The Ethics of Choice in Single-Player Video Games

  • Erica L. NeelyEmail author
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 134)


Video games are a specific kind of virtual world which many engage with on a daily basis; as such, we cannot ignore the values they embody. In this paper I argue that it is possible to cause moral harm or benefit within a video game, specifically by drawing attention to the nature of the choices both players and designers make. I discuss ways in which games attempt to represent morality, arguing that while flawed, even games with seemingly superficial devices such as morality meters can attempt to promote moral reflection. Ultimately, I argue that the moral status of the actions depends on the effects of those actions on the player herself; if those actions make us less ethical then the actions are wrong. Unfortunately, it is not clear to me that players are always in a position to tell whether this is the case.


Immersive games Virtual worlds Moral choice Intravirtual morality Utilitarianism Extravirtual harms video games 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religion & PhilosophyOhio Northern UniversityAdaUSA

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