#1182: Recreating Philosophical Moral Dilemmas in VR, the Gamer’s Dilemma, & Virtual Ethics

Andrew Kissel has been recreating moral dilemmas like the Trolley Problem in VR at his Virginia Philosophy Reality Lab at Old Dominion University. I had a chance to talk about his work in moral philosophy around catalyzed by Morgan Luck’s paper “The gamer’s dilemma: An analysis of the arguments for the moral distinction between virtual murder and virtual paedophilia” that tries to define the ethical threshold between different types of virtual wrongdoing. We may have an intuition for why virtual murder in video games is morally justifiable while virtual paedophilia is not, but we explore how the variety of ethical frameworks like Consequentialism, Virtue Ethics, or Deontology break down this problem. Kissel invited me to give a keynote talk at a Exploring the Humanities through VR Workshop held on December 10, 2021 where I presented on “Process Philosophy & VR: The Foundations of Experiential Design.” We debate process relational metaphysics vs substance metaphysics in the last part of this interview, and I’d recommend checking out my conversations with Whitehead scholar Matt Segall here and here as well as with Grant Maxell for more of a deep dive on the nuances of a process-relational perspective and why I think it’s so useful for thinking about VR.

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Music: Fatality