Nozick’s experience machine experiment as a method for teaching the sociology of the individual

David Mellor

    Research output: Working paper

    Abstract

    This article considers Nozick’s experience machine experiment as a method for teaching the sociology of the individual. The first section outlines the original philosophical thought experiment as well selected alternative versions. The broad philosophical implications and theoretical perspectives examined by the original experiment are also briefly considered, as are some critiques. The second section looks at examples of how the experiment has worked in the classroom in workshops with both undergraduates and graduate students. Student engagements with the experiment are discussed thematically according to students’ own investigations and analyses. The third section examines the pedagogical opportunities presented by the experience machine experiment, through illustrating how the exercise might be linked to teaching and learning about a series of sociological theories of the individual. The article concludes there is merit in exploring the use of thought experiments in the sociology classroom, where they are structured to draw students into engagements with distinctly sociological theorizations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusIn preparation - 2020

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