Value, violence, and the ethics of gaming

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Publication Date



I argue for two theses. First, many arguments against violent gaming rely on what I call the contamination thesis, drawing their conclusions by claiming that violent gaming contaminates real world interactions. I argue that this thesis is empirically and philosophically problematic. Second, I argue that rejecting the contamination thesis does not entail that all video games are morally unobjectionable. The violence within a game can be evaluated in terms of the values the game cultivates, reinforces, denigrates, or disrespects. Games which present violence in ways that disrespect objects of values are more objectionable than violent games that reinforce or cultivate those values. The resulting analysis evaluates games on a case-by-case basis and pays particular attention to the representational context of the violence.


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Ethics and Information Technology


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