Affect, Rationality, and the Experience Machine

Ethical Perspectives 19 (2):268-276 (2012)
Can we test philosophical thought experiments, such as whether people would enter an experience machine or would leave one once they are inside? Dan Weijers argues that since 'rational' subjects (e.g. students taking surveys in college classes) are believable, we can do so. By contrast, I argue that because such subjects will probably have the wrong affect (i.e. emotional states) when they are tested, such tests are almost worthless. Moreover, understood as a general policy, such pretend testing would ruin the results of most psychological tests, such as those of helping behavior, attitudes to authority, moral transgressions, etc. However, I also argue that certain philosophical thought experiments do not require us to have as much (or any) affect to understand them, or to elicit intuitions, and so can be tested. Generally, experimental philosophy must adhere to this limit, on pain of offering vacuous results.
Keywords Experience Machine  Experimental Philosophy  Rationality  Robert Nozick  Thought Experiments
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

62 ( #78,700 of 1,924,755 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #140,667 of 1,924,755 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.