Philosophical Writings 41 (1):17-31 (2013)

Dan Weijers
University of Waikato
This paper is a warning that objections based on thought experiments can be misleading because they may elicit judgments that, unbeknownst to the judger, have been seriously skewed by psychological biases. The fact that most people choose not to plug in to the Experience Machine in Nozick’s (1974) famous thought experiment has long been used as a knock-down objection to hedonism because it is widely thought to show that real experiences are more important to us than pleasurable experiences. This paper argues that the commonplace choice to remain in reality when offered a life in the Experience Machine is best explained by status quo bias – the irrational preference for things to remain the same. An alternative thought experiment, empirical evidence, and discussion of how psychological biases can affect our judgments are provided to support this argument.
Keywords Experience Machine  Thought Experiments  Intuitions  Biases  Status Quo Bias
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References found in this work BETA

.Daniel Kahneman & Shane Frederick - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume & Tom L. Beauchamp - 1998 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 190 (2):230-231.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Experience Machine and the Expertise Defense.Guido Löhr - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (2):257-273.
Nozick’s Experience Machine: An Empirical Study.Frank Hindriks & Igor Douven - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (2):278-298.
Our Intuitions About the Experience Machine.Richard Rowland - 2017 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (1):110-117.
What If Well-Being Measurements Are Non-Linear?Daniel Wodak - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):29-45.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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