Monday, June 13, 2011

How the Experience Machine Works

How the Experience Machine Works:

Robert Nozick’s Experience Machine counterexample to hedonism is one of the most famous thought experiments in contemporary philosophy. It has convinced many that there is more to prudential value than the felt quality of our experiences. Yet it is often misunderstood, and too easily dismissed. Most recently, Felipe de Brigard’s ingenious experimental study, whose results he and others, including Josh Knobe, take to cast aspersions on the Experience Machine argument, is based on a misunderstanding of what is at stake in it, as I will argue below. The key points concern the structure of Nozick’s argument and the nature of the relevant comparison. (I’m afraid this’ll be rather long, but it does meet my criterion for a blog post, namely being written in the course of a day in a fit of inspiration.)


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