Robert Nozick's Experience Machine

1094 words 5 pages
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 …show more content…

There is a certain value in actually accomplishing a goal that has been set for yourself. We have free will, unlike in the experience machine. This free will allows us live in contact with reality and gain real life experiences by our choosing. This in turn, allows us to become the person that we want to be. Robert Nozick’s experience machine can be extremely tempting when taken at face value. It offers us false pleasure experiences that could possibly entice and excite many to consider plugging into this machine. However, we must not forget that having false good experiences is not worth throwing away a reality rich world—a world in which we have the free will to decide who we will become as a real person. One must never forget this value. This is a complicated matter but Nozick puts it well by saying, “We learn that something matters to us in addition to experience by imagining an experience machine and then realizing that we would not use it.” (Nozick 1974, 165) When pondering this concept longer, we realize that we actually want to do certain things and not just have the false experience of having done them. (Nozick ² 2010, 1) We come to realize that this experience machine, while being tempting, does not correspond with our values and desires. Losing our free will and all contact with reality is not more tempting than being the authors of our own lives.

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