5.05.2005

Nozick's experience machine

Robert Nozick, famous American philosopher and former Pellegrino professor of philosophy at Harvard University, is famous for many reasons, one of which is his “experience machine” thought experiment. It will probably strike a familiar cord. Imagine a very mature virtual reality machine. Mature in the sense that it is able to fulfill all of your basic needs as well as provide entertaining virtual experiences. One very interesting feature of this experience machine is that it causes you to completely forget that you are hooked up to a machine at all. In effect, you feel quite like you do right now (presumably)—completely normal. While hooked up to this experience machine, you feel as if you are actually living your life as you always have; walking around campus, having lunch with friends, and engaging in riveting philosophical debate with your colleagues. However, in reality you are immobile, hooked up to the experience machine. Putting aside the possibility that we are all already hooked up to such machines at this very moment (ignore the red pill), let us consider the positive and negative affects this may have on human beings.

We must know a little more about Nozick’s postulation first. Given that this machine is able to create a more pleasant atmosphere for human beings, it is able to increase overall happiness of people that plug into it. The obvious question then becomes should we plug in? Should we opt to escape from what we consider to be reality, and enter into a new, happier, virtual reality?

A utilitarian such as Mill or Bentham would be the first to say, “plug in!” Adhering to classical utilitarian principles, whatever action promotes the most amount of happiness is the action that we should follow. In this case it certainly seems that plugging in will yield the most happiness.

Should we object to this utilitarian decision? Why or why not?

If you have read A Brave New World then the question at hand is quite a familiar one. And the fact of the matter is, technology will probably—sooner rather than later—provide us with a chance to actually make this fascinating decision. What would you choose? What will you choose? Continued existence in what we refer to as “reality” or an altered state of virtual bliss?

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

plug me in man, plug me in

Eriatlov said...

Indeed it is a fascinating proposition, and not one that originated with Nozick. In fact, evidence of a similar situation can be seen all the way back in Plato's allegory, in which the masses live chained in a cave convinced that the only reality is a series of shadows playing on the wall in front of a fire (it's incredible how far ahead of his time Plato was in this regard). I am in full support of such an endeavor from an individual egoist perspective as well as a utilarian one (yes, I sympathized with Cypher in the Matrix). The burdens it could ease, with the possibility of goods that don't have to be manufactured, people who cannot get diseases driving cars that never crash on roads that never need to be maintained, is astounding. It does raise a question, however, on how far such a system should go to ease existence, and how far it should try to imitate some of the struggles of reality that perhaps are the key to our growth as individuals. Nietzsche for one strongly resents those who opt for an easy life, claiming that ultimate self-improvement can only come from confrontation and conquest. To those who would claim that such an endeavor would be "turning ones back to reality" or something similar, I would argue that we define our own reality through our experience, and there is nothing to stop the virtual world from becoming a new reality, even if is not strictly "true".

miro said...

thanx for visiting my blog and comments there...I find your blog very interesting and hope to come back again sometimes...

Laura said...

You commenting on my blog yesterday. I was just checking yours out. Very interesting. Are you a philosophy major? I will read more when I have more time. I was interested in the "why I am not a christian" link. I am a Christian, so this really caught my eye. I would like to know more about your philosophy. Thanks again for visiting my blog.

Albert L Berriz said...

Laura,

It is nice to see a Christian person enticed by the link "Why I Am Not a Christian" rather than turned off by it. If you have not read the article already, I would highly suggest it. Russell clearly and concisely explains the moral and theological problems with being a Christian. This article is a must read for all Christians and Atheists alike.

j00|{z said...

That would be so sad. There's probrably a chance we don't even exist. We're just all little ideas that became embodied and think we have lives. Cool.
Your blog is awesome.

Outlightened said...

The dilemma posed here is that of reality versus unreality. However, one must realize that nobody can fully and comprehensively perceive reality. What us humans see as reality is only our each individual perception of events happening around, and, therefore, everybody's reality is different. With this in mind, one then comes to a crossroads: since our reality is only perception, what is the difference of what it is that we are perceiving, essentially, if it is "real" or false. The easy answer is: if our minds accept a false reality and we are happy, then there is no reason to discard this happiness. On the contrary, another easy answer is: we have the right as human beings to experience true reality (whatever that is). A facet of this issue that often goes undiscussed is the importance of a real reality. If we lived in a false reality that was perfect in every way ("people who cannot get diseases driving cars that never crash on roads that never need to be maintained"), there would be nothing left up to chance, which I believe is what reality is. Chance holds such a strong bearing in our existance for a multitude of reasons. If no mistakes were made, significantly less would be learned. Natural disatsers could only be read about in textbooks at the most expensive Universities, which no one would have trouble paying for. Competition would be eliminated, and everyone would be equal. Eventually, or, arguably, immediately, everybody would be the same. Withh everyone being equal in every way, no one could learn from one another. There would be no room for expansion, growth, and intellectual stimulation. We would not be reading or posting on this blog right now out of lack of necessity. There would be no happy, and no sad. All perceptions would be bland and insipid, there would be no ups to appreciate because of the absence of downs. No yin and yang. There would be no balance, just tunnel-visioned, centered, median.

In respect to "The Matrix," this perfect false reality that was once offered to the world in the movie was rejected. Although this never happened, would it be rejected or accepted? To begin, lets consider the former. It would be rejected, ostensibly, because of the problems with perfection aforementioned. Humans own drive for growth and enlightenment caused a crash in the system. Now, the latter is difficult to discuss. Some people do not even accept the flawed reality we find ourselves in currently. Perhaps this lack of acceptance only leads humans to question and strive for knowledge.

Overall, reality is only what each of us make of it. Happiness is a feeling, regardless of how it is achieved. But is happiness real if the stimulus is not?

Anonymous said...

in that case, plug me in if unreality is more fun than reality

xanadian said...

Perhaps completely off-topic...

Every see the movie Brazil? If you have, you may remember the ending where the "hero" gets strapped to the chair, then is rescued and goes on a rampage. He finds his true love and they head off to some house away from the urbanized world he left behind.

Except it was all a deluion, created by the shock of his best friend getting ready to do his dirty work on him in that same chair.

Once upon a time, I kept a very detailed dream journal. This had a good aspect and a bad aspect. The good aspect is that it gave me insight to what was going on inside my mind. The bad side of it was I could no longer really be sure what it was I had dreamed or if I had experienced it in a wakeful state. It was a bit disturbing.

Anyway, thought I'd mention these two things, as this thread reminded me of them.

joel said...

If you are involved in Sales or Marketing in any way....Here are some "Mental Performance" statements AKA: Positive thinking affirmations....You can use and practice to put yourself in a comfortable frame of mind. before talking to your prospects....
boost self esteem
Self Improvement Services.

Ron said...

"Overall, reality is only what each of us make of it."

Is this true? My bank account balance isn't what I make of it in my mind but what is actually there. When it comes to deeper matters of religious belief this correspondence between the ideas in my mind and the way the world really is matters much more. Those who define happiness as only something to do with sensation will no doubt love this machine. However, those who believe that happiness is more than pleasure will find such a life intolerable.

Anonymous said...

Memory sure is becoming cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. I wonder when we will finally hit the ratio of 1c to 1 Gig.

I eagerly wait for the day when I will finally be able to afford a 20 TB harddrive, lol. But for now I will be satisfied with having a 16 gigabyte Micro SD Card in my R4i.

(Submitted on NetPostv2 for R4i Nintendo DS.)

Anonymous said...

Hey, just want to say hi. I'm new here.

Anonymous said...

Sweet web site, I had not come across freecognition.blogspot.com previously during my searches!
Carry on the excellent work!

Anonymous said...

I like your way of writing! You should post more often…


kupit' viagru deshevo

Anonymous said...

muspymnpseulp
[url=http://healthplusrx.com/irritable-bowel-syndrome]irritable bowel syndrome[/url]
vorFarypeerce

generic cialis 20mg said...

Hi, well be sensible, well-all described

inescapable bondage stories said...

I remember my eighteenth birthday prettywell the mayor and I had partied the whole night. Spending all those extra hours at work.
erotic masturbation audio stories
ganny beastiality stories
free malayalam hot sex stories
public lesbian sex stories
female dog sex stories
I remember my eighteenth birthday prettywell the mayor and I had partied the whole night. Spending all those extra hours at work.

rape victims stories said...

Right after dinner, his dinner. Call your LT and tellhim the Captain is off shift and Im running things, and Im detailing you tohold the boat.
young girl sex stories
illustrated sex stories
bdsm poems stories dominatrix
lesbian femdom stories
lesbian girls scout sex stories
Right after dinner, his dinner. Call your LT and tellhim the Captain is off shift and Im running things, and Im detailing you tohold the boat.

real life masturbation stories said...

Your babys a big pain in the ass. Sportacus smiled and replied Stephanie isnt a woman,she is a young girl.
beastiality hot sex stories
free adult stories read to you
black lesbian stories
xnxx stories cum shooting contest
hot sex stories women
Your babys a big pain in the ass. Sportacus smiled and replied Stephanie isnt a woman,she is a young girl.

Anonymous said...

A shared snare hosting military talents or essential hosting service or derive assemblage refers to a web hosting waiting where many websites reside on harmonious web server connected to the Internet. Each placement "sits" on its own break-up, or section/place on the server, to regard it discriminate from other sites. This is customarily the most close-fisted option notwithstanding hosting, as many people share the inclusive cost of server maintenance.
[url=http://hostinghouse.pl]hosting[/url]

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting to read about this in your article. blood pressure

Anonymous said...

This is good site to spent time on. allergy Read a useful article about tramadol tramadol

Anonymous said...

Hi all
I'm Mary, 25 years old :)
I am looking for good man. If he exists...
I'm love sport and... Hope you understand

[img]http://loveepicentre.com/uploades/photos/30375.jpg[/img]

www.blogger.com is very interesting forum for me, so I think we have the same hobbies
So lets chat...
My e-mail is marypopovaks@gmail.com, Skype *
Send me your foto!

__
Added later:

This photography is corrupted, sorry!

Oh, and all my photos here:
http://loveepicentre.com/user/Popova

Anonymous said...

[url=http://loveepicentre.com/success_stories.php][img]http://loveepicentre.com/uploades/photos/1.jpg[/img][/url]
radio-active isotope techniques sediment dating [url=http://loveepicentre.com/success_stories.php]dating direct louisiana[/url] free online dating for sacramento
russian dating in the usa [url=http://loveepicentre.com/]bbw speed dating in washington state[/url] dating taiwan
who is julie roberts dating [url=http://loveepicentre.com/articles.php]dating transsexual fega777[/url] dating furniture by casters

Anonymous said...

who is jim cary dating http://loveepicentre.com/map.php seattle speed dating

Anonymous said...

michael hall pdf ebook download http://audiobookscollection.co.uk/de/Embedded-Signal-Processing-with-the-Micro-Signal-Architecture/p196626/ get information for writing an ebook [url=http://audiobookscollection.co.uk/it/Electron-beams-and-microwave-vacuum-electronics/p102625/]stormreach ebook[/url] stephanie laurens ebook mastered by love

Anonymous said...

Take action by gathering iFeas From such places as magazine aFs, tv commercials anF searching For hot topics on the internet. Large companies spenF large sums oF money on print anF tv aFvertising. You may bet they know their target market. Overall you will neeF [url=http://www.germanylovelv.com/]louis vuitton knolckoffs[/url]
take a long-term view anF builF consistently, persistently over time anF also you will reap the rewarF. Once you have built your page rank it is possible to cut back or stop all oF your PPC aF[url=http://www.germanylovelv.com/]louis vuitton knolckoffs[/url]
Think like a manager anF entrepreneur here since a website is an investment that will proFuce a return on that investment iF you Fo it eFFectively over time plus pay you again when you oFFer it like a house is solF at a proFit..
Now, merely response the inquiries within a conversational way. Create the same way you converse. When you're perFormeF, merely be sure the spelling is accurate, anF you're establisheF.. Scare Tactic seven. Feliver an electronic mail which is both Far too enthusiastic, or too austere. People are Folks - anF i have encountereF personalities From both stops with the spectrum.
|

Anonymous said...

patient discharge instructions software http://buyoemsoftware.co.uk/es/ merit software online [url=http://buyoemsoftware.co.uk/it/product-37172/VeryPDF-HTML-Converter-2-0]garmin city software[/url] overture software
[url=http://buyoemsoftware.co.uk/es/home]Cheap Legal OEM Software, Software Sale, Download OEM[/url] what is instant messaging software
[url=http://buyoemsoftware.co.uk/it/product-35540/IFFmpeg-2-0-MacOSX][img]http://buyoem.co.uk/image/1.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

simple spreadsheet software http://buyoemsoftware.co.uk/de/category-100-107/Programmierung-and-Entwicklung?page=4 pace microtechnology dvr software code [url=http://buyoemsoftware.co.uk/fr/category-11/Outils-de-syst-me?page=3]bravo group wise software[/url] best software for web site design
[url=http://buyoemsoftware.co.uk/product-31543/Dare-To-Be-Creative-SlidePad-1-0-MAC]Dare To Be Creative SlidePad 1.0 MAC - Cheap Legal OEM Software, Software Sale, Download OEM[/url] best logo design software
[url=http://buyoemsoftware.co.uk/product-37233/Opell-Video-Converter-Pro-2-2-Portable][img]http://buyoem.co.uk/image/5.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

packaging affiliate software http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/de/product-11998/Windows-Vista-Ultimate-x86-SP1 orangeware camcorder software [url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/category-200-213/Music-Software]windows vista tune-up software[/url] surveillance software stock exchange
[url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/fr/product-25726/Adobe-Creative-Suite-4-Design-Premium]Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium - Cheap Legal OEM Software, Software Sale, Download OEM[/url] workflow automation software
[url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/es/news-37/Microsoft-Windows-7-SP1-Coming-in-early-2011][img]http://buyoem.co.uk/image/6.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

zune software display http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/product-12893/Abylon-SHREDDER-6-50 t mobile dash software [url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/de/category-100-111/System-Tools?page=2]book cover software[/url] adobe software nonprofits
[url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/information-5/User-Agreement]User Agreement - Software Store[/url] what about data recovery software
[url=http://buysoftwareonline.co.uk/fr/product-25907/Adobe-Web-Premium-CS4][img]http://buyoem.co.uk/image/6.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://onlinemedistore.com/products/astelin.htm][img]http://onlinemedistore.com/10.jpg[/img][/url]
ultram online pharmacys http://onlinemedistore.com/products/mentat.htm university of waterloo school of pharmacy [url=http://onlinemedistore.com/products/kamasutra-dotted-condoms.htm]pharmacy university in georgia[/url]
heb pharmacy san antonio http://onlinemedistore.com/products/metoclopramide.htm pain meds mexican pharmacy [url=http://onlinemedistore.com/products/femcare.htm]femcare[/url]
cvs pharmacy store locator http://onlinemedistore.com/catalogue/s.htm office of pharmacy affairs [url=http://onlinemedistore.com/products/copegus.htm]changing the world in the field of pharmacy[/url]
canadian onlne pharmacy http://onlinemedistore.com/products/neurontin.htm plan pharmacy network notice patients cms memorandum 60 days [url=http://onlinemedistore.com/products/estrace.htm]estrace[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://redbrickstore.co.uk/products/zerit.htm][img]http://onlinemedistore.com/9.jpg[/img][/url]
ability based outcomes pharmacy school http://redbrickstore.co.uk/products/cleocin-gel.htm walgreens pharmacy in chicago [url=http://redbrickstore.co.uk/products/ed-discount-pack-1.htm]online pharmacy prescription drug viagra[/url]
pharmacy health care site http://redbrickstore.co.uk/products/zelnorm.htm pharmacy tech highlands county [url=http://redbrickstore.co.uk/products/kamagra-oral-jelly.htm]kamagra oral jelly[/url]
australian community pharmacy authority http://redbrickstore.co.uk/products/cytotec.htm stroke and heart attack pharmacy [url=http://redbrickstore.co.uk/categories/healthy-bones.htm]pf pharmacy westerville[/url]
pharmacy technician jobs pharmaceutical companies http://redbrickstore.co.uk/products/lexapro.htm axiom healthcare pharmacy [url=http://redbrickstore.co.uk/products/atrovent.htm]atrovent[/url]

Anonymous said...

I've been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It�s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

My homepage facebook of sex

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte
more on this subject? I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thanks!

Also visit my website :: facebook of sex

Anonymous said...

Hey there, You've done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and in my view recommend to my friends. I am sure they'll be benefited
from this web site.

Feel free to visit my weblog italian dating

Anonymous said...

I�m impressed, I have to say. Actually not often do I encounter a blog that�s
both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you could have hit the nail on the head.
Your thought is outstanding; the issue is something that not
sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about.
I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing relating to this.


My web blog 4 dating

Anonymous said...

Nice blog right here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you
using? Can I am getting your associate link on your host?
I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

Also visit my web blog ... linkedout.co

Anonymous said...

I have figured out some considerations through your blog post.

One other point I would like to say is that there are plenty of games out there designed
specifically for preschool age young children. They involve pattern acknowledgement, colors,
animals, and forms. These typically focus on familiarization as opposed to memorization.

This keeps little ones occupied without experiencing like they
are studying. Thanks

Feel free to visit my web-site: bit-wiki.de

Anonymous said...

The very core of your writing while sounding agreeable in the beginning, did
not work perfectly with me personally after some time.
Someplace within the paragraphs you actually managed to
make me a believer unfortunately only for a very short while.

I nevertheless have a problem with your jumps in assumptions and one might
do well to fill in those gaps. If you actually can accomplish that, I would definitely be amazed.


Feel free to visit my web page: compassspace.com

Anonymous said...

Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has
some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick
heads up! Other then that, excellent blog!

my page adult finder

Anonymous said...

You made some nice points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found
most people will approve with your website.

Also visit my webpage facebook sex

Anonymous said...

http://www.maps.google.com/ - [url=http://www.wikipedia.org/]wiki[/url]
mail

silagra said...

Nice Post Love Reading Its

generic Viagra 100mg

kamagra 100mg

Josi Bunder said...

Best web hosting companies. Reviews, rates, statistics of top hosting companies.
Find best hosting company at HostingCompaniesz.com