Discuss whether Aristotle would consider someone hooked up to the experience machine to be “happy” in the sense captured by that notion of eudaimonia.

Week 4 Discussion 1: Discussion: The Experience Machine This discussion will require you to have carefully read Chapter 5 of the textbook, as well as the assigned portions of Aristotle’s (1931) Nicomachean Ethics. If you recall from Week 2/Chapter 3, John Stuart Mill (2008) defines happiness as the experience of pleasure and the avoidance of pain, which means that happiness is very much a matter of how I feel “on the inside”. However, Aristotle (1931) holds a rather different view of happiness (or in his terms, “eudaimonia”). One way that we think about this difference is to conduct a “thought experiment” in which we imagine that we have certain “inner” experiences, but outwardly things are quite different. One such thought experiment is provided by the philosopher Robert Nozick in his description of the “experience machine”: “Suppose there were an experience machine that would give you any experience you desired. Superduper neuropsychologists could stimulate your brain so that you would think and feel you were writing a great novel, or making a friend, or reading an interesting book. All the time you would be floating in a tank, with electrodes attached to your brain…Of course, while in the tank you won’t know that you’re there; you’ll think it’s actually happening…Would you plug in? What else can matter to us, other than how our lives feel from the inside?” (Nozick, 1974, p. 43) In the course of the week’s discussion, you will need to do the following (not necessarily in this order): 1. Engage with the text: Using at least one quote from the assigned texts, explain Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia. Then, discuss whether Aristotle would consider someone hooked up to the experience machine to be “happy” in the sense captured by that notion of eudaimonia. 2. Reflect on yourself: If you had the chance to be permanently hooked up to the experience machine, would you do it? Explain your choice. For example, if you would not hook up, you may discuss the kinds of goods or aims that would be lost by hooking up, or you may discuss the core, essential features of your life (or of human life in general) that are undermined by being in such a state. 3. Reflect on human life: Based on your response, do you think that we can describe aspects of a telos (in Aristotle’s sense) that applies to humanity in general, or at least most people? Correspondingly, could there be a difference between feeling happy and being happy? Do you think that people can be wrong about happiness? (Notice that this isn’t asking whether there are different ways in which people can find happiness; it’s asking whether some of those ways could be mistaken.) 4. Discuss with your peers: According to virtue ethics, reflecting on the aims and goods essential to human flourishing (if there are any) can help us understand the virtues we need to fulfill those and the vices that would be detrimental, as well as the corresponding kinds of choices and behaviors. Reflect with your peers on what their account reveals about the virtuous life, whether that conflicts with some of the values and choices common in society, etc. References Aristotle. (1931). Nicomachean ethics (W. D. Ross, Trans.). Retrieved from Mill, J. S. (2008). Utilitarianism, In J. Bennett (Ed. & Rev.) Early Modern Philosophy. Retrieved from Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, state, and utopia. New York: Basic Books. Thames, B. (2018). How should one live? Introduction to ethics and moral reasoning (3rd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education Discussion 2 Symposium: Moral Exemplars This week, we will consider moral exemplars. For Aristotle, virtue ethics is about a cultivation of virtuous practices and habits. There are no hard and fast rules as there are for deontology. Since there are no rules, nor are there calculations as with utilitarianism, one way we can learn to become more virtuous people and develop our moral character is by following a moral exemplar. For Aristotle, by following a phronimos (someone exemplifying practical wisdom, i.e., someone skilled in virtue), we can learn better learn to become moral people ourselves. A moral exemplar is someone who is exceptional in the practice of virtue. For example, you might think of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Sojourner Truth, Jesus, the Buddha, or any other person of great moral character. What these people demonstrate to us through their words and through the actions of their lives is what the practice of virtue looks like. Now, Aristotle’s theory of virtue does not necessarily accord with our modern conceptions of what is morally upright. For example, MLK was so persistent in his pursuit of racial justice that he was assassinated. This probably would not fit into Aristotle’s conception of virtue as lying between two extremes (the golden mean). Your task is to find a moral exemplar (that no one else has written about yet) and, using Aristotle’s theory of the golden mean or his theory of eudaimonia, state whether that moral exemplar would have been considered virtuous by Aristotle. Then, state whether you agree or disagree with Aristotle’s (hypothetical) assessment and explain why. Do not simply be a cheerleader here. You may think a certain person is a moral exemplar, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Aristotle would have thought so. Your post must address the following: 1. What is Aristotle’s theory of the golden mean? Briefly explain in your own words Aristotle’s theory of virtue according to the golden mean, referring to material from our readings for this week. 2. Pick a moral exemplar no one has written about yet and explain whether Aristotle would have thought they displayed virtues that were within the golden mean. State explicitly what those virtues are (e.g., courage). Then, state whether you agree or disagree with Aristotle’s hypothetical assessment and explain why or why not. Think carefully about this from the perspective of virtue ethics. Maybe your moral exemplar’s life didn’t necessarily follow every detail of what Aristotle considered to be the good and virtuous life. If there are any points of tension, explain them. Is there anything that you find problematic in Aristotle’s approach? Note: your post must address Aristotle’s theory (see points 1 and 2 above) to receive full credit. Do not simply be a cheerleader for someone you like. Reference Aristotle. (1931). Nicomachean ethics (W. D. Ross, Trans.). Retrieved from Thames, B. (2018). How should one live? Introduction to ethics and moral reasoning (3rd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education. Hursthouse, R., & Pettigrove, G. (2003, July 18). Virtue ethics Links to an external site. . In Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Retrieved November 14, 2022, from Discussion 3 Prior to beginning work on this discussion forum, read Sections 22 and 24 from John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. Have you ever wondered why Lady Justice is blind? Perhaps it is because to promote and preserve justice, we must be blind to other things. For this final discussion, you will consider what justice is and how to create just laws. Section 22 The Circumstances of Justice Download Section 22 The Circumstances of Justice considers various ideas related to justice. Section 24 The Veil of Ignorance Download Section 24 The Veil of Ignorance presents a famous thought experiment which asks you to imagine yourself as a lawmaker in a society that you are about to become a member of. To complete this discussion, address the following items: Circumstances of Justice * Explain what you think justice is. Begin by defining justice and then consider at least one of the following questions: * What are the essential characteristics of justice? Must a law be just for everyone for it to be a just law? What is the connection between justice and fairness? Can inequality be just if it benefits everyone? The Veil of Ignorance * Create a just law. Imagine yourself waiting in line to become a member of a society. To get into the society, you must create a law that you think would be a just in the society. Your task is to create a just law that will govern the society. However, you must create this law not knowing anything beforehand about who you will be in this society. This means that you do not know your race, gender, religion, political beliefs, ethnicity, economic status, and so on. * Explain why you believe your law is just, fair, and moral. Just Law and Case Studies * Consider one of the case studies you used in the assignments for this course, or the case study you are creating for your final paper. * How might the law you created for this discussion impact the ethical issue or problem addressed in the case study? Reference Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice (Original ed.). Belknap Press. Garcia, P. (Director), & Warmerdam, M. (Writer). (2004). Ethics: What is right? Links to an external site. [Series episode]. In Scherer, C. (Executive producer), Great ideas of philosophy. Tranquilo Produciones; Films for the Arts & Sciences. SRF Kultur Sternstunden. (2016, October 14). Thought experiment “veil of ignorance” (English)Links to an external site. [Video]. YouTube.