Robert Nozick 's ' Anarchy, State, And Utopia ' Essay

1990 Words Sep 27th, 2015 8 Pages
In his 1974 book ‘Anarchy, State, and Utopia’, Nozick proposes a famous thought experiment known as the ‘Experience Machine’. This hypothetical machine aims to argue against moral hedonism by proposing that there are more intrinsically important elements to one 's existence than pleasure, namely experience. This essay aims to firstly outline Nozick’s argument, illustrate how it can be seen as a counter-argument to hedonism and finally provide a critique of the conditions of the argument.
Nozick introduces his readers to the ‘Experience Machine’ by describing the elements such a machine that could “stimulate your brain so that you would think and feel you were writing a great novel, or making a friend, or reading an interesting book” (292). Nozick also believes that if pleasure were the only intrinsic value, people would have an overriding reason to be hooked up to an "experience machine," which would produce favourable sensations. However, we can imagine this is not the case. There are multiple concerns that people can have when proposed with the idea of the experience machine. This indicates that authenticity and experience are more valuable to some than pleasure, and therefore pleasure cannot be the most important intrinsic good. Nozick’s argument can be better summarised below:
P1: If experiencing as much pleasure as we can is all that matters to us, then if we will experience more pleasure by doing x than by doing y, we have no reason not to do x rather than y.
P2: We…

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