I'm trying to grasp how Mill's claim that the only good is happiness/pleasure is able to respond to Nozick's though experiment.
Humans strive for virtue and other goods only if they are associated with the natural and original tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
Most people seem to prefer not being plugged into the machine, this shows that there is something else other then pleasure that we desire.
According to Mill's it seems as though we are saying:
- I only seek whatever will bring me pleasure (either on it's own or
- I don't want to be plugged into the machine
- Therefore, plugging into the machine will not bring me maximum pleasure.
- (By definition) A pleasure machine, maximises my amount of pleasure
- Therefore, plugging into the machine will bring me pleasure.
We seem to arrive at a logical contradiction at (3) and (5)
Now, the way I see it we can claim that truth is a good other than pleasure, defeating Mill's proof.
On the other hand, if we take truth to be a component of pleasure, Mill's deduction is able to stand insomuch as us being plugged into the machine would be lacking truth, therefore lacking pleasure.
However, isn't to claim that "being plugged into a pleasure maximising machine does not maximise pleasure" a paradox?
Even allowing for people to know that they are inside a machine, and also allowing them to design their own experiences seems not to be sufficient for people to plug in. Does this mean that truth is indeed not a component of pleasure/happiness, but a thing in itself that we don't see as a means to an end, but as and end in itself?