Summary of Nozick’s “The Experience Machine”
There is a lot more to life than pleasure. We need to experience all kinds of feelings in order to be defined as a human being. Nozick rejects hedonism, and his claim is that there is more to faring well than simply how our lives feel from the inside.
However, we doubt that a scenario featuring a stranger can capture a concern for authenticity. Authenticity, it seems to us, is primarily a first-person concern. A second source of inspiration for our study consists in a wide range of valence asymmetries discovered in experimental philosophy.As it turns out, the way in which people apply apparently non-normative notions such as intentional action, freedom, and happiness is sensitive to normative factors. In particular, they turn out to be sensitive to whether or not the situation experienced or affected is good or bad. For instance, Joshua Knobe (2003) finds that people qualify the behavior of the chairman of a company whose business strategy happens to affect the environment as unintentional when this effect is beneficial, and as intentional when it is harmful.
Nozick clearly demonstrates to us that it is important to live in a life that we believe in; that which has reality and truth in it. This will allow us to appreciate our differences and uniqueness than use of methods that will escape us from reality.
Weijers, D. (2014). Nozick’s experience machine is dead, long live the experience machine!. Philosophical Psychology, 27(4), 513–535
Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, state, and utopia. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Phillips, J., Misenheimer, L., & Knobe, J. (2011). The ordinary concept of happiness (and others like it). Emotion Review, 3, 320–322.
Sumner, L. W. (1992). Welfare, happiness, and pleasure. Utilitas, 4(02), 199–223.