CfP: Exploring Aesthetic Practices – Conference in Jyväskylä 23.10.2024.

Here is a call for papers for a conference that is not primarily directed at game philosophy, but it has game studies is a target group and the topic of playing games is mentioned.  We just visited Jyväskylä for one of our Nordic workshops in game philosophy and know that there is an interest for our type of work. We highly encourage game philosophers to submit abstracts.

Call for papers

From Kant onwards, the default position when thinking about aesthetic matters has been to start with one individual who appreciates or engages with one object, whether a work of art, an environment, or an everyday item. However, when aiming to grasp the role of aesthetic phenomena in human life, this perspective is insufficient. It overshadows how the significance of art and everyday aesthetic matters, for individuals and communities, evolve through shared histories of practice, where perceptual and creative skills arise from previous experiences and know-how.

Shifting the focus of aesthetics from objects and singular experiences to practices opens novel and fruitful perspectives on how humans form and transform their identity and lifeworld through active and long-term aesthetic engagement in various media. An aesthetic practice, we suggest, is a continuous, repeatedly performed activity of engaging with an art form, a form of popular culture, crafts, sports, or some aspect of one’s everyday environment, where a fundamental motivating factor is pleasure gained through the activity. Instead of contemplation and perception of an object, practice highlights the intrinsic aesthetic relevance of action, doing and making. The approach offers new perspectives on the scope of “aesthetics”.

As a key concept, aesthetic practice foregrounds structural features of our aesthetic life that have previously gained less attention, such as temporality, continuity, multimodality and intersubjectivity. A practice is ongoing, and characterised by tempi and rhythms, times, and places. It is interwoven with the practitioner’s life, while at the same time constituting another space. It is typically shared with other people; inspired by others; or communicated to them.

Finally, aesthetic practices tend to become intimately interwoven, even inseparable from practitioners’ identity, and affect their outlook on life. Continuously engaging with one or several of the arts, popular culture, one’s home environment, or nature, can constitute a tacit or explicit exploration of and reflection on values, the world, and one’s own position in it, in a dynamic balance of receptivity and creativity which is intrinsically valuable.

We welcome proposals on:

 The concept of aesthetic practice; critical assessments

 Everyday aesthetic practices and arts: boundaries and overlappings

 Habits and practices

 Practice and style

 Rhythms of practice

 Everyday rituals as aesthetic practice

 Intersubjectivity in aesthetic practices

 The aesthetic dimension of everyday practices

 The aesthetic dimension of labour and work

 Childhood aesthetic practices

 Aesthetic communicative practices

 Social aesthetics

 Care aesthetics

 Arts as aesthetic practices

 Aesthetic practices in fandom and popular culture

 Playing games as aesthetic practice

 The role of technologies in aesthetic practices

 Shared practices in internet communities and social media

– And more

In addition to contributions from philosophical aesthetics, we welcome proposals from neighbouring fields, the arts, psychology, cultural studies, game studies, sociology, history, media and communication studies, etc., as long as they address phenomena from a perspective of aesthetic practice.

We invite abstracts of 200–300 words. Deadline for abstracts is 15th March 2024.

Link to the main site. 

CfP: Digital Artifacts – Metaphysics Journal – March 15, 2024

We invite submissions on the topic of “Digital Artifacts” for the next issue of the open-access, peer-reviewed, online journal, Metaphysics, co-edited by Kathrin Koslicki and Michael Raven. (http://www.metaphysicsjournal.com)

 The guest-editor for this issue is Alexandre Declos (University of Neuchatel). 

Submission Deadline: March 15, 2024

Description: The category of digital artifacts includes things such as computer programs, simulations, websites, data, virtual environments, memes, videogames, NFTs, digital artworks, or smartphone apps. Although these entities have become pervasive in our daily lives, they have received comparatively little attention in the recent metaphysics literature. 

This special issue shall be dedicated to investigating the ontological issues raised by this peculiar sub-class of artifacts. We invite contributions around, but not limited to, the following questions:

• What differentiates digital artifacts from other types of artifacts?

• Are there different kinds of digital artifacts? 

• How do digital artifacts fit in or challenge extant accounts in the philosophy of artifacts?

• Do digital artifacts depend on the mind? If so, does it threaten their reality?

• Are digital artifacts material or immaterial? Can they be located? Are they reducible to a physical basis? 

• Are digital artifacts abstract entities? If so, how are we to explain the fact that they can be perceived, interacted with, or created? 

• How should we construe the relation between a digital artifact, seen as a type, and its various instances or tokens?

• Must we differentiate digital and virtual artifacts? If so, what sort of relation do they have to one another? 

• Can (some) digital artifacts be understood as social entities? 

• What makes the identity of a digital artifact? Its algorithmic structure? The intentions of its creator(s)? The use to which it is put? Its capacities or affordances?

• What are the persistence conditions of digital artifacts? For instance, what kind of change could a program survive?

• Are digital artifacts essentially defined by their function? How should we account for cases of multifunction, malfunction (e.g., bugs), or repurposing?

• Do digital artifacts have essences, whether as kinds and/or as individuals?

• What sort of process is involved in digital artifact production? Does it differ from what is involved in the production of non-digital artifacts?

• Should digital byproducts (e.g., bugs) count as digital artifacts?

• Do digital artifacts challenge common assumptions about creativity, authorship, or authenticity?

• Can digital artifacts be created by non-human agents? For instance, can ChatGPT’s  outputs be seen as digital artifacts?

InstructionsPapers should be submitted through the journal’s online platform. Prior to submitting your paper, please consult the journal’s submission guidelines: https://metaphysicsjournal.com/about/submissions/

For any query, please email: alexandre.declos AT gmail.com

New Book: The Clouds – An Experiment in Theory-Fiction

Prof. Stefano Gualeni, well known contributor to the game philosophy community  (Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta) just released a new book with Routledge! The book is titled The Clouds and is a science-fiction novella. The Clouds is a unique kind of publication. It is not only a work of fiction, it is also a philosophical text. Its experimentation with its narrative format sets the stage for the exploration of a handful of philosophical ideas that might be especially relevant for game scholars and sci-fi scholars.

A particularly original aspect of The Clouds has to do with its editorial structure. The novella is only the first half of a larger book titled The Clouds: An Experiment in Theory-Fiction, which contains

  • eight parts of fiction (the chapters of the novella)
  • three parts of non-fiction (three canonical essays), and
  • a dash of meta-reflection (the afterword by the author).

The various philosophical themes of the book are, thus, first presented as fictions (weaved into the narrative of the novella, typically as key components of its development), and then in the more traditional form of the essay (that is, explained argumentatively by leveraging actual facts as well as existing works on related themes).

As an example that hopefully resonates with game scholars, it might be useful to refer to the many fictional games that are featured in the novella. Fictional games are playful activities and ludic artefacts that are encountered exclusively in works of fiction, and whose uncommon qualities serve a number of interesting functions within the work of which they are part (see Gualeni & Fassone, 2022). Some of these functions relate to the fictional context in which the novella takes place, adding detail to the fictional world and contributing to the indirect characterization of the protagonists. Some other fictional games are less oriented on the narrative, and instead serve speculative and more broadly philosophical purposes. This second kind of fictional games invite the readers to infer the ideologies that are at work in certain scenarios or to think along their implausible and often uncanny rules and behaviours.

Within the fiction part of The Clouds: An Experiment in Theory-Fiction, these games are encountered by the reader as part of their subjective relationship with the fictional world. As a counterpoint to this narrative invitation to imaginatively explore philosophical and speculative ideas, the non-fiction part of the book offers a more canonical analysis of each of the fictional game in the novella with frequent references to academic literature concerning games in fiction, philosophical games, and fictional games in particular. It should now be clear that the essayistic part of the book takes a detached, analytical approach to the same philosophical themes treated in the narrative part, explicitly articulating broader and more general perspectives on themes such as the philosophical uses of games within fiction.

Recent works that also experimented with mixing fiction and theory in the context of philosophical enquiry include the 2021 volume Philosophy through Science Fiction Stories, edited by Helen De Cruz, Johan De Smedt and Eric Schwitzgebel, but also Federico Campagna’s Prophetic Culture: Recreation for Adolescents (also published in 2021) and Jack Bowen’s The Dream Weaver: One Boy’s Journey through the Landscape of Reality (2006).

Does The Clouds: An Experiment in Theory-Fiction manage to meaningfully combine theory and fiction? Will it convince game scholars and philosophy enthusiasts that there is more to their discipline than academic texts, lectures, or blog posts like this one? Well, pick this new book up and find out!

Works cited

Bowen, J. (2006), The Dream Weaver: One Boy’s Journey through the Landscape of Reality, New York (NY): Ace Books.

Campagna, F. (2021), Prophetic Culture: Recreation for Adolescents, London (UK): Bloomsbury Academic.

De Cruz, H., De Smedt, J., & Schwitzgebel, E. (eds.) (2021), Philosophy through Science Fiction Stories, New York (NY): Bloomsbury Academic.

Gualeni, S. & Fassone, R. (2022), Fictional Games: A Philosophy of Worldbuilding and Imaginary Play. London (UK): Bloomsbury.

 

CfP: Phenomenology, Hermeneutics and Existentialism for Games (Nordic Explorative Workshops)

Some time ago, an Innocent Bystander, after glancing through a copy of Mind, asked me, “Why do philosophers talk so much about Games? Do they play them a lot or something?” (Midgley, “The Game Game”, 1974, p. 231)

University of Jyväskylä in Finland and Nordic partners call for papers and student presentations for a workshop on the philosophy of games to be held in Jyväskylä, 16–18 October 2023.

Games are a source of fascinating philosophical issues addressed by current games research. They are also increasingly catching the attention of traditional philosophers. In a series of “Nordic Explorative Workshops” we aim to provide arenas where students and scholars in philosophy and game studies can discuss their projects. We reach out to scholars who would like to contribute to this emerging field, and to bachelor and master students writing about such issues.

Games are designed to create meaning structures for their players that derive from the fact that they are adopting a subject position within the game, in which they achieve goals, overcome challenges and act out interpersonal relationships imposed by the gaming system. A number of games scholars have used the tools of phenomenology, hermeneutics and existentialism to analyze such meaning structures, and the aim of this workshop is to explore these issues, though the submissions do not need to stem from these traditions.

Submitters are invited to submit proposals on questions such as:

  • What do players understand when they understand how to play a game?
  • What is the phenomenology of simulation?
  • What characterizes the phenomenal consciousness of events and objects in game worlds?
  • What characterizes the subject roles in avatar- and non-avatar based gameplay?
  • What is the nature of embodied experience in gameplay?
  • How does the notion of a world operate as a part of the player experience?
  • What is the difference between the third-person understanding of gameplay and the first-person in-game understanding?
  • What is the character of the affective experiences that are created during gameplay?
  • In what sense is acting in games action?
  • In what sense is projectuality in games different from ordinary life?
  • And other questions related to the philosophy of games.

For full paper presentations and student presentations we ask for an abstract (300 words) along with a short bio (100 words). For requests for attendance we ask for a short bio (50 words) with institutional affiliation.

Send abstracts/bios to nordicexplorativeworkshop@jyu.onmicrosoft.com by September 15, 2023. Notification of inclusion in the workshop program will be sent out by September 20, 2023. Send a request to the same address if you want to attend as an audience (limited participation).

Funding is available to support some of the expenses for the presenters.

The workshop is funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). We aim to have a selection of the papers published in Journal of the Philosophy of Games.

Information about the workshop and the series: https://nordicgamephilosophy.w.uib.no/
Please sign up to the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/586402056592864

Rune Klevjer (project leader)
John R. Sageng (project coordinator)
Jonne Arjoranta (program committee chair)
Maria Ruotsalainen (program committee)

CfP: Representation in Games (Nordic Explorative Workshops)

The IT University of Copenhagen and its Nordic partners call for papers and student presentations for a workshop on the philosophy of games to be held at the IT University, Copenhagen, Denmark, 29-30.08.2023

The notion of representation is often used in game studies literature, but it is practically always invoked in critical contexts. Existing research focuses on problematic aspects of representations of minorities, genders, or ethnicities. These analyses presuppose some philosophical notion of representation without spelling it out. And yet, as can be seen in the light of discussions over the idea of representation in other areas, the concept can be understood in different ways. Moreover, theories of representation approach the subject from various angles – apart from prominent discussions in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science it is also often invoked by scholars interested in aesthetics or theory of fiction. It seems that common understanding of the mechanisms underlying representation in games could benefit all researchers because even small differences of fundamental ontological or epistemological aspects of representation can affect our mutual understanding.

The workshop aims to bring together philosophers and game researchers and look at the philosophical status of the notion of representation in games. Example questions that we wish to examine during the workshop are:

  • What are the specific features of representation in games (if any)?
  • What mechanism is responsible for representation in games – how do games (or game elements) represent?
  • What are the targets of game representation – do games (or their elements) represent reality, fictional entities, digital states of the computer, or something else?
  • Does the technology used to produce games influence their representational status – is there an essential difference between representation in text games, 2D games, 3D games, or VR?
  • Which parts of games should be considered as representational? Can game mechanics represent reality – if so, what are their targets?
  • Is there a difference between representation in games and other digital objects?
  • What is the representational status of the player’s actions in games? Which actions count as representations and which ones as virtual equivalents of real actions?
  • How does the concept of representation in games differ from the concept of representation in science?
  • If games are hybrids of simulations and fiction – which aspect should be given priority when we analyze their representational capacities?
  • What is the status of representations of fictional objects in games – should they be accounted for in a similar way researchers do it in the case of other media or do they require special treatment?
  • To what extent can existing theories of representation be applied to games, and how must they be complemented to best fit this domain?

For full paper presentations and student presentations we ask for an abstract (max 300 words) along with a short bio (max 100 words). Send abstracts/bios to pawg@itu.dk. Deadline for submissions is June 15, 2023.

The seminar is open for international submitters, but the program will have an emphasis on speakers with affiliations to Nordic institutions. We may be able to offer to cover some of the expenses for some of the Nordic participants.

Stacie Friend and Grant Tavinor are participating as invited speakers.

The workshop is funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). We aim to have a selection of the papers published in Journal of the Philosophy of Games.

Information about the workshop and the series: https://nordicgamephilosophy.w.uib.no/

Please sign up to the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/586402056592864/

 

Paweł Grabarczyk, IT University of Copenhagen

Ida Kathrine Hammeleff Jørgensen, University of Southern Denmark

John R. Sageng, Game Philosophy Network

Espen Aarseth, IT University of Copenhagen

CfP: Nordic Explorative Workshops – Action in Games

The Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen and its Nordic partners call for papers and student presentations for a workshop on the philosophy of games to be held at the alternative culture site Regenbogenfabrik in Berlin, Germany, 19-20 May 2023.

Games are a source of fascinating philosophical issues addressed by current games research, and which increasingly are catching the attention of traditional philosophers. In a series of “Nordic Explorative Workshops” we aim to provide arenas where students and scholars in philosophy and game studies can discuss their projects. We reach out to scholars who would like to contribute to this emerging field, and to bachelor and master students writing essays about such issues.

The first workshop is dedicated to themes that pertain to action and subject positioning in a game. We invite submissions on issues that relate to the character of action in relation to interactivity with the system, subjectivity and avatarhood, fictionality and virtual actions, gameness, perception of objects and environments, depiction and the status of the image, and issues that pertain to ethics and aesthetics.

Examples of questions that can be addressed are:

  • What is the psychological structure of gaming acts?
  • How should we evaluate moral norms in the context of play?
  • What are you doing when you are acting in virtual worlds?
  • What is the relation between the physical actions of the player and their ludic and narrative representations?
  • What forms of aesthetic appreciation are peculiar to action in games?
  • What forms of intentionality and subjectivity are found in avatar-based actions?
  • How do avatars occupy fictional and real roles?
  • How is action in games tied to the perception of affordances?

For full paper presentations and student presentations we ask for an abstract (max 300 words) along with a short bio (max 100 words).

The seminar is open for international submitters, but the program will have an emphasis on speakers with affiliations to Nordic institutions.

The seminar is open for general attendance, to the extent we have space. For requests for attendance we ask for a short bio (50 words) with institutional affiliation.

Send abstracts/bios to PhilGamesAction@gmail.com by April 20, 2023. Notification of inclusion in the workshop program will be sent out by April 27, 2023.

We may be able to offer to cover some of the expenses for some of the Nordic participants.

The workshop is funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). We aim to have a selection of the papers published in Journal of the Philosophy of Games.

Information about the workshop and the series: https://nordicgamephilosophy.w.uib.no/

Please sign up to the Facebook group: www.facebook.com/g/philgames

Rune Klevjer (Project leader), University of Bergen
John R. Sageng (Coordinator), Game Philosophy Network.

Call for Expression of Interest: Nordic Explorative Workshops on the Philosophy of Games

The University of Bergen, University of Jyväskylä and the IT University of Copenhagen will next year conduct a series of workshops on the philosophy of games. We will reach out to scholars and students in philosophy and game studies. The themes currently planned for the workshops are issues that pertain to action, experience, representation and hermeneutics in games. 

We’re organizing a planning workshop in Bergen on November 24-25 in 2022. The workshop is open to scholars in Nordic countries who might do supervision, seminars or research on these topics. There is some funding available for travel and accommodation.

The planning workshop will have presentations about the prospective themes and a planning session to determine the programs, focus and literature for the themed workshops, as well as for making plans for how to involve students and scholars in Nordic countries.

Please send an email to nordicgamephilosophy@gmail.com if you are interested in participating in the planning workshop or in the themed workshops later on. Write a few lines about your background in philosophy or game studies and your theoretical and practical interest in one of the listed topics.  We will contact prospective participants as the project progresses.

Anyone is welcome to join the Facebook-group for the initiative: https://www.facebook.com/groups/586402056592864

Best regards

Rune Klevjer, University of Bergen

Anita Leirfall, University of Bergen

John R. Sageng, Game Philosophy Network

Jonne Arjoranta, University of Jyväskylä

Paweł Grabarczyk, IT University of Copenhagen

Call for Presentations: Perception in Games and Virtual Worlds

Seminar in Athens, Greece: 01-02 September, 2022.

The Norwegian Institute in Athens

 

Both traditional games and games that take place in virtual environments rely on play-states that are essentially designed around perceptual features that play crucial roles in aiding how the player is acting in the gaming environment. This is apparent by the fact that they prominently rely on phenomenal spatial structures, but also by a variety of perceptual roles that enter into elements like storytelling, sound, kinesthetic feedback and immersive design. 

How should we understand the character of perception in games and virtual environments?  While normal perception registers ordinary perceptual properties, players perceive objects and properties imposed by images, rules, symbols and ludic context. In the perception of virtual worlds, the user is not perceiving ordinary objects, but rather images and symbols designed to instil imagination and to convey semantic contents. In traditional games the players perceive objects and properties determined by rules and play. 

In this workshop we aim to discuss questions that pertain to perceptual content and its relationship with player action.

Among the questions we wish to explore are:

  • Is perception in virtual worlds veridical? Is it appropriate to talk of perception in virtual worlds?
  • Do we perceive game properties?
  • How should we understand subjectivity and perception mediated by avatars?
  • How do cultural and ideological frames shape perceptual experience?
  • How does the reality status of objects and properties affect the characterization of perceptual content?
  • What are the phenomenal characteristics of gaming experiences?
  • How is narrative, fictional worlds and gaming structured around perceptual states?
  • How is imagination, make-believe and fantasy related to perception in games?
  • In what manners are perceptual schema like space, time, objecthood and modality utilized in gaming?
  • What is the relationship between inference and perceptual content in games?
  • How do we perceive affordances in games?
  • Can the perceptual content of games be analyzed as “seeing as”?
  • What are the phenomenal characteristics of perceptual experiences that are distinctive to ludic environments?
  • How should we characterize the consciousness that accompanies perception of games and virtual environments?

Contributions from different scholarly approaches are welcome, such as game studies, cognitive science, enactivist perception theory, phenomenology, fiction theory, media philosophy, and classic philosophies of perception.

To establish a common frame of reference, three existing articles on the topic will be distributed for common reading. Please submit an abstract (max 3000 characters) in this form: https://bit.ly/3PHRrYD and send a copy to perceptioningames@gmail.com by August 1.  The participants will be required to submit a 1-2 page synopsis for circulation right before the seminar. We highly appreciate presentations that can be submitted as papers to the Journal of the Philosophy of Games, but the participants are free to publish their work where they want.

The seminar is organized by Game Philosophy Network, Cultural Informatics, Data and Computational Cultural Studies Lab [CID-CCS Lab] at Panteion University, and the Department of Philosophy and Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Organizing Committee: Anita Leirfall, Elina Roinioti, John R. Sageng and Rune Klevjer.

Book: The Aestehetics of Virtual Reality

It is a significant event that Grant Tavinor has a new book out. While it is about virtual reality rather than computer games, it will no doubt be read and used by many game philosophers.  This is the book description:

This is the first book to present an aesthetics of virtual reality media. It situates virtual reality media in terms of the philosophy of the arts, comparing them to more familiar media such as painting, film and photography.

When philosophers have approached virtual reality, they have almost always done so through the lens of metaphysics, asking questions about the reality of virtual items and worlds, about the value of such things, and indeed, about how they may reshape our understanding of the real world. Grant Tavinor finds that approach to be fundamentally mistaken, and that to really account for virtual reality, we must focus on the medium and its uses, and not the hypothetical and speculative instances that are typically the focus of earlier works. He also argues that much of the cultural and metaphysical hype around virtual reality is undeserved. But this does not mean that virtual reality is illusory or uninteresting; on the contrary, it is significant for the altogether different reason that it overturns much of our understanding of how representational media can function and what we can use them to achieve.

The Aesthetics of Virtual Reality will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working in aesthetics, philosophy of art, philosophy of technology, metaphysics, and game studies.

 

 

 

Journal Article: Ludic Unreliability and Deceptive Game Design

 

Stefano Gualeni and Nele Van de Mosselaer have a new paper out in the online first issue for Journal of the Philosophy of Games. This is the abstract:

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 subset of trans-gressive game design. More specifically, in this text wepresent deceptive game design as the delib-erate 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 theirefforts to understand the game, but also as decisions devised to give rise to experien-tial and emotional effects that are in the interest of players. Finally, we propose to introduce a dis-tinction between two varieties of deceptive design approaches basedon whether they operate in an overt or a covert fashion in relation to player experience. Our analysis casts light on expressive pos-sibilities that are not customarily part of the dominant paradigm of user-centered design, and can inform game designers intheir pursuit of wider and more nuanced creative aspirations.