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An Examination of a Laboratory Variant of the BIV Scenario


Geller, Jaden Matthew (2017) An Examination of a Laboratory Variant of the BIV Scenario. Other, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9QC01HN.


[Introduction] In Meditation One, Descartes considers a scenario in which an "Evil Genius" manipulates his perceptions, rendering his senses unreliable. In essence, he asserts that he cannot know whether or not he is being deceived, so he cannot know that he accurately perceives reality. An extension of this sensory manipulation scenario is the "brains in a vat" (BIV) hypothesis, which proposes a world in which an individual's reality is a delusion. In this world, the individual is actually just a bodiless brain inside a vat of nutrients, and the brain is fed neural impulses by a supercomputer. The individual does not realize this peculiar reality, as it lives solely inside the construction of the computer, which receives and interprets neural outputs from the motor cortex and uses them to simulate a world that is fed back into the brain as artificial sensory stimuli.

Item Type:Thesis (Other)
Subject Keywords:Hixon Writing Prize
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Biology and Biological Engineering
Major Option:Biology
Awards:Alexander P. and Adelaide F. Hixon Prize for Writing, 2014
Thesis Availability:Restricted to Caltech community only
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Group:Hixon Writing Center, Alexander P. and Adelaide F. Hixon Prize for Writing
Thesis Committee:
  • None, None
Defense Date:2014
Additional Information:29 April 2014.
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04062016-141319569
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9655
Deposited By: Leslie Rico
Deposited On:04 Nov 2016 21:53
Last Modified:19 Jun 2017 23:55

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