The Allegory Of The Cave And Descartes ' Theory Of Existence And Reality

The Allegory Of The Cave And Descartes ' Theory Of Existence And Reality

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Just as Plato and, later, Descartes pondered the idea of existence and reality, Putnam in the early 80’s questioned the argument made by global skeptics that the beliefs- no matter how well justified they are- held by an individual might well be false if the world in which he lives is a simulated world. Hilary Putnam argued that it is not possible for that individual to be a brain in a vat using a series of premises – causal constraints - that led to the conclusion previously stated.
In Putnam’s thought experiment, and The Matrix (1999), there are several similarities, and also differences, with Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” and Descartes’ “MEDITATION I OF THE THINGS OF WHICH WE MAY DOUBT”. Firstly, the argument Putnam makes can be considered a variant of Descartes’ argument on “MEDITATION I OF THE THINGS OF WHICH WE MAY DOUBT” in which Descartes plays with the possibility of being controlled by an evil demon who deceives him constantly. In the televised version of Putnam’s experiment, The Matrix, this matrix, which acts as Descartes’ demon, controls the brains of a great majority of the human race and creates a reality in which all of these thought-beings exist. Now, a point of departure from Descartes’ meditation is the belief held by the insurgent group that the world is an illusion created to control the brains producing these thought- beings. Descartes, contrary to the characters portrayed in this movie, does not consider the purpose for the demon’s deceit to be a desire for control; instead, he states that this malignant being deceives him because it desires to do so. Secondly, in Plato’s allegory the prisoners claim to have knowledge of the real world when, indeed, their knowledge of reality is not coherent with rea...


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...eceived one constantly, one can assume that such belief in said demon is also false because a constant deceiver cannot enlighten.
1. I am a brain in a vat
2. Truth corresponds with reality
3. Therefore, if I am a brain in a vat, I am experiencing reality
However, I am not a brain in a vat. I am a sentient and sapient being. Then, the argument follows:
4. The world I experience is not real
5. I am a brain in a vat
6. Therefore, if the world I experience is not real, I am not a brain in a vat.
Finally, if the world that one experiences is not real, the knowledge that one currently has about oneself could not be true. But, as it was said before, in order to say “I see a tree” one must have true knowledge of the object itself, and this knowledge must correspond with reality. Therefore, the truth is that I am a sapient and sentient being and this corresponds with reality.

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