Episode 12: Violence in Video Games / November 13, 2020

With Dr Rebecca Davnall

Hosted by Kate Moody

Edited by Constantinos Stylianou

Posted in Main feed Moral Philosophy

Why do we think of some violent acts in video games as wrong, and others not? In this episode, Katie Moody speaks to Dr. Rebecca Davnall, a lecturer in philosophy and game design studies at the University of Liverpool, about whether actions in video games can be morally wrong.

When we speak about violent acts in video games, we often think that they have no moral weight because they aren’t real. But why then, would we consider carrying out virtual acts of abuse to be morally wrong? In this episode Katie Moody speaks to Dr Rebecca Davnall, a lecturer in philosophy and game design studies at the University of Liverpool. They discuss whether video games make us more violent, why some acts seem wrong in video games, and the duty of both players and developers to be mindful of negative representations in video games.

01:42 – Do video games make us more violent?

02:45 – The Gamer’s Dilemma

07:40 – Real world injustices in games

08:04 – Using social issues in games respectfully

10:07 – Are some acts in games morally wrong?

11:57 – Characterising the act of gaming

16:51 – Representation in games

18:53 – The duty of the player and the developer in being mindful of representations

Further Reading:

Davnall, R., 2020. What Does the Gamer Do?. Ethics and Information Technology. 10.1007/s10676-020-09558-8

Joshua D. Greene et al 2001, 'An fMRI Investigation of Emotional Engagement in Moral Judgement', Science 293: 2105-2108

Davnall, R., 2018. Grand Theft Argument: the Problem with Paradigm Cases of Virtual Violence. Copenhagen, The Philosophy of Computer Games Conference.