“The House of Pleasure”
I have often been baffled by what seems to be a relatively straightforward problem which I call The House of Pleasure. I was wondering if: a) a trained philosopher could shed some light on it; and b) whether anything similar has been discussed in the academic literature. It goes like this.
It’s a Saturday night and a guy is walking to a party. On the way, he notices something he hasn’t seen before: a neon sign obnoxiously blinking “The House of Pleasure.” Intrigued, he approaches the doorman.
“That’ll be $100, sir.”
“What? That’s crazy! What is this place?”
“Oh,” the doorman says with a glimmer in his eye, “you’ve never been to The House of Pleasure? Let me explain. After you pay me and walk in, your brain will be scanned to identify everything that you subjectively enjoy: physically, sexually, emotionally, and intellectually. You’ll then spend the next four hours experiencing pure, untainted pleasure based on your personal desires. Whatever you enjoy most about...
This interesting thought experiment and associated questions deserves a substantial response. Alas, for now, I can only suggest that you read Robert Nozick's discussion of happiness and the "pleasure machine" thought experiment, a nice discussion of which was offered in the New York Times by David Sosa here .