Impact of video games on philosophy
The most eminent philosophical idea that I think gets turned on its head by the influence of the popularity of video games is Robert Nozick’s 1974 idea of Experience Machine [(PDF) Nozick’s Experience Machine Is Dead.]
The fundamental thought experiment was designed to show to the people that “virtual reality” is inferior to “actual reality” and that pleasure is not the end, if it is not real.
However, I put the notion of anti-hedonism as “If all you want is to be delighted, snort some dopamine into your brain”.
Nozick put it as “If all you want to be happy, go to virtual reality and get this joy from the machine” – the idea to criticize hedonism via imagining virtual reality probably works in 1974 with the entertainment level they have back then.
But most people of the video games generation would see the same thought experiments and though the complete opposite. Virtual Reality is becoming better than actual reality.
What Does Nozick’s Argument Show?
Presumably, Nozick’s argument is as follows:
1. If all of our concern to us was pleasure, then we would expect to plug into the experience machine.
2. However, we would not want a plug-in.
3. Thus, there are many facts which matter to us along with pleasure.
The puzzle with Bentham’s view is that it does not make sense of our considered moral beliefs.A good ideal theory of value should make sense of the views we hold, yet Bentham’s views don’t seem to match that.
We can perceive this in the following way; assume and imagine the following two possible worlds:
In world A, you are in love with a person X, and X loves you back. You have a variety of experiences with X, and these experiences make you extremely pleased.
In world B, you are in love with X, but X only pretends to love you back.
In this world; however, X hates you. X puts up with you only because you buy X things. X cheats on you on a regular basis, but you never catch on to this. In fact, the experiences you have in this world are identical to the experiences you have in world A. According to Hedonism, you have no reason to pick world A as opposed to world B since the amount of pleasure experienced will be by hypothesis. But clearly, world A is better than world B. This is only coherent if Hedonism is false. However, Hedonism is incoherent with respect to our considered moral judgments.