Philosophy Through Video Games

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Overview

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

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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

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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.

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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

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