Virtual Violence: The Moral Status of Virtual Agents

Event Name Virtual Violence: The Moral Status of Virtual Agents
Start Date 6th May 2014 5:00pm
End Date 6th May 2014 6:00pm
Duration 1 hour

Speaker: Henry S. Thompson, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Open to all.

In this talk I explore what is involved when our moral judgements of violence are confronted by  virtual violence. Can we learn anything about the difference between 'good' and 'bad' violence by considering virtual violence?

  • I'll begin with an introduction to violence in video games, setting out some dimensions of variation and focussing on one part of the resulting space, namely games known as 'First Person Shooters' (FPSes).
  • I'll touch briefly on some of the long-running debates around such games, then consider the possibility that FPSs are an example (within the larger space of narrative games) of the early stages of a new art-form, and that our analysis of the moral status of those that play them must take this into account.
  • I'll conclude with an attempt to analyse the notions of agency and choice, as they are experienced in FPSs, by circling back to a version of my initial question: what does a violent video game teach its players about their humanity?