Seminar: David Rhys Birks, "Wellbeing, Schizophrenia and Experience Machines"

Past Event

25 November 2009, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Abstract: In this paper I argue that we should broaden the category of individuals with schizophrenia who are eligible for involuntary treatment. I do this by constructing a thought experiment concerning a person who slips on a banana peel and falls into a malfunctioning version of Nozick’s experience machine. I propose that the reasons why we should remove the person from the machine are the same reasons why we should administer involuntary treatment to individuals with schizophrenia. I conclude by rebutting an objection to the analogy, namely that there is a morally relevant difference between the internal schizophrenia and external experience machine.

David Rhys Birks is a doctoral candidate at the Manchester Centre for Political Theory, University of Manchester and a recognized student at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.