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Thread: Brain-in-a-vat argument v. Our universe is a simulation

  1. Top | #11
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Apparently the idea was that one needed a vat for a brain to provide necessary ingredients for the brain to function. Also makers apparently wanted us to consider a human brain disembodied. With those considerations it is obvious that the brain in a vat is unworkable since a brain without sensory or effector organs can neither sense or execute or, more simply, is just a piece of meat.
    The old movie Donavan's Brain. Brain in fluids in a glass container. Develops ability to control people.
    One verb for three sentences still isn't enough for anyone to actually understand what you are trying to say.

    You seriously need to get your verb:sentence ratio above unity.

  2. Top | #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Surely the brain in a vat is a special case - a proper subset - of the universe as simulation. It's the simplest such simulated universe, in which there is only one brain, and a bunch of simulated 'brain like' entities that act in a way that is minimally sufficient to give the impression of being intelligent agents, but for which we have no evidence that they are.

    The only difference in this simplest case is that the simulated universe may run on non-brain architecture, with the brain itself a part of the simulation. But as we have no access to any information that would let us determine the difference, that difference is meaningless.

    Similarly, the more complex scenarios in which a simulated universe simulates many brains, but each only has access to itself, is not meaningfully different for the thinker from the simpler scenarios.

    Or am I missing something?
    You're not missing the similarity between these two scenarios.

    However, and that was my point, these two things are very different.

    No one really ever claimed you had your brain in a vat. It is of course a possibility, but a very remote possibility and one which is never considered seriously. The scenario is a thought experiment. It is only used as an argument to help people understand the idea that if you have brain, you only ever get to be conscious of, and therefore to know, whatever impressions the brain makes up within itself, and thus, you don't know the physical universe that we are all very certain that it exists.

    Very different is the idea that we are, together with the entire world, part of a simulation. It is regarded by some people as probable. There is no argument there, just a metaphysical claim these people try to make credible. Whether the universe is a physical reality or a simulation, our epistemological relation to it is essentially the same.
    EB

  3. Top | #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speakpigeon View Post
    No one really ever claimed you had your brain in a vat.
    Actually, we all do. We just call the "vat" a "skull."

  4. Top | #14
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Apparently the idea was that one needed a vat for a brain to provide necessary ingredients for the brain to function. Also makers apparently wanted us to consider a human brain disembodied. With those considerations it is obvious that the brain in a vat is unworkable since a brain without sensory or effector organs can neither sense or execute or, more simply, is just a piece of meat.
    The old movie Donavan's Brain. Brain in fluids in a glass container. Develops ability to control people.
    One verb for three sentences still isn't enough for anyone to actually understand what you are trying to say.

    You seriously need to get your verb:sentence ratio above unity.
    Got his point across though.

  5. Top | #15
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    The point was the idea goes back at least to the 40s in scifi. Matrix was an updated'

    As Scarecrow said, some people without brains do an awful lot of talking don't they?

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...D8D2&FORM=VIRE

  6. Top | #16
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Yet we do experience the world through a brain generated simulation of the world.

  7. Top | #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Yet we do experience the world through a brain generated simulation of the world.
    I agree, but it is always semantics.

    The 'we' is a function of brain. Language is hopelessly self referential.

  8. Top | #18
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Yes. It's obvious that Shannon found communication must be self referential. Now that is a brane in a vat. Consider the ort.

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Yet we do experience the world through a brain generated simulation of the world.
    Metaphysical belief.

    If all you know is a simulated content, how could you possibly know anything about what does the simulation? How could you even possibly know it is something like a simulation? Even if it was written in the sky, in all the human languages on Earth, that "Hey, guys, LOL, it's a simulation!", we would still not know it's a simulation.
    EB

  10. Top | #20
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speakpigeon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Yet we do experience the world through a brain generated simulation of the world.
    Metaphysical belief.

    If all you know is a simulated content, how could you possibly know anything about what does the simulation? How could you even possibly know it is something like a simulation? Even if it was written in the sky, in all the human languages on Earth, that "Hey, guys, LOL, it's a simulation!", we would still not know it's a simulation.
    EB
    Rather than being a metaphysical belief our brain generated experience of the world and self is a fully testable neurological reality.

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