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Would you opt for a life with no pain? - Hayley Levitt and Bethany Rickwald

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Imagine if you could plug your brain into a machine that would bring you ultimate pleasure for the rest of your life. The only catch? You have to permanently leave reality behind. Hayley Levitt and Bethany Rickwald explore Robert Nozick’s thought experiment that he called the Experience Machine.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Bethany Rickwald, Hayley Levitt
  • Director Avi Ofer
  • Animator Avi Ofer
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Robert Nozick was a 20th-century American political philosopher. He's best known for writing the book Anarchy, State, and Utopia, which defended free-market libertarianism. In addition to his political theories, he also contributed ideas to the fields of epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and the metaphysics of personal identity. Read more about his work here.

Nozick designed his Experience Machine thought experiment to refute the beliefs of hedonists. Hedonism is a form of utilitarianism, a philosophy that that says that the greatest moral action is one that maximizes "utility." Utility has been defined in many different ways, all relating to a feeling, perceiving entity's general well-being, but a number of 18th- and 19th-century utilitarian philosophers like Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill took "hedonistic" views of the concept, equating "utility" with "pleasure." Sound interesting? Read more about hedonism and the many other forms of utilitarianism here.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Bethany Rickwald, Hayley Levitt
  • Director Avi Ofer
  • Animator Avi Ofer
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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