Book: The Aesthetics of Videogames

51TXy-vm4VL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_An important book on the aesthetics of computer games will soon be out, edited by Jon Robson and Grant Tavinor.  From the description:

“This collection of essays is devoted to the philosophical examination of the aesthetics of videogames. Videogames represent one of the most significant developments in the modern popular arts, and it is a topic that is attracting much attention among philosophers of art and aestheticians. As a burgeoning medium of artistic expression, videogames raise entirely new aesthetic concerns, particularly concerning their ontology, interactivity, and aesthetic value. The essays in this volume address a number of pressing theoretical issues related to these areas, including but not limited to: the nature of performance and identity in videogames; their status as an interactive form of art; the ethical problems raised by violence in videogames; and the representation of women in videogames and the gaming community. The Aesthetics of Videogames is an important contribution to analytic aesthetics that deals with an important and growing art form.”


PCG2017 Workshop: New Game Definitions


28. November 2017

Krakow, Gołębia 16 street, room 42

385940773_1280x720The aim of the workshop is to survey different options for answering the questions “What is a game?” and “What is a computer game?” and to get a feel for future directions that reflections on these questions may take. While keeping an eye on conventional notions such as voluntary goals, play and make-believe, the workshop will explore unconventional notions like artifact roles, status functions and new roles for play. The workshop will also discuss  foundational issues for the project of defining games, such as definition types, essences, family resemblances or nominalism. The workshop is intended as a preparatory meeting, so please contact the organizers if you would like to participate in future events.




10.00 Introduction

Sebastian Möring and John R. Sageng


11.00 On Defining  

Anita Leirfall


11.30 The Wittgensteinian Thesis on Defining and Game Definitions 

Oliver Laas


12.00 The Game as the Partner in Play: A Posthuman Approach to the  Definition of the Video Game Object

Justyna Janik


12.30 Games as Status Functions

John R. Sageng


13.00. Lunch


14.00  How to Compare Game Definitions

Pawel Grabarczyk


14.30 Self-playing games: Rethinking the State of Digital Play

Sonia Fizek


15.00 On the Technological Specificity of Playable Artifacts

Olli Leino


15.30 Common discussion


Discussion forum:

Organizers: Sebastian Möring and John R. Sageng

Game: Something Something Soup Something

Stefano Gualeni has made a philosophical game that has received a great deal of interest. There is a recent article about it at Kotaku.

somethingsomethingStefano writes “Something Something Soup Something is my latest attempt at ‘playable philosophy’.  The game, if we agree to call it such, can be freely played on (or downloaded from) the official website:

It was developed at the Institute of Digital Games (University of Malta) with the support of Maltco Lotteries.

I and the rest of the developers prefer to think of it as an interactive thought experiment: a piece of technology that discloses situations and presents notions in ways that are interactive and negotiable (and maybe even playful).

Something Something Soup Something it is designed to reveal, through its gameplay, that even a familiar, ordinary concept like ‘soup’ is vague, shifting, and impossible to define exhaustively. It is also designed to stimulate reflection on the possibility to analytically define what a game is: does the presence of several ‘ludological ingredients’ warrant its definition as a video game? What if only a part of it could be formally recognized as a video game? Is it even wise or productive to strive for a complete theoretical understanding of concepts like ‘soup’ or ‘game’?”

Game duration: about 6 minutes.

Something Something Soup Something was developed in collaboration with:

Isabelle Kniestedt – Art, programming
Johnathan Harrington – Field research and additional design
Marcello Gomez Maureira – Web-design and additional programming
Riccardo Fassone – Music and sound effects
Jasper Schellekens – Narrator, research support

Book: Experience Machines – The Philosophy of Virtual Worlds

5855043af5ba74113c8a1ef1Mark Silcox is publishing an edited book with contributions that relate to Nozick’s experience machine argument as applied to virtual worlds. The book is highly relevant to the philosophy of computer games, and it has contributions from several members of the Game Philosophy Network. The ToC is available in the preview on the publishers site.   From the description:

“In his classic work Anarchy, State and Utopia, Robert Nozick asked his readers to imagine being permanently plugged into a ‘machine that would give you any experience you desired’. He speculated that, in spite of the many obvious attractions of such a prospect, most people would choose against passing the rest of their lives under the influence of this type of invention. Nozick thought (and many have since agreed) that this simple thought experiment had profound implications for how we think about ethics, political justice, and the significance of technology in our everyday lives. 

Nozick’s argument was made in 1974, about a decade before the personal computer revolution in Europe and North America. Since then, opportunities for the citizens of industrialized societies to experience virtual worlds and simulated environments have multiplied to an extent that no philosopher could have predicted. The authors in this volume re-evaluate the merits of Nozick’s argument, and use it as a jumping–off point for the philosophical examination of subsequent developments in culture and technology, including a variety of experience-altering cybernetic technologies such as computer games, social media networks, HCI devices, and neuro-prostheses.”

Journal of the Philosophy of Games is Open for General Submissions

greencover3onlinefirstcoverminimizedWe now open Journal of the Philosophy of Games (JPG) for general submissions, and welcome philosophers, game theorists and scholars in other fields of studies to submit papers for the regular issues.

JPG explores philosophical questions about the general nature of games and gameplay and about their interrelation with technology, art, communication and social interaction. More information about the submissions and the author guidelines is found at the journal website.

We welcome submissions of regular articles, discussion notes and book reviews. Please contact the editorial board to ascertain that a book review will fit the journal profile.

Submissions may be submitted via the submission system on the journal website, and will receive double-blind peer review from renowned scholars in philosophy and game studies.

The Journal of the Philosophy of Games (JPG) is now publishing the first manuscripts in our “Online First Issue“, which will be converted into a regular issue by the end of the year.

We aim to have the papers indexed in the major relevant library indexing databases.

JPG is an open-access publication hosted by the University of Oslo, Norway.

“Online First Issue” of Journal of the Philosophy of Games

greencover3onlinefirstcoverminimizedJournal of the Philosophy of Games now has its first publications available in the Online First Issue. We will publish the accepted papers as they become available in this issue, which will be converted to one or two regular issues by the end of the year.

Our first article is titled “The Incompatibility of Games and Artworks” and is written by Brock Rough. The paper is utilizing a definition of games derived from Bernard Suits to argue that for an artist to intend something as a game is to intend essential constitutive conditions that precludes it from being both a game and an artwork.

We also publish a book review of Stefano Gualeni’s book “Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools” written by Jonne Arjonta. Gualeni’s book explores the topic of how computer games can be used for philosophical reflection. Arjonta provides an overview of its main points of discussion as well as critical notes on its approach to the topic.

Call for Papers for PCG2017: Action in Computer Games

krakowWe hereby invite scholars in any field of studies who take a professional interest in the philosophy of computer games to submit papers to the 11th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games, to be held in Kraków, Poland, November 29-December 1, 2017. The notion of action connects central topics in the study of games to philosophical problems such as questions of will, intentionality and the autonomy of an agent. For this conference, we invite papers that explore ethical, experiential, aesthetic and ontological aspects of acting in a computer game. Problem of action in games can be approached from several perspectives and analyzed through different research questions. A few examples of such perspectives/questions are:

Structure of action
What is the ontological status of interactive works?
What is the ecological structure of a computer game?
How are actionable structures signified in a game?

Real, virtual, and fictional actions
Are there real and fictional aspects of a game act, and how we distinguish between them?
What is a virtual action?
How can meaning in games be created via passivity or idleness?

Norms and rules
How do ethical or social norms apply to the game acts?
How and to what extent are player actions prescribed or prohibited by gameplay norms?

How do players act?
What kinds of motivations serve to define typical player actions?
What characterizes the existential situation of a player?
How are play actions experienced?
What significance does the concept of agency have in the player’s experience?

In-game agency
What does it mean to act via an avatar?
What is the character of in-game embodiment?
Is the avatar truly an agent?
To what extent can the game itself be considered an agent?

The papers should present original (i.e. not published or presented elsewhere) research. Accepted papers will have a clear focus on philosophy and philosophical issues in relation to computer games. They will refer to specific examples from computer games rather than merely invoke them in general terms.

In addition to papers that are directed at the main theme we invite a smaller number of papers in an “open” category. We are especially interested in papers that aim to continue discussions from earlier conferences in this series.

The abstracts should have a maximum 1000 words (maximum 700 words for the main text and 300 for the bibliography). The deadline for submissions is Midnight GMT, 01.09. 2017. 
Please submit your abstract through All submitted abstracts will be subject to double blind peer review. Notification of accepted submissions will be sent out by 30.09 2017. Participation requires that 
a paper draft is submitted by 22.11, 2017 and will be made available on the conference website.

We also issue a call for workshops or panels to be held on November 28. Please submit a short proposal to the program committee chair by 01.09.2017 if you are interested in organizing an event.

For information about the conference please visit and

Conference: Video Games and Virtual Ethics – July 21-22, 2017

This conference should certainly be of interest to many game philosophers. It is held July 21-22, 2017 at the Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London.  Unfortunately, the submission deadline has passed.

From the conference description:

“Is it morally wrong to play violent video games? Academics across numerous disciplines have taken an interest in these issues. Excellent work can be found in philosophy, psychology, media studies, sociology, and literary studies. However academics within these disciplines often do not talk to each other about their shared interest in games. With this conference, our aim is to promote cross-disciplinary dialogue on these issues.”

Invited speakers:

Christopher Bartel (Philosophy, Appalachian State University)
Morgan Luck (Philosophy, Charles Sturt University)
Esther MacCallum-Stewart (Games Research, Staffordshire University)
Stephanie Patridge (Philosophy, Otterbein University)
Miguel Sicart (Game Studies, IT, University of Copenhagen)
Garry Young (Philosophy and Psychology, Nottingham Trent University).

The conference is announced at the webpages of The Open University, and has support from the British Society of Aesthetics and the Institute of Philosophy and the Institute of Philosophy.

Committee Leaders for the Next PCG Conference

The next PCG conference will be held in Krakow, and we are very happy that Tomasz
Z. Majkowski  and Pawel Grabarczyk have accepted the respective roles of organizing committee leader and program committee leatomaszandpawelder.

The full committees will get constituted shortly, and a call for papers will follow in a few weeks.

The current thinking is to have the conference from November 28 to December 1 this year.

We can also mention that we will try to better reach out to the analytic philosophy audience for this conference. The conference series is interdisciplinary and the next conference will be as open as ever to every style of philosophical thinking, but we would like to make an extra effort this year to reestablish contact with this group of philosophers.