Resolving the gamer’s dilemma

Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):11-16 (2012)
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Abstract

Morgan Luck raises a potentially troubling problem for gamers who enjoy video games that allow the player to commit acts of virtual murder. The problem simply is that the arguments typically advanced to defend virtual murder in video games would appear to also support video games that allowed gamers to commit acts of virtual paedophilia. Luck’s arguments are persuasive, however, there is one line of argument that he does not consider, which may provide the relevant distinction: as virtual paedophilia involves the depiction of sexual acts involving children, it is therefore an instance of child pornography. I argue that virtual paedophilia involves the depiction of sexual acts involving children, which amounts to child pornography. I then draw on arguments to show that child pornography is morally objectionable. Finally, depictions of virtual murder are not instances of pornography, and so are not morally objectionable for this reason. So, there is a relevant moral distinction to draw between virtual murder and virtual paedophilia that is able to justify the former but not the latter.

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Christopher Bartel
Appalachian State University

References found in this work

Virtual child pornography: The eroticization of inequality.Neil Levy - 2002 - Ethics and Information Technology 4 (4):319-323.
Erotic art and pornographic pictures.Jerrold Levinson - 2005 - Philosophy and Literature 29 (1):228-240.
What is pornography?Michael C. Rea - 2001 - Noûs 35 (1):118–145.
No Plaything: Ethical Issues Concerning Child-pornography.Peter J. King - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3):327-345.

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