Evil in Virtual Worlds

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Evil in Virtual Worlds. Carl David Mildenberger The Philosophy of Computer Games, 7 th International Conference University of Bergen 2-4 October 2013. Agenda. Introduction Suicide ganking - an example of a virtual evil action? Suicide ganking, Kantianism, and consequentialism - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Evil in Virtual WorldsCarl David MildenbergerThe Philosophy of Computer Games, 7th International ConferenceUniversity of Bergen 2-4 October 2013

  • AgendaIntroductionSuicide ganking - an example of a virtual evil action?Suicide ganking, Kantianism, and consequentialismEvil in virtual worlds?Conclusion

    Agenda */9

  • 1. IntroductionPurpose: showing that there is something similar to morally evil actions in virtual worldse.g. in the virtual worlds of online computer gamesmy game of choice: EVE Online, CCP Games, 2003Motivation: a new dimension to a classical problemEvil is a classical problem in moral philosophyEvil often discussed in exemplary terms, notably example from real world battlefields: World War II, 9/11, ...And: in the light of the information revolution new battlefields emerge

    Do we abolish evil just because we interact in virtual worlds? evil... or only extremely bad? I think that evil exists, but never mind. is there evil in games? I think that yes, but is EVE a game anyway?Introduction */9

  • 2. A Suicide Gank (SG) scenarioSuicide ganks */9

  • 2. Suicide ganks: a summaryIn purely material terms: on average victim loses 12, perpetrators lose 0.5.No short-term/material or long-term/strategic benefit for perpetratorsHardly and act of self-defenseNo redistribution from the rich to the poor (in Robin Hood style)Neither envy nor anger involved, rather boredomGankers enjoy to be mean, they like getting angry mails from the people whose most precious ship they destroyed. The conflict itself is entertaining to them. But suicide ganks are not a planned thing and there is nothing personal in it. The victims have done nothing to make the gankers angry (Eriksen, 2011)Excessively more destructive than other forms of violenceRare phenomenonPredominantly young males involved

    Suicide ganks */9

  • 3. SGs, Kantianism,and consequentialism

    SGs, Kantianism, Conseqeuntialism 6/9What does really count in evaluating evil actions? E.g. Kant vs ArendtAs for the intentions behind SGsneither frailty, nor impureness, nor the all too human motives of self-interest, greed, covetousness, anger, envy, or cowardice underlie SGsrather: a rejection of the moral law in an act of rebellion using the depraved motive of boredom as guiding principleAs for the consequences of SGsboth parties loseexcessively more destructive even than instrumental violence: a 12:1 loss-redistribution ratio compared to 4:1 to piracynot the absolute amount counts but the fact that people are willling to invest considerable amounts of effort and time, and to pay a certain amount of money, so that other, innocent players lose 50 times their investment

  • Evil in virtual worlds */9

    4. The problem of evil in virtual worlds

  • 4. Evil in virtual worldsSubjective experience mattersthe avatar is not a tool it involves identity-buildingThe player is the character. Youre not role-playing as a being, you are that being; youre not assuming an identity, you are that identity; youre not projecting a self, you are that self (Bartle, 2004, pp. 155)losing 12 or 0.5 is not the same as killing and being killedVirtual moral code matterssome forms of violence are backed up by the in-game rules (cf. Chapman and Mays: lethal fastball is not murder)making other people lose 12 might not be considered evilbut: killing a ship is evil, as forum discussions showThe nature of virtual spacea space without physical boundariesanalogy to states like in war, i.e. a temporal instead of a spatial relationEvil in virtual worlds */9

  • 5. ConclusionConclusion */9

    Schwerpunkt dieses Vortrags:Eine meiner Thesen vorstellen, konkretisieren und untermauern.

    Feedback einholen fr die Punkte, die mir selber noch nicht ganz klar sind in der Arbeit.