Semantic self-knowledge and the vat argument

Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2289-2306 (2019)
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Abstract

Putnam’s vat argument is intended to show that I am not a permanently envatted brain. The argument holds promise as a response to vat scepticism, which depends on the claim that I do not know that I am not a permanently envatted brain. However, there is a widespread idea that the vat argument cannot fulfil this promise, because to employ the argument as a response to vat scepticism I would have to make assumptions about the content of the premises and/or conclusion of the argument that beg the question against the sceptic. In this paper, I show that this idea is mistaken.

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