[SydPhil] Reminder: Mara Bollard @ Mon 30 Jul 13:00 - 14:30 (Current Projects)

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Sun Jul 29 13:00:08 AEST 2012

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Title: Mara Bollard
Title: The Experience Machine Revisited

Abstract: According to mental state accounts of well-being, a person’s  
well-being is constituted solely by her mental states. Robert Nozick’s  
well-known experience machine thought experiment is often considered a  
decisive refutation of such accounts because it is thought to show that  
well-being requires more than just mental states; namely, a connection to  
reality. In this paper, I argue that the experience machine thought  
experiment (hereafter TEM) cannot be taken as a knockdown objection to  
mental state theories of well-being for three main reasons: First, that TEM  
elicits the intuition that a connection to reality matters to us does not  
entail the conclusion that a connection to reality is intrinsically  
prudentially valuable. Second, it is possible that the intuition elicited  
by TEM is tracking forms of value other than prudential value such as moral  
value. Third, even if the intuition is ostensibly tracking prudential  
value, there is good reason to think that the intuition is unreliable  
because it is affected by status quo bias and other irrelevant factors. It  
will be concluded that appeals to TEM alone cannot decisively defeat mental  
state theories of well-being. I will also briefly consider the implications  
of the problems with TEM for the general practice of using intuitions about  
thought experiments as evidence for or against theories.
When: Mon 30 Jul 13:00 – 14:30 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: Philosophy Common Room
Calendar: Current Projects
     * kristiemiller4 at gmail.com- creator

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