The Brain in a Vat thought experiment is basically like an update to Rene Descartes evil demon problem credited to Hilary Putnam is. The example is a supposition that a say mad scientist has removed your brain placing it into a vat in conditions that keep it alive and functioning. This scientist has also made your brain in such a way that it is connected to a powerful computer, responsible for sending neurological signals to the brain in such a way in which the brain usually receives those signals. Hence, the computer has been made able to send your brain information in order to fool you into the belief that you are still moving around in your body. This paper will look at the association between Brain in a vat and the movie Now You See Me where for the purposes of better understanding where I mention Simulated I am referring to Brain in a vat and by illusion am referring to the concept in the movie Now You See Me.
Considerations: Movie Now You See Me
The movie starts by introducing the four main characters who are magicians: -
A cocky street magician (Jesse Eisenberg)
His former assistant (Isla Fisher)
A once-famous mentalist (Woody Harrelson)
and a sleight-of-hand artist (Dave Franco , brother of James) who moonlights as a pickpocket.
A hoodie-wearing stranger approaches them and makes them a deal of their life, an opportunity which they could not pass. That is the opportunity of performing on a global scale. A year later they are in Las Vegas performing with the stage name the four horse men. Their best illusion which is perhaps the most they perform to a random audience where one of them appears to have been teleported into the bank vault.
Now, here we can consider a skeptic argument of 'Brain in a vat,' in the movies Now You See Me which is a science fiction movie so created through a scientific technique. This movie is a classical example of how our brains work and can be tricked. It can be likened to Brain in a Vat in many aspects. The first one is where the four horsemen are being kind of controlled and guided by a superior being that is the man in the hood who approached them and seems to know each and every move they make. Then the four horsemen as stated all have their unique skills and abilities to tap into the minds of people and trick them. They have the powers that can be likened to Brain in a Vat.
The main characters here are like the mad scientist where their audiences, the authorities can be likened to brains in a vat, that they are all 'being fed with ideas and information though not through electrical impulses by computers but through autosuggestions, hypnosis hence creating impulses which in turn alter the states of their perception of things around them hence creating pseudo-experiences, as well as beliefs.' By the audiences and the others being duped regarding that this assumption is true, it means that the hypothesis of 'Brain in a Vat' in prospect comes to the illusion of experience that we are performing an action as well as having some beliefs which in reality are being imposed by the scientist.
In watching this film, the director has used this hypothesis and we see that you ought to not always rely on the things you believe to be experiencing as knowledge. For instance, if you say that you have a thumb, but actually you are a brain in a vat then you are right. However, the thing that you are actually making a reference to is not exactly your real thumb but your virtual thumb. The proposition which that you will have stated is true in the logic that it is a short-hand for what is actually epistemically there.
A brain in a vat hypothesis and the movie Now You See Me association can however critiqued that it ignores the problem of skepticism because it merely states that something that is potentially false will count as true for an apparent pragmatic purpose and that it basically condemns the assigning of truth values to statements with regards to things which may not be inside of the epistemically available world.
In my opinion, the best interpretation to ontological uncertainty as we see in this movie is to ceaselessly try to live in such a way that has to mean notwithstanding the true nature of reality itself. Even though it may not seem plausible, it may be less so than it looks like. Put the following into consideration in the tricks performed by the four horsemen the audience do not have the knowledge of how the illusions and tricks operate, they don't have the knowledge of its fate, they don't have any certain knowledge of their own interpretation, if something like this actually exists, and they don't know whether or not if their own personal lives could be subjected to such immense scale of illusion like the character played by Morgan who fell victim as a result of unforeseeable and uncontrollable circumstances which he thought he could control. All those things that were happening to them were true in one way or the other depending on the dimension one is viewing them from. Since the quest for meaning is hardly any more difficult in the case where material reality is actually an illusion. In fact, it may actually be considered a lot easier, because of the fact that there are some common options in pursuit of material wealth, for instance, that the end revelation would show to be dead ends.
In this movie Now You See Me we need to note the important distinction between reality being a simulation/illusion and brain-in-a-vat,.' In the former ('reality being a simulation/illusion') one's brain is under a simulation/illusion, whereas in the latter (Now You See Me) the audiences brain is subjected to illusion whereby it is only one's experience which is actually simulated/illusion. As a result of this "pairing" of two realities, I am of the belief that Now You See Me much like brain-in-a-vat presents a wide scope of opportunities for the discovering of the distinction between simulation/illusion and reality.
However, we first have to ask the following questions:-
How different is the "real" reality from the simulated/illusion one? (maybe just maybe entities arising from the "real" reality are actually not human. Probably there is a chance that they are advanced beings trying to get and understanding of simpler life forms or vastly)
What is the purpose of my brain being in the vat? (in the case of this movie Now You See Me is it for purposes of entertainment and in one instance Tim travel which was also part of the illusion)
Are other people also in this simulation/illusion and to what degree? Morgan Freeman is in the illusion that he is unraveling the truth but Mark Ruffullo the police detective who was behind all this outsmarts every one even the viewers of the movie .
In my opinion as with many others before me that the easiest way to make a determination that you is actually a brain in a vat is to "come back" into the real world. Almost like dying while in the simulation/illusion, the best bet at making this possible is to actually come up with a way that you can force the simulation/illusion to do the bulk of the work, this can be done through the use of a lot of processor power, which is likely to irritate your captors sufficiently to get you out.
on the other hand, one might pose the argument that those who have "transcended" or "ascended" which is possible by meditating can find the secret to escaping this existence. There is a possibility that when one stops paying attention to their own senses that it will be possible to start to comprehend the vat one is in or maybe it is necessary to disconnect oneself from their senses so as to be safely disconnected from the simulation. In the event that one is actually under the illusion of the Four Horsemen, then ones brain which is under illusion at times will seem to be in contradiction with the laws of physics like the tricks that are being performed by the magicians.
Another question is: if one is actually a brain in a vat, can one in theory actually be able to experience the real world? This is true as we see in this movie Now You See Me because if the purpose for the existence of the illusions is to feed the senses of the audiences with an artificial world, then it should be even easier for one to feed their senses with data from a gadget e.g. microphone, microchip or even hypnosis as we see the hypnotist do in the movie and of course, one can be told that he/she is visiting the real world but in reality one is in another illusion. But that is not the point. If the real world is completely different from a simulated /illusion world (for instance say it's four dimensional, and having neither light nor sound, while objects are able to overlap), serious challenges might occur when it comes to interfacing it with a brain that especially meant for our world. However, putting into consideration that we are able to use infra-red goggles in order to sense a kind of unfamiliar world. In the event one is slowly introduced to a mysterious universe perhaps one can actually be able to adapt.
In conclusion, this movie Now You See Me is a classical example that best illustrates the concept of brain in a vat and gives us the impression that we might actually be living an illusion that the universe is nothing but just an illusion; it is not possible to tell who is controlling it or why, in this movie we are confused between the four horsemen or the power behind them which we come to later on see that it was the agent acted by Mark Ruffalo who was behind it all. At the end of it all, Now You See Me and Brain in a Vat teach us that there is still no way that one can be completely sure of anything.
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