Philosophy Through Video Games

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $100.03
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 23%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $100.03   
  • New (3) from $107.94   
  • Used (3) from $100.03   


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

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Cogburn (philosophy, Louisiana State Univ.) and Silcox (humanities & philosophy, Univ. of Central Oklahoma) note that philosophers have traditionally been depicted as "spacey dreamers" and that "it must be hard to imagine how the revelatory insights that philosophy is supposed to provide could be achieved while playing video games." To make this less difficult to imagine, the authors examine a large number of specific video games in terms of their possible philosophical implications. In each of seven chapters, they begin "by describing a philosophical puzzle that arises from reflection on some particular genre or species of video game," e.g., personal identity, theories of perception and phenomenalism, and how violent games affect users' ethical, moral, and aesthetic dilemmas. The final chapter deals with "what many philosophers regard as the most important philosophical question-'What is the meaning of life?'" Throughout, the pertinent thinking of many philosophers, both past and present, is thoughtfully considered. There has been an upsurge of interest in philosophy books dealing with pop culture subjects, and this book should be of interest to a large readership; highly recommended for all libraries.
—Leon H Brody

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415988575
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/12/2008
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jon Cogburn is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Louisiana State University. Mark Silcox is Assistant Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 The Game inside the Mind, the Mind inside the Game (The Nintendo Wii Gaming Console)

2 I, Player: The Puzzle of Personal Identity (MMORPGS and Virtual Communities)

3 Artificial and Human Intelligence (Single-Player RPGs)

4 The Metaphysics of Interactive Art (Puzzle and Adventure Games)

5 Do Video Games Make us Evil? (First-Person Shooters)

6 Games and God’s Goodness (World-Builder and Tycoon Games)

7 Epilogue: Video Games and the Meaning of Life

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)