Pornography, ethics, and video games

Ethics and Information Technology 15 (1):25-34 (2013)

Authors
Stephanie Patridge
Otterbein College
Abstract
In a recent and provocative essay, Christopher Bartel attempts to resolve the gamer’s dilemma. The dilemma, formulated by Morgan Luck, goes as follows: there is no principled distinction between virtual murder and virtual pedophilia. So, we’ll have to give up either our intuition that virtual murder is morally permissible—seemingly leaving us over-moralizing our gameplay—or our intuition that acts of virtual pedophilia are morally troubling—seemingly leaving us under-moralizing our game play. Bartel’s attempted resolution relies on establishing the following three theses: (1) virtual pedophilia is child pornography, (2) the consumption of child pornography is morally wrong, and (3) virtual murder is not murder. Relying on Michael Rea’s definition of pornography, I argue that we should reject thesis one, but since Bartel’s moral argument in thesis two does not actually rely thesis one that his resolution is not thereby undermined. Still, even if we grant that there are adequate resources internal to Bartel’s account to technically resolve the gamer’s dilemma his reasoning is still unsatisfying. This is so because Bartel follows Neil Levy in arguing that virtual pedophilia is wrong because it harms women. While I grant Levy’s account, I argue that this is the wrong kind of reason to resolve the gamer’s dilemma because it is indirect. What we want is to know what is wrong with virtual child pornography itself. Finally, I suggest alternate moral resources for resolving the gamer’s dilemma that are direct in a way that Bartel’s resources are not.
Keywords Ethics   Gamer's dilemma   Pornography   Video games
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10676-012-9310-1
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,694
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Resolving the Gamer’s Dilemma.Christopher Bartel - 2012 - Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):11-16.
A Sensible Antiporn Feminism.A. W. Eaton - 2007 - Ethics 117 (4):674-715.
The Incorrigible Social Meaning of Video Game Imagery.Stephanie Patridge - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 13 (4):303-312.
Why Pornography Can't Be Art.Christy Mag Uidhir - 2009 - Philosophy and Literature 33 (1):193-203.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Symbolic-Consequences Argument in the Sex Robot Debate.John Danaher - 2017 - In John Danaher & Neil McArthur (eds.), Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
A New Solution to the Gamer’s Dilemma.Rami Ali - 2015 - Ethics and Information Technology 17 (4):267-274.
Free Will and Moral Responsibility in Video Games.Christopher Bartel - 2015 - Ethics and Information Technology 17 (4):285-293.
Players, Characters, and the Gamer's Dilemma.Craig Bourne & Emily Caddick Bourne - 2019 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (2):133-143.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Are Video Games Art?Aaron Smuts - 2005 - Contemporary Aesthetics 3.
Resolving the Gamer’s Dilemma.Christopher Bartel - 2012 - Ethics and Information Technology 14 (1):11-16.
Locating the Wrongness in Ultra-Violent Video Games.David I. Waddington - 2007 - Ethics and Information Technology 9 (2):121-128.
Video Games and the Philosophy of Art.Aaron Smuts - 2005 - American Society for Aesthetics Newsletter.
Defending the Morality of Violent Video Games.Marcus Schulzke - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (2):127-138.
The Art of Videogames.Grant Tavinor - 2009 - Wiley-Blackwell.
The Incorrigible Social Meaning of Video Game Imagery.Stephanie Patridge - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 13 (4):303-312.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-01-05

Total views
115 ( #68,279 of 2,264,503 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #150,306 of 2,264,503 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature