full history may ultimately contain countless short-lived Boltzmann Brains with experiences just like yours or mine. I propose a solution to the skeptical challenge posed by these countless actual Boltzmann Brains. My key idea is roughly this: the skeptical argument that you’re one of the Boltzmann Brains requires you to make a statistical inference, but the Principle of Total Evidence blocks us from making the inference. I discuss how my solution contrasts with a recent suggestion, made by Sean Carroll and David Chalmers, for how to address the skeptical challenge posed by Boltzmann Brains. And I discuss how my solution handles certain relevant concerns about what to do when we have higher-order evidence indicating that our first-order evidence is misleading.
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Archival date: 2020-01-16
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