DOING philosophy with video games

Panelists: Stefano Gualeni (University of Malta, Malta), Ida Marie Toft (Concordia University, Canada, Copenhagen Game Collective), Pietro Righi Riva (Santa Ragione, Italy), Sonia Fizek (Berlin), Martin Pichlmair (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Hanna Wirman (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)

‘DOING philosophy with video games’ is a panel discussion at its second installment. It brings together scholars and game designers who specifically use interactive virtual worlds to communicate their philosophical ideas and their cultural analysis. The theoretical foundation for this panel series is inspired by the growing interest towards academic research pursued through active ‘doing’ and ‘experimenting’ as well as by the idea of ‘building’ as an academic practice in the connotation introduced by the American scholar Davis Baird in his 2004 book Things Knowledge: A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments. According to Baird’s view, ‘building’ – doing, constructing as a heuristic practice – offers an opportunity “to correct the discursive and linguistic bias of the humanities. According to this view, we should be open to communicating scholarship through artifacts, whether digital or not.”

The idea of pursuing philosophy materially, that is through crafting and experiencing, in the age of interactive digital media is founded on two core beliefs:

1. The possibility to utilize computer simulations and video games as viable mediators of philosophical thought (as recently pointed out in Stefano Gualeni’s 2015 book Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools), and

2. The persuasion that designing interactive worlds, interfaces and experiences is in itself a deeply philosophical activity, both in its analytical dimensions and in its unique projectual ones.

In this specific iteration of the ‘DOING philosophy with video games’ panel, and in relation to the theme of this year’s conference, we asked the panelists to focus their short presentations – and the ensuing discussions – on dissecting only one individual design decision of theirs, explaining in which way they believe that philosophical (or more largely cultural) meaning can emerge from it.

This magnifying glass on the praxis of pursuing knowledge through digital ‘doing’ will, we hope, encourage discussions concerning the possibilities, the limitations, the hermeneutical horizons, and the dangers of using games and game technologies to pursue philosophical pursuits.