The Experience Machine: Would you enter?

Check out the BBC’s Philosopher’s Arms – “a very special pub where moral dilemmas, philosophical ideas and the real world meet for a chat and a drink. Each week Matthew Sweet takes a dilemma with real philosophical pedigree and sees how it matters in the everyday world.

This week he’s been offered an Experience Machine.  (The Experience Machine: Would you enter?)

It’s a device that guarantees the sensation of a happy and fulfilled life. But it’s not real. Should Matthew plug in? David Willets, Jo Wolf and David Geaney join him for a drink to explain the big thinkers behind this idea and debate the nature of happiness, drugs, reality and the role of government.

Each week in the Philosphers Arms Matthew is joined by a cast of philosophers and attendant experts to show how the dilemmas we face in real life connect us to some of the trickiest philosophical problems ever thought up. En route we’ll learn about the thinking of such luminaries as Kant, Hume, Aristotle and Wittgenstein. All recorded in a pub in front of a live audience ready to tap their glasses and demand clarity and ask – what’s this all got to do with me?

So questions such as should the government put prozac in the water supply? And my daughter is a robot, how should I treat her? Lead us into dilemmas, problems and issues from the treatment of mental illness to the structure of financial markets, from animal rights to homosexuality. And they will challenge a few of the assumptions and intuitions about life that we carry round with us.”

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