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C. Thi Nguyen [34]C. Th Nguyen [1]
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C. Thi Nguyen
University of Utah
  1. Echo chambers and epistemic bubbles.C. Th Nguyen - 2020 - Episteme 17 (2):141-161.
    Recent conversation has blurred two very different social epistemic phenomena: echo chambers and epistemic bubbles. Members of epistemic bubbles merely lack exposure to relevant information and arguments. Members of echo chambers, on the other hand, have been brought to systematically distrust all outside sources. In epistemic bubbles, other voices are not heard; in echo chambers, other voices are actively undermined. It is crucial to keep these phenomena distinct. First, echo chambers can explain the post-truth phenomena in a way that epistemic (...)
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  2. Trust as an unquestioning attitude.C. Thi Nguyen - 2022 - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 7:214-244.
    According to most accounts of trust, you can only trust other people (or groups of people). To trust is to think that another has goodwill, or something to that effect. I sketch a different form of trust: the unquestioning attitude. What it is to trust, in this sense, is to settle one’s mind about something, to stop questioning it. To trust is to rely on a resource while suspending deliberation over its reliability. Trust lowers the barrier of monitoring, challenging, checking, (...)
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  3. Games: Agency as Art.C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Games occupy a unique and valuable place in our lives. Game designers do not simply create worlds; they design temporary selves. Game designers set what our motivations are in the game and what our abilities will be. Thus: games are the art form of agency. By working in the artistic medium of agency, games can offer a distinctive aesthetic value. They support aesthetic experiences of deciding and doing. -/- And the fact that we play games shows something remarkable about us. (...)
  4. Hostile Epistemology.C. Thi Nguyen - 2023 - Social Philosophy Today 39:9-32.
    Hostile epistemology is the study of how environmental features exploit our cognitive vulnerabilities. I am particularly interested in those vulnerabilities arise from the basic character of our epistemic lives. We are finite beings with limited cognitive resources, perpetually forced to reasoning a rush. I focus on two sources of unavoidable vulnerability. First, we need to use cognitive shortcuts and heuristics to manage our limited time and attention. But hostile forces can always game the gap between the heuristic and the ideal. (...)
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  5. Games and the art of agency.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (4):423-462.
    Games may seem like a waste of time, where we struggle under artificial rules for arbitrary goals. The author suggests that the rules and goals of games are not arbitrary at all. They are a way of specifying particular modes of agency. This is what make games a distinctive art form. Game designers designate goals and abilities for the player; they shape the agential skeleton which the player will inhabit during the game. Game designers work in the medium of agency. (...)
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  6. How Twitter gamifies communication.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - In Jennifer Lackey (ed.), Applied Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 410-436.
    Twitter makes conversation into something like a game. It scores our communication, giving us vivid and quantified feedback, via Likes, Retweets, and Follower counts. But this gamification doesn’t just increase our motivation to communicate; it changes the very nature of the activity. Games are more satisfying than ordinary life precisely because game-goals are simpler, cleaner, and easier to apply. Twitter is thrilling precisely because its goals have been artificially clarified and narrowed. When we buy into Twitter’s gamification, then our values (...)
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  7. Autonomy and Aesthetic Engagement.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Mind 129 (516):1127-1156.
    There seems to be a deep tension between two aspects of aesthetic appreciation. On the one hand, we care about getting things right. On the other hand, we demand autonomy. We want appreciators to arrive at their aesthetic judgments through their own cognitive efforts, rather than deferring to experts. These two demands seem to be in tension; after all, if we want to get the right judgments, we should defer to the judgments of experts. The best explanation, I suggest, is (...)
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  8. Transparency is Surveillance.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (2):331-361.
    In her BBC Reith Lectures on Trust, Onora O’Neill offers a short, but biting, criticism of transparency. People think that trust and transparency go together but in reality, says O'Neill, they are deeply opposed. Transparency forces people to conceal their actual reasons for action and invent different ones for public consumption. Transparency forces deception. I work out the details of her argument and worsen her conclusion. I focus on public transparency – that is, transparency to the public over expert domains. (...)
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  9. The seductions of clarity.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 89:227-255.
    The feeling of clarity can be dangerously seductive. It is the feeling associated with understanding things. And we use that feeling, in the rough-and-tumble of daily life, as a signal that we have investigated a matter sufficiently. The sense of clarity functions as a thought-terminating heuristic. In that case, our use of clarity creates significant cognitive vulnerability, which hostile forces can try to exploit. If an epistemic manipulator can imbue a belief system with an exaggerated sense of clarity, then they (...)
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  10. Cognitive islands and runaway echo chambers: problems for epistemic dependence on experts.C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - Synthese 197 (7):2803-2821.
    I propose to study one problem for epistemic dependence on experts: how to locate experts on what I will call cognitive islands. Cognitive islands are those domains for knowledge in which expertise is required to evaluate other experts. They exist under two conditions: first, that there is no test for expertise available to the inexpert; and second, that the domain is not linked to another domain with such a test. Cognitive islands are the places where we have the fewest resources (...)
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  11. Moral outrage porn.C. Thi Nguyen & Bekka Williams - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (2):147-72.
    We offer an account of the generic use of the term “porn”, as seen in recent usages such as “food porn” and “real estate porn”. We offer a definition adapted from earlier accounts of sexual pornography. On our account, a representation is used as generic porn when it is engaged with primarily for the sake of a gratifying reaction, freed from the usual costs and consequences of engaging with the represented content. We demonstrate the usefulness of the concept of generic (...)
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  12. Art as a Shelter from Science.C. Thi Nguyen - 2023 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 97 (1):172-201.
    In our life with science, we trust experts; we form judgements by inference from past evidence. We conduct ourselves very differently in the aesthetic domain. We avoid deferring to aesthetic experts. We form our judgements through direct perception of particulars rather than through inference. Why the difference? I suggest that we avoid aesthetic testimony and aesthetic inference, not because they’re unusable, but because we have adopted social norms to avoid them. Aesthetic appreciation turns out to be something like a game. (...)
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  13. Value Capture.C. Thi Nguyen - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    Value capture occurs when an agent’s values are rich and subtle; they enter a social environment that presents simplified — typically quantified — versions of those values; and those simplified articulations come to dominate their practical reasoning. Examples include becoming motivated by FitBit’s step counts, Twitter Likes and Re-tweets, citation rates, ranked lists of best schools, and Grade Point Averages. We are vulnerable to value capture because of the competitive advantage that such crisp and clear expressions of value have in (...)
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  14. Cultural appropriation and the intimacy of groups.C. Thi Nguyen & Matthew Strohl - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):981-1002.
    What could ground normative restrictions concerning cultural appropriation which are not grounded by independent considerations such as property rights or harm? We propose that such restrictions can be grounded by considerations of intimacy. Consider the familiar phenomenon of interpersonal intimacy. Certain aspects of personal life and interpersonal relationships are afforded various protections in virtue of being intimate. We argue that an analogous phenomenon exists at the level of large groups. In many cases, members of a group engage in shared practices (...)
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  15. The arts of action.C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (14):1-27.
    The theory and culture of the arts has largely focused on the arts of objects, and neglected the arts of action – the “process arts”. In the process arts, artists create artifacts to engender activity in their audience, for the sake of the audience’s aesthetic appreciation of their own activity. This includes appreciating their own deliberations, choices, reactions, and movements. The process arts include games, urban planning, improvised social dance, cooking, and social food rituals. In the traditional object arts, the (...)
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  16. Playfulness versus epistemic traps.C. Thi Nguyen - 2022 - In Mark Alfano, Colin Klein & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    What is the value of intellectual playfulness? Traditional characterizations of the ideal thinker often leave out playfulness; the ideal inquirer is supposed to be sober, careful, and conscientiousness. But elsewhere we find another ideal: the laughing sage, the playful thinker. These are models of intellectual playfulness. Intellectual playfulness, I suggest, is the disposition to try out alternate belief systems for fun – to try on radically different perspectives for the sheer pleasure of it. But what would the cog-nitive value be (...)
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  17. Philosophy of games.C. Thi Nguyen - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (8):e12426.
    What is a game? What are we doing when we play a game? What is the value of playing games? Several different philosophical subdisciplines have attempted to answer these questions using very distinctive frameworks. Some have approached games as something like a text, deploying theoretical frameworks from the study of narrative, fiction, and rhetoric to interrogate games for their representational content. Others have approached games as artworks and asked questions about the authorship of games, about the ontology of the work (...)
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  18. Monuments as commitments: How art speaks to groups and how groups think in art.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (4):971-994.
    Art can be addressed, not just to individuals, but to groups. Art can even be part of how groups think to themselves – how they keep a grip on their values over time. I focus on monuments as a case study. Monuments, I claim, can function as a commitment to a group value, for the sake of long-term action guidance. Art can function here where charters and mission statements cannot, precisely because of art’s powers to capture subtlety and emotion. In (...)
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  19. The uses of aesthetic testimony.C. Thi Nguyen - 2017 - British Journal of Aesthetics 57 (1):19-36.
    The current debate over aesthetic testimony typically focuses on cases of doxastic repetition — where, when an agent, on receiving aesthetic testimony that p, acquires the belief that p without qualification. I suggest that we broaden the set of cases under consideration. I consider a number of cases of action from testimony, including reconsidering a disliked album based on testimony, and choosing an artistic educational institution from testimony. But this cannot simply be explained by supposing that testimony is usable for (...)
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  20. Competition as cooperation.C. Thi Nguyen - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 44 (1):123-137.
    Games have a complex, and seemingly paradoxical structure: they are both competitive and cooperative, and the competitive element is required for the cooperative element to work out. They are mechanisms for transforming competition into cooperation. Several contemporary philosophers of sport have located the primary mechanism of conversion in the mental attitudes of the players. I argue that these views cannot capture the phenomenological complexity of game-play, nor the difficulty and moral complexity of achieving cooperation through game-play. In this paper, I (...)
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  21. Expertise and the fragmentation of intellectual autonomy.C. Thi Nguyen - 2018 - Philosophical Inquiries 6 (2):107-124.
    In The Great Endarkenment, Elijah Millgram argues that the hyper-specialization of expert domains has led to an intellectual crisis. Each field of human knowledge has its own specialized jargon, knowledge, and form of reasoning, and each is mutually incomprehensible to the next. Furthermore, says Millgram, modern scientific practical arguments are draped across many fields. Thus, there is no person in a position to assess the success of such a practical argument for themselves. This arrangement virtually guarantees that mistakes will accrue (...)
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  22. Trust and sincerity in art.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8:21-53.
    Our life with art is suffused with trust. We don’t just trust one another’s aesthetic testimony; we trust one another’s aesthetic actions. Audiences trust artists to have made it worth their while; artists trust audiences to put in the effort. Without trust, audiences would have little reason to put in the effort to understand difficult and unfamiliar art. I offer a theory of aesthetic trust, which highlights the importance of trust in aesthetic sincerity. We trust in another’s aesthetic sincerity when (...)
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  23. Engagement Account of Aesthetic Value.C. Thi Nguyen - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (1):91-93.
    I propose an account of aesthetic value, where aesthetic value lies in the process of aesthetic engagement: in our activity of perceiving, guiding our attention, interpreting, and otherwise wrestling with aesthetic objects. It also includes our social activities of engagement: arguing with each other, writing criticism, making top-ten lists. (This is a short summary of a view developed in greater detail elsewhere.).
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  24. Was it Polarization or Propaganda?C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Research 46:173-191.
    According to some, the current political fracture is best described as political polarization – where extremism and political separation infest an entire whole population. Political polarization accounts often point to the psychological phenomenon of belief polarization – where being in a like-minded groups tends to boost confidence. The political polarization story is an essentially symmetrical one, where both sides are subject to the same basic dividing forces and cognitive biases, and are approximately as blame-worthy. On a very different account, what's (...)
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  25. The opacity of play: a reply to commentators.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):448-475.
    This is a reply to commentators in the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport's special issue symposium on GAMES: AGENCY AS ART. I respond to criticisms concerning the value of achievement play and striving play, the transparency and opacity of play, the artistic status of games, and many more.
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  26. Autonomy, understanding, and moral disagreement.C. Thi Nguyen - 2010 - Philosophical Topics 38 (2):111-129.
    Should the existence of moral disagreement reduce one’s confidence in one’s moral judgments? Many have claimed that it should not. They claim that we should be morally self-sufficient: that one’s moral judgment and moral confidence ought to be determined entirely one’s own reasoning. Others’ moral beliefs ought not impact one’s own in any way. I claim that moral self-sufficiency is wrong. Moral self-sufficiency ignores the degree to which moral judgment is a fallible cognitive process like all the rest. In this (...)
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  27. Games Unlike Life.C. Thi Nguyen - 2023 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 23 (3).
    This is a reply to Elisabeth Camp's and Elijah Millgram's probing discussions of "Games and the Art of Agency", in a symposium in Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. Millgram argues that games cannot function as a guide to life, because they are too different from life. Games are limited in a special way: in life, we deliberate about what goals we want to take on, but in games, the goals are fixed and given to us. Camp argues that there (...)
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  28. The right way to play a game.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Game Studies 19 (1).
    Is there a right or wrong way to play a game? Many think not. Some have argued that, when we insist that players obey the rules of a game, we give too much weight to the author’s intent. Others have argued that such obedience to the rules violates the true purpose of games, which is fostering free and creative play. Both of these responses, I argue, misunderstand the nature of games and their rules. The rules do not tell us how (...)
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  29. Defending Games: Reply to Hurka, Kukla and Noë.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):317-337.
    This is my reply to commentators in the symposium on my book, GAMES: AGENCY AS ART. The symposium features commentary by Thomas Hurka, Quill Kukla, and Alva Noe, and originally appeared in Analysis 81 (2).
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  30. The aesthetics of rock climbing.C. Thi Nguyen - 2017 - The Philosophers' Magazine 78:37-43.
  31. Games and the moral transformation of violence.C. Thi Nguyen - 2018 - In Jon Robson & Grant Tavinor (eds.), The Aesthetics of Videogames. Routledge. pp. 181-197.
  32. An Ethics of Uncertainty.C. Thi Nguyen - 2011 - Dissertation, Ucla
    Moral reasoning is as fallible as reasoning in any other cognitive domain, but we often behave as if it were not. I argue for a form of epistemically-based moral humility, in which we downgrade our moral beliefs in the face of moral disagreement. My argument combines work in metaethics and moral intuitionism with recent developments in epistemology. I argue against any demands for deep self-sufficiency in moral reasoning. Instead, I argue that we need to take into account significant socially sourced (...)
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  33. The aesthetic homogenization of cities.C. Thi Nguyen - 2022 - Apa Studies 22 (1):7-10.
    Why are cities looking more and more alike? Why do hipster coffee shops and clothing boutiques all share that same vibe? One answer is that gentrification represents an invasive force that forcibly re-models cities, from the top-down, to meet the monotone eye of the gentrifier. Gentrification brings in external developers and designers, who create new businesses which all meet that one monotonous aesthetic mold. But I suggest, using work from Quill Kukla and Jane Jacobs, that this top-down model of gentrification (...)
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  34. Precis of Games: Agency as Art.C. Thi Nguyen - manuscript
    Games are a distinctive form of art — and very different from many traditional arts. Games work in the medium of agency. Game designers don’t just tell stories or create environments. They tell us what our abilities will be in the game. They set our motivations, by setting the scoring system and specifying the win-conditions. Game de-signers sculpt temporary agencies for us to occupy. And when we play games, we adopt these designed agencies, submerging ourselves in them, and taking on (...)
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  35. Review of Jennifer Lena's "Entitled: Discriminating Tastes and the Expansion of the Arts". [REVIEW]C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (2):257-261.