NEU Rousseau and the experience Machine essay I choose the Second question in the first picture. There are detail information about the machine and the req

NEU Rousseau and the experience Machine essay I choose the Second question in the first picture. There are detail information about the machine and the requirement and the rest 3 pictures are the article related to the essay. And you might need them ESSAY SET 1: Rousseau and The Experience Machine
Due: Monday, February 4th, in class
You may write on one of the following topics. Your paper is to be double-spaced and no
more than 2-3 pages in length. Make certain that your name and date are at the top of the
paper, and that you specify which question you are answering.
1. What are one or two of the most important criticisms of modern society in Rousseau’s
Discourse on the Origin of Inequality? (Rousseau advances a number of criticisms of the
modern world in this essay, and discussing one or two will make for a much better paper
than trying to discuss each and every one of them. It is better to concentrate on less, thus
enabling one to develop and defend one’s claims with greater care and thoroughness.)
2. Suppose there was a machine, a virtual reality machine—let’s call it the “Experience
Machine”—that could provide you with any experiences you wanted. If you wanted to
live the life, say, of a renowned concert pianist, a great artist, or a spy, the machine could
make it appear as though you were living just such a life. Once plugged into the machine,
you would be unable to tell that you were plugged in, and nor would you remember that
the decision to do so was your choice. Your experiences would be indistinguishable from
the real thing. Question: Would you agree to be plugged into such a machine? Defend
your decision. Grau’s brief article is relevant here.
Note: A single sentence in defense of a view, or attacking it, isn’t liable to convince
anyone—and especially not someone who opposes you—so take the time to develop your
position. Order, clarity, economy, and precision are essential to good argumentative
and the Experience Machines Philosophy and The Matrix 17
told what the Mauek is?)
patham’s orglement is controversial, but it is
Koteworluvy because it shows that the kind of sit.
uanjon described In The Maria raises Anot jusy the
expected philosophical issues about knowledge
and sleptíciste, but more general Jesues garding
meaning language, and the relationsip between
the mind and the world.
ed. Vaughn
CYPHER: You know, I know that this steak
doesn’t exist. I know when I put it in my
mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that
it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, do
you know what I’ve realized?
CYPHER: Ignorance is bliss.
AGENT SMITH: Then we have a deal?
CYPHER: I don’t want to remember noth-
ing. Nothing! You understand? And I
want to be rich. Someone important.
Like an actor. You can do that, right?
AGENT SMITH: Whatever you want, Mr. Reagan.
Cypher is not a nice guy, but is he an unreasonable
guy? Is he right to want to get re-inserted into the
Matrix? Many want to say no, but giving reasons
for why his choice is a bad one is not an easy task.
After all, so long as his experiences will be pleasant,
how can his situation be worse than the inevitably
crappy life he would lead outside of the Matrix?
What could matter beyond the quality of his ex-
perience? Remember, once he’s back in, living his
fantasy life, he won’t even know he made the deal.
What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him, right?
Is feeling good the only thing that has value
in itself? The question of whether only conscious
experience can ultimately matter is one that has
been explored in depth by several contemporary
philosophers. In the course of discussing this is-
sue in his 1974 book Anarchy, State, and Utopia,
Robert Nozick introduced a thought-experiment
that has become a staple of introductory philoso-
phy classes everywhere. It is known as “the experi-
ence machine”:
Suppose there were an experience machine that
would give you any experience you desired. Su-
perduper neuropsychologists could stimulate
your brain so that you would think and feel you
were writing a great novel, or making a friend,
or reading an interesting book. All the time you
would be floating in a tank, with electrodes at-
tached to your brain. Should you plug into this
machine for life, preprogramming your life’s
experiences?. … Of course, while in the tank
you won’t know that you’re there; you’ll think
it’s all actually happening. Others can also plug
in to have the experiences they want, so there’s
no need to stay unplugged to serve them. (Ig-
nore problems such as who will service the ma-
chines if everyone plugs in.) Would you plug
in? What else can matter to us, other than how
our lives feel from the inside?”
Nozick goes on to argue that other things do
matter to us: for instance, that we actually do cer-
tain things, as opposed to simply having the ex-
perience of doing them. Also, he points out that
we value being (and becoming) certain kinds of
people. I don’t just want to have the experience of
being a decent person, I want to actually be a de-
cent person. Finally, Nozick argues that we value
contact with reality in itself, independent of any
benefits such contact may bring through pleasant
experience: we want to know we are experiencing
the real thing. In sum, Nozick thinks that it matters
to most of us, often in a rather deep way, that we be
the authors of our lives and that our lives involve
interacting with the world, and he thinks that the
fact that most people would not choose to enter
into such an experience machine demonstrates
that they do value these other things. As he puts it:
“We learn that something matters to us in addition
to experience by imagining an experience machine
and then realizing that we would not use it” (311).
While Nozick’s description of his machine is
vague, it appears that there is at least one important
difference between it and the simulated world of The
Matrix. Nozick implies that people hooked up to the
experience machine will not be able to exercise their
agency-they become the passive recipients of pre-
programmed experiences. This apparent loss of free
will is disturbing to many people, and it might be
distorting people’s reactions to the case and cloud-
ing the issue of whether they value contact with re-
ality per se. The Matrix seems to be set up in such
a way that one can enter it and retain one’s free will
and capacity for decision making, and perhaps this
makes it a significantly more attractive option than
the experience machine that Nozick describes.
Nonetheless, a loss of freedom is not the only
disturbing aspect of Nozick’s story. As he points
out, we seem to mourn the loss of contact with the
real world as well. Even if a modified experience
machine is presented to us, one which allows us to
keep our free will but enter into an entirely virtual
world, many would still object that permanent-
ly going into such a machine involves the loss of
something valuable.
Cypher and his philosophical comrades are like-
ly to be unmoved by such observations. So what if
most people are hung-up on “reality and would
turn down the offer to permanently enter an expe-
rience machine? Most people might be wrong. All
their responses might show is that such people are
superstitious, or irrational, or otherwise confused.
Maybe they think something could go wrong with
the machines, or maybe they keep forgetting that
while in the machine they will no longer be aware
of their choice to enter the machine. Perhaps those
hesitant to plug in don’t realize that they value be-
ing active in the real world only because normally
that is the most reliable way for them to acquire
the pleasant experience that they value in itself. In
other words, perhaps our free will and our capacity
to interact with reality are means to a further end;
they matter to us because they allow us access to
what really matters: pleasant conscious experience.
To think the reverse, that reality and freedom have
value in themselves (what philosophers sometimes
call nonderivative or intrinsic value), is simply to
put the cart before the horse. After all, Cypher
could reply, what would be so great about the ca-
pacity to freely make decisions or the ability to be
in the real world if neither of these things allowed
us to feel good?
Peter Unger has taken on these kinds of objec-
tions in his discussion of “experience inducers.”
He acknowledges that there is a strong temptation
when in a certain frame of mind to agree with this
rience can
Grau: Bad Dreams, Evil Demons, and the Experience Machine: Philosophy and The Matrix 181
kind of Cypheresque reasoning, but he argues that Most of us care about a lot of things indepen-
this is a temptation we ought to try to resist. Cy-
dently of the experiences that those things provide
pher’s vision of value is too easy and too simplistic. for us. The realization that we value things other
We are inclined to think that only conscious expe-
i really matter in part because we fall into
than pleasant conscious experience should lead us
to at least wonder if the legitimacy of this kind of
the grip of a particular picture of what values must value hasn’t been too hastily dismissed by Cypher
be like, and this in turn leads us to stop paying at- and his ilk. After all, once we see how widespread
tention to our actual values. We make ourselves
and commonplace our other nonderivative con-
blind to the subtlety and complexity of our values, cerns are, the insistence that conscious experience
and we then find it hard to understand how some- is the only thing that has value in itself can come
thing that doesn’t affect our consciousness could to seem downright peculiar. If purchasing life in-
sensibly matter to us. If we stop and reflect on what surance seems like a rational thing to do, why
we really do care about, however, we come across shouldn’t the desire to experience reality (rather
some surprisingly everyday examples that don’t sit than some illusory simulation) be similarly ratio-
easily with Cypher’s claims:
nal? Perhaps the best test of the rationality of our
Consider life insurance. To be sure, some
most basic values is actually whether they, taken
together, form a consistent and coherent network
among the insured may strongly believe that, if
they die before their dependents do, they will
of attachments and concerns. (Do they make sense
still observe their beloved dependents, perhaps
in light of each other and in light of our beliefs
from a heaven on high. But others among the in-
about the world and ourselves?) It isn’t obvious
sured have no significant belief to that effect….
that valuing interaction with the real world fails
this kind of test.
Still, we all pay our premiums. In my case, this
is because, even if I will never experience any-
Of course, pointing out that the value I place
thing that happens to them, I still want things
on living in the real world coheres well with my
to go better, rather than worse, for my depen-
other values and beliefs will not quiet the de-
dents. No doubt, I am rational in having this
fender of Cypher, as he will be quick to respond
that the fact that my values all cohere doesn’t
show that they are all justified. Maybe I hold a
As Unger goes on to point out, it seems con- bunch of exquisitely consistent but thoroughly
trived to chalk up all examples of people pur- irrational values.
chasing life insurance to cases in which someone The quest for some further justification of
is simply trying to benefit (while alive) from the my basic values might be misguided, however.
favorable impression such a purchase might make Explanations have to come to an end some-
on the dependents. In many cases it seems ludi- where, as Ludwig Wittgenstein once famously
crous to deny that “what motivates us, of course, remarked. Maybe the right response to a de-
is our great concern for our dependents’ future, mand for justification here is to point out that
whether we experience their future or not” (302). the same demand can be made to Cypher: “Just
This is not a proof that such concern is rational, what justifies your exclusive concern with pleas-
but it does show that incidents in which we in- ant conscious experience?” It seems as though
trinsically value things other than our own con- nothing does-if such concern is justified, it
scious experience might be more widespread than must be somehow self-justifying, but if that is
we are at first liable to think. (Other examples in- possible, why shouldn’t our concerns for other
clude the value we place on not being deceived or people and our desire to live in the real world
lied to-the importance of this value doesn’t seem also be self-justifying? If those can also be self-
to be completely exhausted by our concern that justifying, then maybe what we don’t experience
we might one day become aware of the lies and should matter to us, and perhaps what we don’t
know can hurt us. …

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