Blockquoting Schmidtz
May 29, 2010
1 minute read

From The Elements of Justice:

Robert Nozick’s “Experience Machine” lets us plug our brains into a computer programmed to make us think we are living the best life possible. The life we think we are living is a computer-induced dream, but we do not know that. Whatever experience would be part of our felt experience. Nozick asks, “Would you plug in? What else can matter to us, other than how our lives feel from the inside?

Nozick does not connect the question to his critique of Rawls, yet we may at least wonder whether the less advantaged want to accomplish things, not simply be given things with which they can go on to have pleasant experiences. That is, we can ask of the less advantaged, how many of their children grow up to register patents? Earn PhDs? Earn a living as professional musicians? Does Rawls’s difference principle ask these questions, or is it concerned only that the less advantaged have a pleasant experience?