The Experience Machine Deconstructed

Philosophy in the Contemporary World 15 (1):133-138 (2008)
Abstract
Nozick’s Experience Machine thought experiment is generally taken to make a compelling, if not conclusive, case against philosophical hedonism. I argue that it does not and, indeed, that regardless of the results, it cannot provide any reason to accept or reject either hedonism or any other philosophical account of wellbeing since it presupposes preferentism, the desire-satisfaction account of wellbeing. Preferentists cannot take any comfort from the results of such thought experiments because they assume preferentism and therefore cannot establish it. Neither can anyone else, since only a preferentistshould accept the terms of the thought experiment
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