Computer Games, Philosophy and the Online Self

  • Soraj Hongladarom
Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 25)


The last chapter is about the online self in computer games. The self appears most often as the avatar, a Sanskrit term meaning “to come down.” This is referred to a god, in most cases the god Vishnu, Preserver of the Cosmos, coming down and taking human or animal forms in order to fight against the evil that is bent on destroying the cosmic order. A key issue here is the relation between the game player and her avatar. Is the avatar mere “cursor” that responds to the command of the user in her navigating the terrain in the game and nothing more? Or does the avatar take a life of her own, so to speak, when she participates in the world of the game? My argument is that, according to the Extended Self View, the situation of how to account for the player and her avatar should be understood as there being two selves, one belonging to the player in this world, and the other belonging to the avatar in the game world, where these two selves are extensions of each other, but are also distinct from each other.


Computer games Online games Avatar Self Other 


  1. Aarseth, E. (2007). Doors and perception: fiction vs. simulation in games. Intermédialités: histoire et théorie des arts, des lettres et des techniques [Intermediality: History and Theory of the Arts, Literature and Technologies], 9, 35–44. URI:
  2. Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  3. Fine, G. A. (1983). Shared fantasy. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  4. Hongladarom, S. (2015). Brain-to-brain integration: Metaphysical and ethical implications. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 13, 205–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Klevjer, R. (2006). What is the avatar?: Fiction and embodiment in avatar-based singleplayer computer games. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Bergen.Google Scholar
  6. Klevjer, R. (2012). Enter the avatar: The phenomenology of prosthetic telepresence in computer games. In J. R. Sageng, H. Fossheim, & T. M. Larsen (Eds.), The philosophy of computer games (pp. 17–38). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Klevjer, R. (2014). In defense of cutscenes. Retrieved from
  8. Linderoth, J. (2005). Animated game pieces: Avatars as roles, tools and props. Paper presented at the Aesthetics of Play conference in Bergen, Norway, 14–15 October 2005. Retrieved from
  9. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of perception (C. Smith, Trans.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Meskin, A., & Robson, J. (2012). Fiction and fictional worlds in videogames. In J. R. Sageng, H. Fossheim, & T. M. Larsen (Eds.), The philosophy of computer games (pp. 201–217). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Sageng, J. R., Fossheim, H., & Larsen, T. M. (Eds.). (2012). The philosophy of computer games. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Tavinor, G. (2012). Videogames and fictionalism. In J. R. Sageng, H. Fossheim, & T. M. Larsen (Eds.), The philosophy of computer games (pp. 185–199). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Verbeek, P. (2009). Ambient intelligence and persuasive technology: The blurring boundaries between human and technology. NanoEthics, 3(3), 231–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Walton, K. (1990). Mimesis as make-believe: On the foundation of the representational arts. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soraj Hongladarom
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Arts, Department of PhilosophyChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand

Personalised recommendations