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Games: Agency as Art

New York: Oxford University Press (2020)

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  1. Agential Layering, the Absurd and the Grind in Game-Playing.Emily Ryall - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):425-435.
    This paper attempts to provide a reflection on Nguyen’s book, Games: Agency as Art. It demonstrates how games provide new ontological spaces and ways of being by focusing on the concept of a...
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  • Sport, Games, and the Fluidity of Agency.Jon Pike - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):392-402.
    Thi Nguyen has given us a cracker of a book in Games: Agency as Art, one that sports philosophers amongst others will learn from for many years. One fascinating (but I will argue, pro...
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  • A Critical Note on a Purported Disanalogy Between Cycling and Mixed Martial Arts.Alexander Pho & Benjamin A. White - 2022 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 49 (2):177-194.
    Nicholas Dixon’s Kantian argument for why mixed martial arts (MMA) is intrinsically immoral has received several critical responses. We offer an additional critical response. Unlike previous responses, ours does not rely on an interpretation of the categorical imperative that Dixon would find tendentious. Instead, we grant that Dixon’s views about what makes other sports consistent with the categorical imperative are correct and argue from this assumption that MMA is also consistent with the categorical imperative. Our argument focuses on Dixon’s claims (...)
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  • Phenomenal Experience and the Aesthetics of Agency.Antonia Peacocke - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):380-391.
    In his fascinating new book Games: Agency as Art, Nguyen endorses an experiential requirement on aesthetic judgment: apt aesthetic judgment requires phenomenal experience. His own aesthetics of agency captures three phenomenally manifest and aesthetically significant harmonies (and corresponding disharmonies). But his view can be significantly extended to capture much more of the rich texture of human agency. In this discussion, I argue that emotions of agency, patterns of attention, and affordances all can be phenomenally experienced as aspects of agency, and (...)
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  • Games, Motives, and Virtue.Stephanie Patridge - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):369-379.
    In his groundbreaking and fantastic new book, Games: Agency as Art, C. Thi Nguyen asks us to see gameplay, and hence the ‘humorous, the playful, and the ridiculous’, as an important sphe...
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  • Strange Games, Puppy Play and Exhaustive Intelligibility: A Response to Thi Nguyen’s Games: Agency as Art.Alva Noë - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):306-317.
    Thi Nguyen develops the view that games are, at least potentially, works of art that afford players the opportunity to experiment with agency and have aesthetically significant experiences. In this paper, I critically discuss this proposal. You can make art out of games, I argue, but only at the price of making bad games. I explore the significance of this rivalry between games and art.
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  • The Opacity of Play: A Reply to Commentators. [REVIEW]C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):448-475.
    This is a reply to commentators in the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport's special issue symposium on GAMES: AGENCY AS ART. I respond to criticisms concerning the value of achievement play and striving play, the transparency and opacity of play, the artistic status of games, and many more.
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  • Defending Games: Reply to Hurka, Kukla and Noë. [REVIEW]C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):317-337.
    This is my reply to commentators in the symposium on my book, GAMES: AGENCY AS ART. The symposium features commentary by Thomas Hurka, Quill Kukla, and Alva Noe, and originally appeared in Analysis 81 (2).
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  • Game Play, Wholehearted Engagement, and the Good Life.William J. Morgan - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):356-368.
    One of the many brilliant insights of C. Thi Nguyen’s brilliant book, Games: Agency as Art, is the connection he draws between the distinctive agency of game play and one important feature of a lif...
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  • Integrated Moral Agency and the Practical Phenomenon of Moral Diversity.Michael Moehler - 2021 - Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 14 (2):53-77.
    The practical phenomenon of moral diversity is a central feature of many contemporary societies and poses a distinct problem to moral theory building. Because of its goal to settle the moral question fully and exclusively and/or to provide better understanding of moral disagreement, traditional first-order moral theory often does not provide sufficient guidance to address this phenomenon and moral agency in deeply morally diverse societies. In this article, I move beyond traditional first-order moral theorizing and, based on multilevel social contract (...)
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  • A New Argument for the Non-Instrumental Value of Truth.Veli Mitova - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-23.
    Many influential philosophers have claimed that truth is valuable, indeed so valuable as to be the ultimate standard of correctness for intellectual activity. Yet most philosophers also think that truth is only instrumentally valuable. These commitments make for a strange pair. One would have thought that an ultimate standard would enjoy more than just instrumental value. This paper develops a new argument for the non-instrumental value of truth: inquiry is non-instrumentally valuable; and truth inherits some of its value from the (...)
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  • Sculpted Agency and the Messiness of the Landscape.Quill Rebecca Kukla - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):296-306.
    In Games: Agency as Art, Thi Nguyen has given us a deep and compelling picture of agency as much more layered, volatile, environment-dependent and discontinuous than it appears in most philosophical accounts. Games ‘inscribe … forms of agency into artifactual vessels’.1 1 When we play a game, we take up a form of agency, including a set of motivations, values and goals, which has been artificially provided by the game. Our purpose in playing, in the kinds of gameplay that interest (...)
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  • Pretensive Shared Reality: From Childhood Pretense to Adult Imaginative Play.Rohan Kapitany, Tomas Hampejs & Thalia R. Goldstein - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    Imaginative pretend play is often thought of as the domain of young children, yet adults regularly engage in elaborated, fantastical, social-mediated pretend play. We describe imaginative play in adults via the term “pretensive shared reality;” Shared Pretensive Reality describes the ability of a group of individuals to employ a range of higher-order cognitive functions to explicitly and implicitly share representations of a bounded fictional reality in predictable and coherent ways, such that this constructed reality may be explored and invented/embellished with (...)
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  • How Much Are Games Like Art?Thomas Hurka - 2021 - Analysis 81 (2):287-296.
    This paper challenges Thi Nguyen's argument, in Games: Agency as Art, a central part of the value of game-play comes from the aesthetic experiences it allows, especially of our own agency, so playing a game is importantly like engaging with art. It challenges three arguments Nguyen makes in support of this view and argues, to the contrary, that the principal value in game-play rests in the achievments it allows.
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  • Does Play Constitute the Good Life? Suits and Aristotle on Autotelicity and Living Well.Francisco Javier Lopez Frías - 2020 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 47 (2):168-182.
    Bernard Suits’ account of play as an autotelic activity has been greatly influential in the philosophy of sport. Suits borrows the notion of ‘autotelicity’ from Aristotle’s ethics, formulating diff...
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  • Ants, Grasshoppers, Asshoppers, and Crickets Cohabit in Utopia: The Anthropological Foundations of Bernard Suits’ Analyses of Gameplay and Good Living.Francisco Javier Lopez Frías - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 49 (1):117-133.
    In this article, I consider Alkis Kontos’ and Allan Bäck’s critiques to Suits that his theory of games and good living lack ontological grounds or rests on the wrong foundations. Taking these criti...
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  • Elements of Excellence.John William Devine - 2022 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 49 (2):195-211.
    ABSTRACT‘Excellence’ underpins debates within sports ethics from the nature of sport to the permissibility of doping. Despite the central role that excellence occupies in ethical reasoning about sport, it has garnered more support than scrutiny in the literature. Little has been said about how this value can be advanced or undermined. This paper addresses that lacuna by demonstrating that excellence has a complexity that has previously gone unnoticed. Specifically, excellence has four distinct elements: the ‘cluster of excellence’, the ‘quantum of (...)
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  • Misaligned Education.Adrian Currie - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):332-343.
    Like every Bachelor of Arts program, the University of Exeter provides a set of reasons to undertake a BA in philosophy aimed at prospective students and their parents. Here1 are two such reasons:F...
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  • Sport as Part of a Meaningful Life.Gunnar Breivik - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 49 (1):19-36.
    My purpose in this article is to raise the problem of meaning in sport. The problem has two aspects. One is whether sport has any meaning in itself. The other is about how sport can be a part of a...
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  • Art, Aesthetics, and the Medium: Comments for Nguyen on the Art-Status of Games.Christopher Bartel - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):321-331.
    Nguyen offers a number of profound insights about the nature and value of games. Games are works of art, according to Nguyen, because they offer players aesthetic experiences. Game designers aim to...
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  • The Argument From Extreme Difficulty in Video Games.Aderemi Artis - 2021 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 79 (1):64-75.
    Many video games require complex, rapid sequences of skilled bodily movements in order to complete game-world tasks. It is not unreasonable to think that this might interfere with our ability to aesthetically appreciate such video games. I present two versions of this argument from extreme difficulty: a strong version and a weak version. While extant treatments of the aesthetics of video games can be used to rebut the strong version, the weak version remains recalcitrant. I develop a reply to the (...)
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  • The Video Gamer’s Dilemmas.Rami Ali - 2022 - Ethics and Information Technology 24 (2).
    The gamer’s dilemma offers three plausible but jointly inconsistent premises: Virtual murder in video games is morally permissible. Virtual paedophelia in video games is not morally permissible. There is no morally relevant difference between virtual murder and virtual paedophelia in video games. In this paper I argue that the gamer’s dilemma can be understood as one of three distinct dilemmas, depending on how we understand two key ideas in Morgan Luck’s original formulation. The two ideas are those of occurring in (...)
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  • Suits and the Phenomenology of Games: A Reply to Johnson and Hudecki.Micah D. Tillman - 2022 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 49 (2):230-245.
    Johnson and Hudecki argue that Bernard Suits fails to refute Wittgenstein’s ‘family resemblance’ view of games because Suits’s account of how games begin, how they are played, and the ends they involve, fails to match basic facts of player experience. In reply, the current paper describes three keys to interpreting The Grasshopper: (1) distinguishing the four perspectives from which Suits describes games, (2) recognizing Suits' dispositional view of rule following, and (3) understanding the geometrical metaphor Suits uses to describe rules. (...)
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  • Nguyen Meets His Critics—Games: Agency as Art in a Philosophy of Sport Context.Christopher C. Yorke - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 48 (3):311-320.
    C. Thi Nguyen – the author whose new book, Games: Agency as Art, is the main provocation for co-editor John Russell and I putting together this special issue of the Journal of the Philosophy of Spo...
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  • The Motivational Structure of Appreciation.Servaas van der Berg - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):445-466.
    On a widely held view in aesthetics, appreciation requires disinterested attention. George Dickie famously criticized a version of this view championed by the aesthetic attitude theorists. I revisit his criticisms and extract an overlooked challenge for accounts that seek to characterize appreciative engagement in terms of distinctive motivation: at minimum, the motivational profile such accounts propose must make a difference to how appreciative episodes unfold over time. I then develop a proposal to meet this challenge by drawing an analogy between (...)
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  • Practical Structure and Moral Skill.Joshua Shepherd - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (3):713-732.
    I argue that moral skill is limited and precarious. It is limited because global moral skill—the capacity for morally excellent behaviour within an über action domain, such as the domain of living, or of all-things-considered decisions, or the same kind of capacity applied across a superset of more specific action domains—is not to be found in humans. It is precarious because relatively local moral skill, while possible, is prone to misfire. My arguments depend upon the diversity of practical structures confronting (...)
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  • Parks and Recreation.Shen-yi Liao - 2022 - APA Studies in Feminism and Philosophy 22 (1):3-7.
    In this contribution to the symposium on Quill Kukla's _City Living_, I argue that the "objective properties" invisibly built into playgrounds can limit children's development of their agency. Playgrounds may seem insignificant because play may seem insignificant. However, playgrounds are where children develop as agents: it is through play that they learn to make decisions about their own bodies, express their own values, and negotiate with others. Yet at the playground, there is co-dependence between social practice and material object: the (...)
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  • The Philosophy of Online Manipulation.Michael Klenk & Fleur Jongepier (eds.) - 2022 - Routledge.
    Are we being manipulated online? If so, is being manipulated by online technologies and algorithmic systems notably different from human forms of manipulation? And what is under threat exactly when people are manipulated online? This volume provides philosophical and conceptual depth to debates in digital ethics about online manipulation. The contributions explore the ramifications of our increasingly consequential interactions with online technologies such as online recommender systems, social media, user-friendly design, micro-targeting, default-settings, gamification, and real-time profiling. The authors in this (...)
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  • Playfulness Versus Epistemic Traps.C. Thi Nguyen - 2022 - In Mark Alfano, Colin Klein & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    What is the value of intellectual playfulness? Traditional characterizations of the ideal thinker often leave out playfulness; the ideal inquirer is supposed to be sober, careful, and conscientiousness. But elsewhere we find another ideal: the laughing sage, the playful thinker. These are models of intellectual playfulness. Intellectual playfulness, I suggest, is the disposition to try out alternate belief systems for fun – to try on radically different perspectives for the sheer pleasure of it. But what would the cog-nitive value be (...)
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  • The Singular Plurality of Social Goods / La singolare pluralità dei beni sociali.Marco Emilio - 2022 - Dissertation, Université de Neuchâtel
    According to some philosophers and social scientists, mainstream economic theories currently play an unprecedented role in shaping human societies. This phenomenon can be linked to the dissemination of methodological individualism, where common goods are interpreted as reducible to aggregates of individuals' well-being. Nonetheless, some emergent difficulties of economics in coping with global institutional issues have encouraged some authors to revise that paradigm. In the last three decades, there has been a parallel growing philosophical interest in investigating social sciences' epistemological and (...)
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  • Attention.Christopher Mole - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • The Aesthetic Engagement Theory of Art.Patrick Grafton-Cardwell - 2021 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8:243-268.
    I introduce and explicate a new functionalist account of art, namely that something is an artwork iff the fulfillment of its function by a subject requires that the subject aesthetically engage it. This is the Aesthetic Engagement Theory of art. I show how the Aesthetic Engagement Theory outperforms salient rival theories in terms of extensional adequacy, non-arbitrariness, and ability to account for the distinctive value of art. I also give an account of what it is to aesthetically engage a work (...)
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  • Aesthetic Agency.Keren Gorodeisky - forthcoming - In Luca Ferrero (ed.), Routledge Handbook for the Philosophy of Agency. pp. 456-466.
    Until very recently, there has been no discussion of aesthetic agency. This is likely because aesthetics has traditionally focused not on action, but on appreciation, while the standard approach identifies ‘agency’ with the will, and, more specifically, with the capacity for intentional action. In this paper, I argue, first, that this identification is unfortunate since it fails to do justice to the fact that we standardly attribute beliefs, emotions, desires, and other conative and affective attitudes that aren’t formed ‘at will,’ (...)
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  • Olympians and Vampires - Talent, Practice, and Why Most of Us 'Don't Get It'.Alessandra Buccella - forthcoming - Argumenta:1-11.
    Why do some people become WNBA champions or Olympic gold medalists and others do not? What is ‘special’ about those very few incredibly skilled athletes, and why do they, in particular, get to be special? In this paper, I attempt to make sense of the relationship that there is, in the case of sports champions, between so-called ‘talent’, i.e. natural predisposition for particular physical activities and high-pressure competition, and practice/training. I will articulate what I take to be the ‘mechanism’ that (...)
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  • Ludic Unreliability and Deceptive Game Design.Stefano Gualeni & Nele Van de Mosselaer - 2021 - Journal of the Philosophy of Games 3 (1):1-22.
    Drawing from narratology and design studies, this article makes use of the notions of the ‘implied designer’ and ‘ludic unreliability’ to understand deceptive game design as a specific sub-set of transgressive game design. More specifically, in this text we present deceptive game design as the deliberate attempt to misguide players’ inferences about the designers’ intentions. Furthermore, we argue that deceptive design should not merely be taken as a set of design choices aimed at misleading players in their efforts to understand (...)
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