April 16, 2009

The Philosophy of Computer Games

by Nick Montfort · , 9:57 pm

If you are into computer games – and particularly if you are also into philosophy and/or already live in Norway (Scott? Scott?) – you should check out this third international conference in a series, “The Philosophy of Computer Games 2009.” It’s being held in Oslo August 12-15 2009.

Call for Papers

We hereby invite scholars in any field who take a professional interest in the phenomenon of
computer games to submit papers to the international conference “The Philosophy of Computer
Games 2009”, to be held in Oslo, Norway, on August 13-15, 2009.

Accepted papers will have a clear focus on philosophy and philosophical issues in relation to
computer games. They will also attempt to use specific examples rather than merely invoke
“computer games” in general terms. We invite submissions focusing on, but not limited to, the
following three headings:

Fictionality and Interaction
Computer games are often conceived as a setting for fictional narratives, facts, objects and events,
although the interactive setting is thought to give fictionality a special character and to be
intertwined with non-fictional aspects in various ways. We invite papers on relevant discussions of
fictionality, narrative, fictional objects, simulation, virtuality, and kindred cognitive notions like
make-believe, pretense, and imagination.

Defining Computer Games
Is it possible to point to some defining characteristic(s) of computer games? We are especially
interested in discussions of formal definitions of computer games in terms of characteristics such as
rules, play, representation, computation, affordances, interaction, negotiable consequences, and so on.
We welcome both constructive and critical discussions, as long as they are directed at clearly
articulated proposals.

Ethical and Political Issues
What are the ethical responsibilities of game-makers in relation to individual gamers and society in
general? What role, if any, can games serve as a critical cultural corrective in relation to traditional
forms of media and communicative practices, for example in economy and politics? Also, what is
the nature of the ethical norms that apply within the gaming context, and what are the factors that
allow or delimit philosophical justifications of their application there or elsewhere?

Your abstract should not exceed 1000 words. If your submission falls under one of the three
headings, please indicate which one. Send your abstract to submissions@gamephilosophy.org. All
submitted abstracts will be subject to double blind peer review, and the program committee will
make a final selection of papers for the conference on the basis of this. Full manuscripts must be
submitted by August 8, and will be made available on the conference website.

Deadline for submissions is June 1, 2009. Notification of accepted submissions will be sent out by
June 10, 2009.

Olav Asheim
Miguel Sicart
Frans Mäyrä
Patrick Coppock
Sten Ludvigsen
Ole Ertløv Hansen
Stephan Günzel
Runje Klevjer
John Richard Sageng
Ragnhild Tronstad

The conference is a collaboration between the following institutions:

• Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the
University of Oslo, Norway
• Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo, Norway
• Digital Games Research Center, University of Potsdam, Germany
• Department of Social, Cognitive and Quantitative Science at the University
of Modena & Reggio Emilia, Italy
• Nordic Game Research Network
• Intermedia, University of Oslo, Norway
• Games Research Lab, University of Tampere, Finland
• Center for Computer Games Research at the IT-University of Copenhagen,
• Philosophical Project Centre (FPS), Oslo, Norway
• Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway

For more information, visit www.gamephilosophy.org

4 Responses to “The Philosophy of Computer Games”

  1. Stephen Denier Says:

    I am extremely interested in the philosophy of computers, computer games, physics, science, ethics, humanities, religion, and much more. I love to learn and would really enjoy collaborating and possibly discussing philosophical issues together as a group, in order to refine and clarify some of my ideas. My website is a place for me to share my thoughts, ideas, paintings, web designs, interactive flash media, and anything else I have created. I am learning to program in visual Basic and with Action Script 2.0. I would love to create video games using these media, to just discuss their nature, or to just be a part of a like-minded cause larger than myself. Thank You.

  2. Mark J. Nelson Says:

    Your post title initially made me think that publisher who keeps coming out with “The Philosophy of _X_” titles (“The Philosophy of the Matrix”; “Harry Potter and Philosophy”; etc.), had decided to do one for games. Seems like there’s room for one of those; maybe the folks putting on this conference could collect a volume.

  3. Nick Montfort Says:

    There is one – The Philosophy of Zelda.

  4. Scott Rettberg Says:

    UiB is hosting an international seminar on the philosophy of wine next week. Both look interesting, though I still need to finish writing the essays I promised people in 2008 before I whip up a Heideggarian reading of the Wii Fit. Not to mention my poor neglected novel.

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