Robert Nozick's Experience Machine

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  • Topic: Robert Nozick, The Experience Machine, Knowledge
  • Pages : 3 (1087 words )
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  • Published : March 29, 2010
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Good experiences are something that we spend our life constantly striving to obtain. Once we gain these good experiences, we look for the next opportunity in order to gain that same great feeling that we had in our last experience. What if someone told you that there was a way to have these good experiences all the time? You could quite literally plug yourself into a machine that would give you the great experiences that you have been searching for your whole life. The best part is that, once you have decided to plug yourself into this machine, you would feel and think that these false experiences you are having are real. Robert Nozick proposes this very scenario in his book Anarchy State, and Utopia. This scenario is known as “the experience machine”. (Nozick 1974, 165) Sounds great, doesn’t it? I would beg to differ. Is pleasure really the only thing that we spend our life searching for? I would argue that there are far many other important values other than pure pleasure; that is why I would not plug into the experience machine.

While Nozick’s scenario may seem very tempting, there are several key elements to consider before making a decision to enter this experience machine. Does entering this experience machine correspond with one’s set of values? I would say that there are far more important things than just pleasure. It is fair to say that actually doing certain things, and not just simply having the experience of them is a good core value. We want to actually in our real world accomplish our own goals. Attaining these goals are what many people live their lives for. Aristotle claims, “Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.” (Aristotle, 163) Perhaps this is what we desire; to live our lives striving to achieve our goals. Whether all of our experiences are 100% pleasurable does not matter. As long as we know that we are actually living our own lives.

Clearly, there is opposition to my...
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