, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 277-287

Is it wrong to play violent video games?

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Abstract

Many people have a strong intuition that there is something morallyobjectionable about playing violent video games, particularly withincreases in the number of people who are playing them and the games'alleged contribution to some highly publicized crimes. In this paper,I use the framework of utilitarian, deontological, and virtue ethicaltheories to analyze the possibility that there might be some philosophicalfoundation for these intuitions. I raise the broader question of whetheror not participating in authentic simulations of immoral acts in generalis wrong. I argue that neither the utilitarian, nor the Kantian hassubstantial objections to violent game playing, although they offersome important insights into playing games in general and what it ismorally to be a ``good sport.'' The Aristotelian, however, has a plausibleand intuitive way to protest participation in authentic simulations ofviolent acts in terms of character: engaging in simulated immoral actserodes one's character and makes it more difficult for one to live afulfilled eudaimonic life.