Experience machine

Suppose there was a machine that would give you any experience you desired. Would you plug in?

  1. If “how things seem to be” is the only thing that matters to us, we have no reason to refuse this offer
  2. We are hesitant to take up this offer (we have reasons to refuse it)
    1. “We want to do certain things, and not just have the experience of doing them.” (43)
    2. “… we want to be a certain way, to be a certain sort of person.” (43)
    3. We want to leave ourselves open to contact with a deeper reality.
    • What if we made machines to tackle all of this reasons? e.g. a transformation machine, result machine, etc.
    • These machines are disturbing to us because they are living our lives for us
  3. Therefore, experiences aren’t the only thing that matter to us

Pryor’s analysis of The Matrix

  • Matrix implies that there’s something bad about being inside the Matrix
  • Who is the matrix supposed to be bad for?
  • Machines are using the Matrix to keep humans docile to use them as a source of energy
    • This is a form of slavery
    • What if it was instead benevolent and philanthropic? Would this change how we see the situation?
  • “if in every respect it seems to you that you’re in the good situation, doesn’t that make it true— at least, true for you — that you are in the good situation?
  • 3 possibilities for what would be “bad” about living in the matrix
    • Lack of real scientific and/or objective knowledge
    • Interpersonal relationships
    • Being slaves — albeit content ones. The matrix is computer-generated dream world, built to keep us under control
  • Meaning in the matrix (and virtual worlds more broadly)
    • Do the things in the matrix refer to their “real” counterparts?
    • “steak” and “air” refer to the actual things inside of the matrix for those who have spent their whole life in the matrix, but mean something very different for outsiders who just visit