Crisp PH reading week 3

Is relevant to the assessment of all kinds of

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Unformatted text preview: 'quality' is relevant to the assessment of all kinds of pleasures, including 'lower' or bodily ones. I might, for example, explain my preference for one drink over another by reference to its being refreshing. Once the hedonist takes enough notice of the fact that we refer to the qualities of our enjoyment, or perhaps rather the qualities of the objects of our enjoyment, in justifying or explaining our enjoyment (I enjoyed the drink because it was refreshing, I enjoyed the beautiful syntax of the Jane Austen novel), she has the resources to deal with the philosophy of swine objection. In the Haydn and oyster case, I might tell the angel that some of the qualities of the experiences in Haydn's life would be so enjoyable that I wouldn't give them up for any length of oyster experience. In other words, I can claim that I would enjoy Haydn's life more, thus retaining signficance for the higher aspects of human experience without giving up on the claim that only enjoyment counts. The experience machine As I said earlier, hedonism is a kind of mental state theory, according to which what matters to well-being is experiences a lone . That leaves it open t o objections based around the following notorious c ase , described by Robert Nozick in his Anarchy, State, and Utopia: The Experience Machine. Suppose there were an experience machine that w oul d give you any e xperi enc e y o u d esired . S uperdupe r n europsychologist s could stimulate your brain so that you w oul d think and feel you w er e writing a great novel, or making a f riend , or reading an interesting book. All the time you w oul d be floating in a tank, with electrodes attached to your brain ... Woul d y o u plug in? What else can matter to us, other than how our lives feel from the inside? Nozick believes that the experience machine example shows that various things do matter to us in addition to our experiences. For example, we want to do certain things — we believe that what we accomplish in our lives affects how well our lives go for us. Accomplishment, that is, is a value independent of enjoyment or pleasure. Nozick poses the problem here as one of whether we would actually plug in to such a machine. That seems to me misleading, since there may be reasons why we wouldn't want to do this independently of any view we might have about the value to well-being of accomplishment. I might just be timid, for example, and unwilling to take a risk; or I may be horrified at having to leave my family and friends. So let me restate the objection using parallel lives, about which we can make balanced judgements. First consider P. P writes a great novel, and greatly enjoys doing so. Now consider Q. Q is connected to an experience machine from birth, and has experiences which are introspectively indiscernible from P's (imagine that the superduper neuropsychologists have somehow copied P's experiences, which are then 'replayed' to Q). According to hedonism, P and Q have exactly the same level of well-bein...
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2013 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Drwang during the Fall '11 term at National Taiwan University.

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