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Title: The experience requirement : malfunctions in Robert Nozick’s experience machine
Authors: Low, Timothy Kai Woon
Keywords: Humanities::Philosophy
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: The central question of the study of well-being is what makes a life good. The primary purpose of a theory of well-being is hence the specification of a good-maker; something whose possession makes a subject intrinsically better off. The scope of this paper is twofold. Firstly, this paper will argue that any credible theory of well-being must fulfil the Experience Requirement, which states that changes to a subject’s well-being must involve his experience. More specifically, the intrinsic good-maker as defined by a theory must induce, and be reflected in, changes to a subject’s experience. This importance will primarily be demonstrated by assessing major theories of well-being. Secondly, this paper will critique the Experience Requirement’s biggest counterargument: Robert Nozick’s Experience Machine thought experiment. I will argue that the commonly elicited intuition not to plug into the machine is contaminated by extraneous factors. This argument will borrow heavily from Edouard Machery’s concept of “disturbing characteristics”, which Machery argues predispose readers’ judgements to be influenced by philosophically irrelevant factors. Consequently, these disturbing characteristics provide good reason to suspend judgement about the thought experiment. If this paper’s endeavour is successful, the Experience Requirement will remain a foremost requirement for any credible theory of well-being.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Theses

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