Chapter 1 return to philosophy through video games web page
I, Player: The Puzzle of Personal Identity (MMORPGS and Virtual Communities)

1A Key Words
1B Key Arguments
1C Cool Links
1D Discussion Questions
1A Key Words return to top 

Criterion of identity
Essential property
Extended mind hypothesis
Law of non-contradiction
Naïve fictionalism
1B Key Arguments return to top 

The Similarity Argument

1C Cool Links return to top
  1. C-Net News, “It’s a Nice Day for an ‘Everquest’ Wedding,” (accessed December 1, 2007).
  2. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Fictionalism,” (accessed January 25, 2008).
  3. Daniel Dennett, “Where Am I?”, (accessed January 15, 2008).
  4. Deborah Tollefsen, “Collective Intensionality,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (accessed January 15, 2008).
1D Discussion Questions return to top

1. The authors argue that table-top RPGs are "more liberating" than extant computer RPGs. explain and evaluate the reasons for this. Does this suggest any ways that computer RPGs might be improved? [Section 1.2]

2. Explain and evaluate the reasons given for the claim that one might want to be a naïve fictionalist about player's claims concerning what they did. Explain and evaluate the author's critique of naïve fictionalism in this context. To what extent might naïve fictionalism about other philosophically difficult discourses (e.g. talk about mathematical entities, ethical talk, talk about causality and modals such as necessity and possibility, religious talk) remain plausible, given the author's criticisms. [Sections 1.2.1 and 1.2.2]

3. What is a criterion of identity? explain and evaluate The Similarity Argument from Section 1.3.2 as well as the claim that the self is temporally vague. Is it correct to characterize the slow mental decline of someone with Alzheimer's as a series of indeterminate causes analogous to the progression from orange to red on a color chart?

4. Evaluate and explain the arguments for the extended mind hypothesis, as well as the claim that it represents the self as spatially vague in the same manner that The Similarity Argument represents the self as temporally vague?

5. Present the original puzzle about players' avowals  about themselves and describe how
naïve fictionalism and the vague self hypothesis each solve the puzzle. Present another solution to the puzzle distinct from either of these and defend it.

6. Assume you are an employee at a video game design company and that one of your tasks is to help devise ideas for new games. Write a memo to the creative teams showing how the philosophical discussion of this chapter suggests new game design ideas. Remember that you must clearly explain all of the relevant philosophy (including arguments and counter arguments) to the other employees.

[To adequately explain an argument you must explain it such that an intelligent reader who is ignorant of the relevant philosophy would correctly understand the premisses, conclusion and reasoning used in the argument.]

[To adequately evaluate an argument you must first provide the strongest possible case that it is unsound (either contains false premises or uses faulty reasoning) and then (if you intend to support the argument) defend it from the purported refutation you have presented. Note that such a defense might involve changing the original argument.]