Essay on Robert Nozick's Experience Machine

1074 Words Mar 20th, 2010 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…
Unger mentions the tendency for us to buy life insurance as a claim that good experiences are not the only thing that matter to us. We do not get good experiences for paying our life insurance. In fact, we will never experience anything that happens to this money. We do this so that our dependents will benefit from this money. With all this said, we are still very rational in buying this life insurance. (Unger 1990, 166) Therefore, we should value our capacity to make free decisions in the real world over just having good experiences. The life insurance example, that Unger mentions, is a perfect example as to why there are things that matter to us besides pleasure. Nozick sums this up by saying, “Perhaps what we desire is to live as ourselves, in contact with reality.” (Nozick² 2010, 1) One can interpret Nozick’s statement by his insinuation that gaining pure pleasurable experiences are not as valuable as knowing that we are living in contact with reality. We should cherish and desire our lives in our realistic world; false pleasure experiences have no real value. In our lives, we want to BE certain people—to plug in to an experience machine is to commit a form of suicide. (Nozick² 2010, 1) Plugging into an experience in order for you to merely experience false happenings would be lying to
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