Philosophy Through Video Games
Jon Cogburn, Mark Silcox
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
How can Wii Sports teach us about metaphysics?
Can playing World of Warcraft lead to greater self-consciousness?
How can we learn about aesthetics, ethics and divine attributes from
Zork, Grand Theft Auto, and Civilization?
A variety of increasingly sophisticated video games are rapidly overtaking books, films, and television as America's most popular form of media entertainment. It is estimated that by 2011 over 30 percent of US households will own a Wii console - about the same percentage that owned a television in 1953.
In Philosophy Through Video Games, Jon Cogburn and Mark Silcox - philosophers with game industry experience - investigate the aesthetic appeal of video games, their effect on our morals, the insights they give us into our understanding of perceptual knowledge, personal identity, artificial intelligence, and the very meaning of life itself, arguing that video games are popular precisely because they engage with longstanding philosophical problems.
Topics covered include:
* The Problem of the External World
* Dualism and Personal Identity
* Artificial and Human Intelligence in the Philosophy of Mind
* The Idea of Interactive Art
* The Moral Effects of Video Games
* Games and God's Goodness
Games discussed include:
Madden Football, Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, Sims Online, Second Life, Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, Elder Scrolls, Zork, EverQuest Doom, Halo 2, Grand Theft Auto, Civilization, Mortal Kombat, Rome: Total War, Black and White, Aidyn Chronicles
and in high degree” (Standard, 11). So when a person criticizes you for napping during Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, laughing out loud during the last scene of Hamlet, or running away from every scary alien in The Crystal Key, what she is doing is perfectly rational, contrary to Premise Three of The Objectivity Argument. For although she may not be able to describe the principles that underlie her criticisms, her very ability to value these classic works of music, theatre, and game design shows
therefore, invited to follow along with our descriptions of how such a hypothetical machine might behave when “told” to calculate a variety of basic arithmetic functions. Here is an acceptable Turing machine program, a program that makes the machine do what is executed by the aforementioned portrayal of a series of tapes (see Program 1). If in state and the counter reads then write/move and then go to state 1 0 1 1 1 1 R 2 2 0 1 2 2 1 R 3 3 0 1 3 3 1 L 4 4 0 R 4 1
halting problem mean that humans will always be able to outthink machines? Or might it make sense to say that a digital computer itself may (if not now, then perhaps someday) instance nontrivial and noncomputable properties such as that of coming up with a perfectly general game-winning strategy? These are difficult and important questions to which we will now turn, as part of our broader discussion about the nature and limitations of artificial intelligence. 6 Artificial and Human
that the practice of role-playing, whether it takes a form as innocuous as performing in a stage play or a movie or as drastic as developing an “alter” in a therapeutic environment, cannot but represent an evasion of the serious, adult responsibilities that require one to be consistent in one’s demeanor, public manners, and one’s first-person avowals of the form “I am . . . .” If there is a general argument against role-playing that can be extracted from the claims of the philosophers we have
sedentary adventure games like Myst. But as Dennett points out, “Mother Nature doesn’t see it that way at all. A life of sleep is as good a life as any, and in many regards better—certainly cheaper—than most” (Darwin’s 340). After all, sleep does two important things for us. It renews our metabolic functions, which makes us much more energy efficient for performing all the fun, but relatively short-term tasks associated with reproduction. And it keeps us out of harm’s way, provided we have