Friday, December 1, 2017

Because people value living their lives in contact with reality, and care about who they are and what they do (“authenticity”), they reject living in a machine of only pleasurable experiences, but can accept an experience pill or a pill that improves overall functioning

Nozick’s experience machine: An empirical study. Frank Hindriks & Igor Douven. Philosophical Psychology,

Abstract: Many philosophers deny that happiness can be equated with pleasurable experiences. Nozick introduced an experience machine thought experiment to support the idea that happiness requires pleasurable experiences that are “in contact with reality.” In this thought experiment, people can choose to plug into a machine that induces exclusively pleasurable experiences. We test Nozick’s hypothesis that people will reject this offer. We also contrast Nozick’s experience machine scenario with scenarios that are less artificial, and offer options which are less invasive or disruptive than being connected to a machine, specifically scenarios in which people are offered an experience pill or a pill that improves overall functioning.

Keywords: Experience machine, happiness, Nozick

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