The Experience Machine

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  1. WretchedRapture profile image67
    WretchedRaptureposted 11 years ago
    A classic thought experiment presented by philosopher Robert Nozick asks us to imagine a machine which is so powerful and technologically advanced that it is able to simulate any experience we could possibly imagine. In fact, we could live our entire lifetime in this machine if we so chose to. We could have a life of fame and luxury, be a professional athlete, or become an enlightened Buddha at a moments notice. Anything we could think of, this machine could allow us to experience. However, this "Experience Machine" is so good at what it does, that we would not be able to decipher the difference between our actual REAL-LIFE experiences and our experiences inside of the machine. Quite obviously, the question is: Would you enter the experience machine? Why or why not?

    While I have had this discussion in a couple of my introductory philosophy courses, I am very much interested in hearing the answers and reasoning of the everyday person (with quite possibly no experience with philosophical study at all). For those veteran philosophers out there, feel free to add to the discussion as I'm fairly new to all of this as well. There's most definitely aspects of this question I could have overlooked myself, and I love to pry my own thoughts.

    Photo by Randen Pederson; Source

    1. kess profile image60
      kessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Its funny cause you are in that machine,

      Are you not able to tell the difference between the experience between machine and reality?

      Think about it...the machine has succesfully decieved many.I

      1. WretchedRapture profile image67
        WretchedRaptureposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I never revealed my own opinion on the subject. The good ole' matrix, yes? ;]

      2. WretchedRapture profile image67
        WretchedRaptureposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Also, I'm very glad you brought this up. I was hoping someone would mention it, but I didn't want to explicitly bring it up myself. Some people may have never  thought to imagine it that way. Great reply!

        1. kess profile image60
          kessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Yes the machine lives because you live and dont understand...this is this present world.

    2. couturepopcafe profile image61
      couturepopcafeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I'd probably give the machine a shot providing there were no adverse affects. Studies have shown that if we run through intended goals in our minds with all the passion and intention of the real act, the same muscles and neurons fire as if we actually did perform the action. So not knowing if we actually did something might no be as bad as it sounds. It also might go a long way to enlightening many to the rest of the world's experience.


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