Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):225-237 (2020)

The 'Gamer's Dilemma' is the problem of why some actions occurring in video game contexts seem to have similar, albeit attenuated, kinds of moral significance to their real-world equivalents, while others do not. In this paper, I argue that much of the confusion in the literature on this problem is not ethical but metaphysical. The Gamer's Dilemma depends on a particular theory of the virtual, which I call 'inflationary', according to which virtual worlds are a metaphysical novelty generated almost exclusively by video games. Actions performed in virtual worlds really belong to the kinds of action they appear to—'virtual murder' is a kind of murder. Inflationary theories are contrasted with 'deflationary' theories which, in effect, consider video games purely as systems for generating images, and thus the gamer as a consumer of media images. Inflationary theories struggle to explain why video games produce this unique metaphysical novelty; deflationary theories fail to do justice to the intuition that there is some significant difference between the gamer and the consumer of other media forms. In place of either, I sketch a theory of the gamer as performer, primarily by analogy with stage and cinema actors, which I suggest captures more of the moral complexity of the gamer's action.
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DOI 10.1007/s10676-020-09558-8
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts.Kendall L. Walton - 1990 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49 (2):161-166.

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