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.


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