When you touch a body like a pen from close, the feeling you perceive is due to the connection of the hand with the pen, and you find that particular feeling in your mind, and it is not as if the pen sinks into your mind! This process happens when you taste, see, hear and smell too, and it is the tastes, the sights, the sounds, and the smells that come to your mind, not the objects that produce them!
If you are careful, you can imagine the sights, smells, or sounds without objects. Or conversely, we may suffer from sensory errors. Like when we see a piece of wood in the pool, broken! Anyone who does not know the law of refraction of light thinks that wood has broken. There are many other sensory errors that you can see in the given link. So what we feel or perceive is not outside the mind necessarily. The «brain in a vat» test originated from this simple but fascinating point.
This issue was preoccupied Descartes, the French philosopher of the 16 century. Descartes even doubted his existence. Of course, for someone who thinks this doubt is not funny. If we think well, we understand that our communication with foreign objects is through images, concepts, and emotions.
These create in our minds and within us, and we do not have direct access to foreign objects. So how can we be sure of the existence of things outside of the mind and even ourselves?
The “brain in a vat” is a famous thought experiment has mentioned by Hillary Putnam, the contemporary American philosopher. Who has addressed Descartes’ concern in his theory of the “deceitful devil.”
The present animation explains this thought experiment well and points to Descartes’ solution to prove his existence. Interestingly, this topic is still the subject of fascinating discussions in philosophy, neuroscience, and the relationship between mind and body. Although several centuries have passed since that topic, its research has developed that can guide us to other communications between mind and body.
From the ninth year of schooling, all students usually become familiar with the subject of the cartesian coordinate system. Furthermore, students who are schooling in the human sciences field in the eleventh year are also accustomed to Descartes’ ideas. This group of students can perceive Descartes’s topics by watching this animation.
In the following, you can watch this animation, directed by Mr. Nino Kristen.