The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 461–482 | Cite as

An Assessment of Recent Responses to the Experience Machine Objection to Hedonism

  • Dan Weijers
  • Vanessa Schouten


There are many different hedonistic theories, all of which claim that pleasure and pain are the only ultimately important explanatory considerations.1 This paper largely concerns internalist prudential hedonism – the theory that only the internal aspects of pleasure and pain intrinsically affect our well-being.

As remarked several times in the literature, so many strong objections have been levelled at prudential hedonism that most modern philosophers believe it to be implausible.2 Most prominent amongst these objections is the experience machine objection to hedonism, which is nearly always cited when a philosopher wants to argue that internalist prudential hedonism in particular is implausible.3 Indeed, virtually everyone who has written about internalist prudential hedonism since the late 1970s cites the experience machine thought experiment as a (and often the) decisive objection against it.4With similar success, variations of the experience machine objection to...


Good Explanation Thought Experiment Reality Matter Experience Machine Internalist Account 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy ProgrammeVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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