Games Unlike Life

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 23 (3) (2023)
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This is a reply to Elisabeth Camp's and Elijah Millgram's probing discussions of "Games and the Art of Agency", in a symposium in Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. Millgram argues that games cannot function as a guide to life, because they are too different from life. Games are limited in a special way: in life, we deliberate about what goals we want to take on, but in games, the goals are fixed and given to us. Camp argues that there is nothing particularly special about games, because the fluidity of agency is all over ordinary life too - games are just like ordinary life. I respond to Millgram: we do deliberate about our ends, in games, when we aesthetically reflect on which games to play. And I respond to Camp: games are distinctive in the way they regulate how our reasons flow across the game/life border. To respond to these criticisms, I add some substantial new features to my account of the motivational structure of game-play.

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C. Thi Nguyen
University of Utah


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