INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Consequentialism singles out happiness as the only intrinsic value. Happiness, in turn, is a subjective
experience: we are happy when we feel pleasure, fulfillment, or excitement; we are unhappy when we feel
pain, disappointment, or boredom. In “The Experience Machine,” Robert Nozick argues that happiness is
not the only intrinsic value. Read pages 33-35 from The Ethical Life. Then write an essay that addresses the
(a) Explain Nozick’s experience machine.
(b) Why does Nozick think the experience machine shows that happiness is not the only intrinsic value?
(c) What is the biggest problem with Nozick’s argument?
(d) How serious is the problem you identified in (c)? Is Nozick’s argument salvageable?
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