John R. Sageng




Institutional affiliation

Game Philosophy Network


Independent researcher

Research interests relevant to game philosophy

My main interest in the philosophy of computer games is the relationship between a players’ actions and the objects these actions are directed at. I am a proponent of a ludic realism and I have argued that the gaming activity in central cases force a reference shift from fictional, virtual or represented objects to real in-game events and objects. I hold that the objects and events in a gaming environment are individuated by what i call “agential properties” that I suggest have their origin in the cognitive mechanisms that normally support social ontologies. I am also exploring the idea that there is a special ludic phenomenal quality that set gaming actions apart from other kinds of actions.

Publications and presentations relevant to game philosophy

“Interpretation, Interaction and the Anchoring of the Real”. Presentation at the 1st PCG-conference in Copenhagen, 2005
“The Reality of Game Objects”. Presentation at the 2nd PCG conference, Reggio Emilia 2008
“Can Avatars Act?”. Presentation at the 3rd PCG conference, Potsdam 2008.
“Gameness and Negotiable Consequences”. Presentation at the 4th PCG-conference, Oslo 2009.
“The Philosophy of Computer Games”, co-editor of an anthology published by Springer, 2012.
“In-Game Action”. Contribution to the PCG-volume, 2012.
“Artificial Laws and the Constitution of Agential Properties”, presentation at the workshop “Computer Games and Game Rules” in Bergen, 2013
“Gameness as the Experience of Cognitive Autonomy”. Presentation at the 7th PCG-conference in Istanbul, 2014.
“The Hypothetical and the Virtual”. Presentation at the conference “The Hypothetical” at Westminster University, London, 2016.
“Agential Properties in Computer Games”. Contribution to the anthology “The Philosophy of Emerging Media”, Oxford University Press, 2016.
“The Ontological Status of Game Ecologies”, work paper presented at PCG2018 in Krakow.
“The Bracketing of Moral Norms in Computer Games”. Forthcoming in an anthology for MIT-Press 2018.


ontology, gameness, representation, fictionality


John R. Sageng