Brains, vats and neurally-controlled animats.

Manson, Neil C. (2004) Brains, vats and neurally-controlled animats. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 35 (2). pp. 249-268. ISSN 1369-8486

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Abstract

The modern vat-brain debate is an epistemological one, and it focuses on the point of view a putatively deceived subject. Semantic externalists argue that we cannot coherently wonder whether we are brains in vats. This paper examines a new experimental paradigm for cognitive neuroscience � the neurally-controlled animat (NCA) paradigm � that seems to have a great deal in common with the vat-brain scenario. Neural cells are provided with a simulated body within an artificial world in order to study the brain both in vitro and in vivo. Given the similarity between the NCA scenario and the vat-brain scenario semantic externalism seems to undermine the utility of the NCA methodology. Three initial responses to the externalist challenge are offered. A fourth response clarifies the distinctive theoretical background to the NCA in �artificial life� and, in doing so, we uncover an anti-representationalist conception of the NCA. This distances the NCA paradigm from externalist objections and casts cognitive neuroscience, and the vat-brain debate, in a new light.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/libraryofcongress/b1
Subjects:
ID Code:
526
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
01 Jun 2007
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
01 Jan 2020 07:11