October 14, 2016

Experience Machines in Portugal

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  • Staff Work

EXPERIENCE MACHINES - The Philosophy of Virtual Worlds (Rowman & Littlefield International) is an upcoming book about philosophy in (and with) virtual worlds. The topic is right up the alley of Dr. Stefano Gualeni of the Institute of Digital Game's , who participated to that book with a chapter titled 'Things to Keep in Mind when Designing Videogames and Other Tragic Technologies.'

Stefano will be talking about his work in three difference occasions in the upcoming months:

  • October the 26th: University of Porto (Portugal). ‘DOING Philosophy with (and in) Virtual Worlds’ (invited talk at the faculty of Philosophy)
  • October the 27th: Coimbra International Conference on the Virtual, University of Coimbra (Portugal). ‘Virtual Weltschmerz’ (invited talk)
  • November the 16th: University of Malta (Malta). ‘Experience Machines’ (part of the Institute of Digital Game's game lecture series)

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ABOUT THE BOOK: ‘The Experience Machine’ is a thought experiment that was proposed in the seventies by American Philosopher Robert Nozick. To quickly summarize Nozick’s thought-provoking exercise, he hypothesized the existence of a device capable of feeding a human brain with artificial experiences that are indistinguishable from those that we can develop in relation with the actual world. With ‘The Experience Machine’, the American philosopher challenged us to envision having access to a device that could indefinitely supplant our everyday experiences with virtual ones designed to maximize our pleasure and satisfaction. By presenting us with the possibility of an experience machine, he invited reflections on whether the way we live our lives is solely driven by the pleasure principle or if there is something else that we value other than how we feel ‘from the inside’. If such a machine existed, he asked, “would you plug in?”

Problematizing and supplementing some of the claims and interrogatives originally raised in ‘The Experience Machine’, Dr. Gualeni's contribution proposes a philosophical reflection on human experiences in the upcoming age of their ‘technical reproducibility’. In his book chapter, virtual reality discloses new domains of self-discovery and self-construction.