Mental Statism and the Experience Machine
Adam J. Kolber
Brooklyn Law School
Bard Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 3, pp. 10-17, Winter 1994/1995
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 08-082
According to Robert Nozick's famous "experience machine" argument, we would not choose to spend our lives with our brains connected to a machine that could deliver any set of experiences we desire. Because most of us would decline to live any variant of life in "The Matrix," so to speak, the thought experiment purportedly demonstrates that we value aspects of life other than just subjective experiences.
I argue that while most would not connect to the experience machine, many would not disconnect from it either if they were already connected. Unless we have a reason to privilege the views of those currently disconnected, Nozick fails to prove his broader point about the nature of value.
This article was published when I was an undergraduate. I am posting it now to SSRN because the topic has gained renewed interest among experimental philosophers and neuroethicists.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9
Keywords: Hedonism, Robert Nozick, Experience Machine, Utilitarianism, Axiology, Matrix
Date posted: January 3, 2009 ; Last revised: July 29, 2009