Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A possible utilitarian reply to Nozick's Ultimate Pleasure Machine objection to utilitarianism

A utilitarian might reply that most people who aim at pleasure aim at their own pleasure. But when we aim at everyone's pleasure instead of just our own, we don't find the unfulfilling situation that we find with the "ultimate pleasure machine."

I have linked to a discussion of the Ultimate Pleasure Machine on Free Cognition.


Blue Devil Knight said...

I'm not sure, but I think a rule Utilitarian (as opposed to act utilitarian) could justify not using this machine.

Mike Almeida said...

Benthamite utilitarians are committed to the view that pleasure is all that is intrinsically valuable. If that were so, then one's well-being could be maximized by a fail-safe pleasure machine. But no one thinks that one's well-being is so maximized. Indeed, one's life goes worse in those worlds where you permanently attach yourself. I don't see how your observation speaks to that.