There's no place like home: Is our preference for familiar surroundings a bias?
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Weijers, D. M. (2019). There’s no place like home: Is our preference for familiar surroundings a bias? Presented at the 36th International Social Philosophy Conference. Home Sanctuary, Shelter, and Justice, Conference held at University of San Francisco, California, USA.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13103
Drawing on experimental and traditional philosophical methods, several researchers have argued that our judgments about the relative value of different lives are often affected by status quo bias. Status quo bias – the irrational overvaluing of the status quo – appears to make our comparative judgments of our current life with different, and especially radically different, kinds of lives unhelpful. If true, this finding has significant implications for philosophy in several areas, including wellbeing, moral theory, and any value-based theorising about home. In this presentation, I will present the results of experiments on different versions of Nozick’s experience machine scenario. The different versions of the scenario were designed to tease out what it is that we value about the status quo, enabling me to establish whether our high valuing of home is more to do with our personal relationships, familiarity with our surroundings, or fear of the unknown. The experiments included gathering individual characteristics of participants, so that many possibly confounding factors could be analysed. The main message from the results is that for many people, going home means going to where the people they love are.