Week Four

This weeks reading –
Ethics in the Virtual World:
Chapter 3; Hume’s Strength of Feeling

What is ‘sentimentalism’?

Sentimentalism is all about our feelings. Instead of making their actions based on reason, someone who is a sentimentalist will have the tenancy to base their actions and reactions from emotions. In philosophy,  Sentimentalism is usually contrasted with “rationalism”. One of the main characteristics of sentimentalism is that emphatically showing ones feelings did not imply weakness but rather displayed one to be a moral person.

If we find something disgusting is that thing morally wrong? 

Hume referred to the link between disgust and how it might be used to inform moral judgement as a form of what he referred to as disapprobation. Garry Young suggests that what we judge to be morally disgusting may be largely down to social conditioning. Children have grown up finding things like vomit and faeces disgusting because “adults direct the language of disgust to what they see as moral violation” [page 28]. It would seem that the use of the word disgusting is most usually implying negative moral attitude. This is different within a gamespace however and may not be as one sided. “Because of the altered contingencies of gamespace, this would make the reaction (of disgust) unwarranted. [page 35]

Does engaging in ultra-violent video games degrade one’s ability to show empathy?

There is not enough research to show whether this is true or not however I would have to say that it does no degrade ones ability to show empathy. A study performed in 2002 noted that “children also reported later copying of characters’ actions in fantasy play, for example saying: ‘They try to act like them, like wrestling’. One child qualified his endorsement: ‘But not all killing. Like if the game has you killing something or whatever” It is clear by reading the child’s statement that they can still differentiate between fantasy violence which they are okay with copying and the real world violence which they refrain from emulating . [page 33]

Young, Garry. Ethics In The Virtual World. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.

Week Three

This weeks reading –

Ethics in the Virtual World: Chapter 1; Introduction and Chapter 2; To Prohibit or Not Prohibit, That is the Question

Are some forms of fiction (games) unimaginable for some individuals to engage with? 

Yes, I believe so. There are different limits to which people create their make-believe or are reluctant to go along with such make believe. The term “imaginative resistance” is used by Tamar Szabó Gendler to describe ones unwillingness to imagine certain fictitious content. There are many games out there which often require people to assume roles of different characters/jobs or

Is it right to prohibit certain acts in the virtual space? What might those acts be and under what circumstances?

It is the developers (humans) who give meaning and substance to video games. They decide the rules and can create and imagine anything they like. This makes prohibiting things in games far different that prohibiting things in real life

I believe that is is right to prohibit certain acts within a virtual space, especially when it may impact the moral values of the player. Things such as rape and child abuse should be prohibited within video games no matter what the age restriction. In chapter 7 Garry Young imagines a world in which gender-oppression does not exist, stating that according to Dr. Stephanie Partridge, gender-oppressive images would “likely lose their incorrigible meaning”. In this world a game such a RapeLay may not have been subject to as much moral scrutiny. This world does not exist however and so games like this a widely considered morally wrong to most of society.

Other violent acts such as murder and battery however should be allowed. This may seem a tad hypocritical, but personally I believe that child abuse or rape is on another level than murder or battery. There is also evidence that playing violent video games reduces the amount of real world crime. A study by psychologist Christopher Ferguson concluded that playing violent video games coincided with a fall in violent crime perpetrated by those in the 12-17 age group. [guardian]

Young, Garry. Ethics In The Virtual World. Durham, UK: Acumen Publishing Ltd, 2013. Print.

Stuart, Keith. “Video Games Are Not Making Us More Violent, Study Shows”. the Guardian. N.p., 2014. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.



A little bit of research

The Ethics of Game Design

This article from Gamasutra is a great read and gives an overview of the Ethics of Game design. Talking about what many games have done in the past and how people have reacted to them. As well as how these reactions have influenced future game developers when creating new game ideas. The one line that stood out to me was a quote from a Lt Col who said – “There is a fine line and you don’t want to step over it,”


Takahashi, Dean. “Gamasutra – Ethics Of Game Design”. Gamasutra.com. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.

Week Two

This weeks reading –

What is Ethics
If It’s Legal, It’s Ethical,Right?

What is ethics?

Ethics is a term derived from the Greek work ethos which can mean custom, habit, character or disposition. It is essentially a system of moral principles to which people live their lives – making decisions which impact themselves and society. Ethics is the very basis of what we humans refer to as “right or wrong” and helps us to determine whether actions are in fact good or bad.

What use is ethics? 

There are many moral issues throughout the world which people are passionate about. This is all well and good, but the passion can sometimes cause people to follow their hearts instead of their brains. What ethics does is provide us with a framework that we can use to find outcomes to difficult issues. Ethics does not however provide the right answer to ever single issue. It is instead “a set of principles that can be applied to particular cases to give those involved some clear choices.”

Are ethical statements objectively true?

I lean more to the side of the ethical non-realists on this issue. There are many different ethical codes and moral beliefs which people follow, many of which constantly are changing and so something that is not ethical to one person may be seen as ethical in someone else’s eyes. The realist idea that human beings discover ethical truths is a nice one, but I simply see ethical statements as way to provide knowledge of a persons opinions/feelings.

Where does ethics come from?

Ethics has sprouted and grown from various different areas of human existence.

  • God and religion
  • Human conscience and intuition
  • A rational moral cost-benefit analysis of actions and their effects
  • The example of good human beings
  • A desire for the best for people in each unique situation
  • Political Power

Are there universal moral rules?

There are two different schools of thought when it comes to debating this question – Moral absolutism and Moral relativism.

Moral absolutists believe that there are some moral rules that are always true and that they apply to everyone. Any acts which break these rules are immoral and are wrong in themselves, regardless of the circumstances or consequences. Many religious views of ethics tend to be absolutist. Many people disagree with the idea of moral absolutism because the consequences of an act or the circumstances surrounding it are relevant to whether that act is good or bad.

Moral relativists argue that what is “good” refers to the things that a particular group of people approve of. They believe that relativism respects the diversity of human societies and responds to the different circumstances surrounding human acts.

What is the difference between ethics and law?

Law and Ethics usually work well together hand in hand, and their differences are what make them work in equilibrium. Ethics are social guidelines based on moral principles where laws are rules and regulations created by the state. Laws may have specific penalties and consequences when broken whereas ethics have no such penalties or fines. “Both set standards of expected societal actions, but laws enforce actions while ethics set forth social guidelines.”[Ask – Government & Law]

Weinstein, Bruce. “If It’s Legal, It’s Ethical…Right?”. Bloomberg.com. N.p., 2007. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.

“BBC – Ethics – Introduction To Ethics: Ethics: A General Introduction”. Bbc.co.uk. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.

“What Is The Difference Between Ethics And Law?”. Ask. Web. 8 Jan. 2016.