forum 4: week of 30 Jan: DeRose on skepticism

Fragment of a discussion from Course talk:Phil440A
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In the paper titled Solving the Skeptical Problem, Dr. Keith DeRose begins with a skeptical hypothesis, "I am a bodiless brain in a vat who has been electrochemically stimulated to have precisely those sensory experiences I've had, henceforth a 'BIV'". The concept of a brain in a vat as an example for philosophical discussion, is one that I have difficulty to relate to. If the subject could be one such as the living Dr. Stephen Hawking, I think I could relate better to Dr. DeRose's philosophical discussion on skepticism. I admire the quality of philosophical discussion Dr. Ludwig Wittgenstein achieves in section 243 if the Philosophical Investions "A human being can encourage himself, give himself orders, obey, blame and punish himself; he can ask himself a question and answer it. We could even imagine human beings who spoke only in monologue; who accompanied their activities by talking to themselves.—An explorer who watched them and listened to their talk might succeed in translating their language into ours. (This would enable him to predict these people's actions correctly, for he also hears them making resolutions and decisions.) But could we also imagine a language in which a person could write down or give vocal expression to his inner experiences—his feelings, moods, and the rest—for his private use?——Well, can't we do so in our ordinary language?—But that is not what I mean. The individual words of this language are to refer to what can only be known to the person speaking; to his immediate private sensations. So another person cannot understand the language." (PI §243)

07:16, 2 February 2012