Chapter 4 return to philosophy through video games web page
Games and God's Goodness (World-Builder and Tycoon Games)

4A Key Words
4B Key Arguments
4C Cool Links
4D Discussion Questions
4A Key Words return to top 

Categorical Imperative
Deontological ethics
Divine command theory
Greatest Happiness Principle
Scriptural ethics  
4B Key Arguments return to top 

The Argument from Fallibility
The Euthyphro Dilemma
The Projection Argument

4C Cool Links return to top
  1. The Christian Science Monitor, “Christian Video Game Creates a Stir,” (accessed March 21, 2008).
  2. Wikipedia, “The Bible and Homosexuality,” (accessed January 22, 2008).
  3. Michael Austin, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Divine Command Theory,” (accessed March 21, 2008).
4D Discussion Questions return to top

1. In one or two pages describe the "human cost" (lives substantially injured or ruined, people killed) of the reign of any one of the following: Alexander the Great, Frederick the Great, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Louis the Fourteenth, or Napoleon. Answering this question will require substantive research! In your answer you must give dates, places, and numbers, and you must cite sources according to The Chicago Manual of Style.

2. In the Western (i.e. possibly excluding theistic forms of Hinduism) theological tradition God is generally presented as being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. Describe these virtues and define the extent to which designers, players, and avatars of "god games" manifest them. [Section 4.2]

3. Define and explain Scriptural ethics and explain and evaluate the Projection Argument and the Argument from Fallibility. [Section 4.3]

4. Define and explain Divine Command Theory and explain and evaluate the Euthyphro Dilemma. [Section 4.4]

5. Explain  utilitarianism and deontological ethics. Provide one plausible counterexample to each. Augment your discussion with articles on these theories from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [Section 4.5.1]

6. Come up with the idea for a new game that accomplishes the task set out by the authors in Section 4.5.2. Write a memo to your design team describing this game as well as how it will instantiate playable ethical dilemmas.

7. In Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale, 2001) Jonathan Glover argues that even if historians were to determine that more people died as the result of Stalinist communism, Hitler's nazism was still morally worse, because the basic ideas on which communism is based (universal brotherhood, equality) are morally defensible, while the basic ideas of nazism (revenge, pride, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia) are not. Explain and evaluate this claim. Again, you must do some research (and cite properly!) to minimally  determine what the basic ideas of these two creeds are as well as to estimate the human cost of the actions of their adherents.