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Inveterate philosopher, game designer and author
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Hey Peter - so thrilled to have finally written something that has enticed you out of the woodwork! :D The dichotomy you speak of is palpable - and of course, the centralised money keeps the momentum towards centralised content. I *love* the idea of a decentralised system that could unite existing content with the non-hierarchical benefits of the internet architecture itself and the access-agnosticism of RSS. If you ever write up anything in connection to this, I would be happy to post, cross-post, or otherwise publicise your ideas. I am feeling (as you can see) an increasing need to break away from corporate-managed 'conversations' and a desperate longing for more substantial discourse, of the kind I used to get out of the blogosphere. Anything that leads in that direction - whether successful or not - is something I want to support! All the best to you and your lovely wife, Chris.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on A Social Intelligence Network at Only a Game
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Thanks for the comments! I was getting lonely here... :) Bart: I love Fuller's World Game, and looked at making a digital version of this not that long ago, although the project floundered on funding (as is so often the case). Regarding collisions between disagreeing parties, the SIN conception above is intended to separate participants by worldview into competing clusters so that (by default) you are communicating with people who share your perspective, while those with alternative perspectives are still accessible. It's intended to be a foam of bubbles, each one a separate 'reality', if you will - you can cross realities, but of course, at your own risk! I'm not sure this would work - but it's an interesting concept, at least. The VSN, on the other hand, is cellular, but allows for many different cells. So you would hopefully get the diversity of perspective from bridging between cells, although I didn't really discuss this idea here (I only hinted at it). So if you imagine that you might belong to two cells of 20 people discussing a topic, you allow for propagation of ideas between those cells. In that way, the network is much larger than your cell. Again, this is a blue sky idea - but I find it promising on paper. These are definitely hard problems - I suspect made even harder by most people not really caring about their solution. :D Michael: apologies for problems logging in. I have a TypePad account that I use for logging in; could you not set up a (free) TypePad account if you don't like using Facebook to connect? Many thanks for the description of other experiments in similar areas - this is all new information to me! As for 'who watches the watchmen?', the idea of the SIN is that it is a combination of manual and automated systems. It is this which is most speculative in how it functions, but I think there is a possibility here for automated agents that respond to information gathered from users. Of course, robot police is a dangerous idea in any community... but I think for this kind of situation, it might just work. --- Many thanks for both your comments! It is much appreciated.
Toggle Commented 7 days ago on A Social Intelligence Network at Only a Game
1 reply
Could a social medium be designed for leveraging collective intelligence, rather than entertainment and advertising? We currently have social networking media, but we do not yet have social intelligence media. Existing social media is effective at building networks based upon... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Only a Game
In Part II: Allen Wood on Tolerance, Professor Allen W. Wood argued against my concept of ‘intolerant tolerance’. This final part explores the contemporary political situation in the United States, and asks what hope there might be for peace. Chris:... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2014 at Only a Game
In Part I: Against Chaos the conversation focussed upon Professor Allen W. Wood’s arguments against my association with liberal movements and chaos. In this second part, the discussion switches to tolerance, and the political implications of intolerance. Allen: I resist... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2014 at Only a Game
Good on you Ren! I don't think Terra Nova's problems are to do with the topic, it's blogs themselves that are struggling to survive against the onslaught of temporal erosion - shorter form communications (i.e. various forms of social media) have forced out the long-form blogs. My Republic of Bloggers idea is an attempt to push against this: It's quite possible this is a quixotic tilting at windmills. But I was never afraid of windmills. Long live Terra Nova! Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2014 on Arise TerraNova at Terra Nova
Earlier this year, I exchanged emails with Professor Allen W. Wood after sending him a copy of the page proofs for Chaos Ethics which I described as “the least Kantian book of Kantian ethics thus far written”. To my surprise,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at Only a Game
Doug (@doougle) replied via Twitter as follows: "Whoa cool thanks for the link. I don't really do much writing anymore, and that feels like so long ago... re: treacherous play, I'd say Schechner's concept of "dark play" gets to the heart of it for me (and Miguel?) re: your textbook - I guess this discussion hinges on whether one is focusing more on biz dev or aesthetics Which is to say - I don't think Miguel or I were ever too concerned about sales or industry (for better or worse) I guess I feel like the nature of play is such that *any* textbook maxim will always beg for subversion That doesn't mean that game textbooks are fruitless. But maybe they're *supposed* to be foils for subversion."
Toggle Commented Sep 18, 2014 on Treacherous Play at ihobo
1 reply
Over on ihobo today, a new blog letter addressing Miguel Sicart and Douglas Wilson. Here's an extract: Treachery has long been an important aspect of competitive boardgames, but in videogames there seems to be far less betrayal between players. When... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2014 at Only a Game
An open letter to Miguel Sicart at and Douglas Wilson at as part of the Republic of Bloggers. Other replies welcome! Dear Miguel and Doug, Treachery has long been an important aspect of competitive boardgames, but in videogames... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2014 at ihobo
Thanks for coming back, Carolyn, and for this thoughtful extension to your earlier comment. I don't have a great deal to add beyond suggesting that you may be undervaluing your own "wattage". ;) I fear that intellectualism is all too often a game of words; specialist terminology keeps it a fairly private game, but at the cost of narrowing who can be involved. Perhaps to some, this might be a gain. But I think in philosophy there is a great need for people like Mary Midgley who can 'cross between worlds'. I aspire to the same, but I don't know how well I succeed sometimes! :) Regarding large families, we seem to have hit an awful phase whereby we have lost the benefits of the extended family (e.g. sharing the childcare, immediate and personal support) in pursuit of (laudable) individual freedoms that have the unintended cost of isolating and breaking up communities and replacing them with singletons and duos... I wonder if there is any way to get back the benefits of the extended family (or something like it) without losing the gains in individual autonomy, and better (while still imperfect) gender relations. The essential experience of humanity is to pursue one vision of the good, and to fail to see how that pursuit introduces its own problems. Anyway, as ever, your comments are always welcome, and on any post - no matter how old! I enjoy watching the old material come around again, and encountering fresh perspectives on things I had forgotten writing! All the best, Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2014 on Sexual Beliefs at Only a Game
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Carolyn: many thanks for your thoughtful comment, and for revisiting this piece from six years ago. I must object, however, to your claim that you "don't belong" - anyone who can read belongs here. You are more than welcome here! I doubt E. will respond to your comments - I have no idea who they are, or where they went - but I would like to reiterate a point I made above that there is a disconnect between Catholics and the Vatican that is not stressed often enough (especially by the Vatican!). Although I am not and never have been Catholic, I favour reforms of the kind suggested by Charles Taylor, which amount to replacing centralised Vatican 'law-making' with virtue-ethical Christianity through a focus on Saints as examples of Christian life. This change may seem like a small step, but it could radically reform the 'powerlessness' of women who, as you suggest, do not seem to be in command of their own bodies. However, I do not agree that 'no man would ever accept such a condition' - you are perhaps forgetting 'non-practicing' gay Catholic men who it seems to me are also not in control of their own bodies. I suspect it would not be hard, by examining taboos on masturbation, enforced sports training regimes, and several other 'masculine' activities, to find other examples of men who did not feel their bodies were their sole possession, both religious and secular. But beyond this, I am not wholly convinced that our bodies can or should be our sole possession. When I see my wife breast feeding our four-month old son, I am acutely aware that her body is currently not entirely her own. When I have to rock my son to sleep, so my wife can get some much needed rest, I am also giving my body for others, although in a more trivial sense, of course. The problem, I am suggesting, is not total autonomy (which can be a misleading moral ideal), but in finding a balance between using our bodies to support our families, our chosen communities, and ensuring that we are not slaves or surrogates to them. This balance is, in practice, just as hard to find as 'total autonomy' - but it is, I would suggest, worth the pursuit. We are not alone, and cannot afford to live as if we were. Finally, may I ask (if you manage to see this comment): how did you find this piece? All the best, Chris.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2014 on Sexual Beliefs at Only a Game
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It's official - Chaos Ethics is in the warehouse, and the ebook has also been digitally issued. That means even though the release date is still a little over two weeks away, the book is already available to buy as... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at Only a Game
Suggest Jesus was just another human and you horrify orthodox Christians – suggest Galileo wasn’t heroic, and you horrify orthodox Positivists. How do disputes over historical facts possess this power to induce horror? The inability to bear contradictory conceptions is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at Only a Game
Been doing a spot of servicing here on Only a Game, mostly just updating the sidebar, which hasn’t significantly changed for two years. If anyone has any suggestions or requests for changes in the layout or referenced content here (e.g.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2014 at Only a Game
Martin Pichlmair wrote this great response to my No-one is Independent argument, looking at this from the perspective of the indie game developer. You can read the entirety of his Struggling for Independence on his Gamasutra blog. Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at ihobo
Martin Pichlmair wrote this great response to my No-one is Independent argument, looking at this from the perspective of the indie game developer. You can read the entirety of his Struggling for Independence on his Gamasutra blog. Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2014 at Only a Game
DapperAnarchist: these are actually two lines of discussion that I ended up omitting for brevity, wanting to keep this piece relatively concise. :) I agree - the drone is the culmination of a trend in war machines, and not a beginning point. But it is a potent symbol of a problem that we are only just starting to take seriously. As for Heidegger, I'm wary of hearsay and uncertain as to how strong the case of anti-semitism in his regard actually is. Karl Löwith suggests that the Nazis were not convinced his national socialism was sufficiently motivated by concerns of racial purity, which would seem to tally against this claim. Certainly Heidegger did not speak out as much as he could have done - but I think this is true of a great many people in Germany at that particular time... Honestly, I am far from an expert on Heidegger, so perhaps it is best that I not say any more than that. Many thanks for the comment, especially the historical references to the origins of attack helicopters, which is new to me. All the best, Chris.
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Hi Ubi, I get a sense of where you are coming from here - I know several people in the Tennessee pagan community who are not a million miles from this sort of approach. Apologies for misreading you as an iconoclast! Comments are always welcome, whether they agree or disagree. :) All the best, Chris.
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The Daleks, the most feared race in the science fiction universe of Doctor Who. But is their terrible warcry of "Exterminate!" just a chilling historical reference to the Nazi's 'Final Solution', or is it also a horrific reflection of our... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at Only a Game
Hi Ubi, You might have misread Nietzsche here - his 'God is dead' proclamation is not simply an attack on Christianity or a denial of the Christian godhead, although he was a prominent 'anti-Christian'. His transvaluation of values project was more far reaching than idol-smashing, although he enjoyed playing with this theme (e.g. with the title "Twilight of the Idols: How to Philosophise with a Hammer"). I don't think Nietzsche's project could have succeeded, but it would be wrong to consider him 'only' as an atheist/godslayer either way. A similar point can be made, from a few centuries earlier, in respect to David Hume. Again, a different project but an important precursor to the rise of positivism (and hence contemporary atheism) over the centuries that followed. Hume's outright rejection of miracles and the miraculous opened a certain door. You're correct that Theravada Buddhism doesn't advocate 'slaying' gods - it would be odd to suggest doing this from within their view of the world... I took your 'slaying' to be metaphorical - it would seem to be a very different kind of challenge if it is not to be taken figuratively! :) The trouble with being an iconoclast, as Bruno Latour draws attention to, is that you can never be entirely sure of the value of what you are doing... I don't find much difference between those who turn on all gods and those who just turn on the gods they don't worship. There's a definite sense whereby these positions are equivalent. Hitchens jokes about this, of course - but I don't think he really understood that he was praising himself for being the bigger bigot. It's a funny old world. Not sure what you hope to get from coming to my site, but if you want to continue our discussion I would suggest getting a wider perspective of my philosophy than just this one piece. Given your interests, how about this (now quite old) piece on "Freedom of Belief"? Alternatively, you might not be interested in what I'm doing here, in which case I'll still thank you for stopping by and wish you all the best in your future 'idol smashing'. :)
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Thanks for your comment, Ubi Boga, although I presume from it that you are not well versed in religion or philosophy... For philosophy that walks in similar lines to your ethos here, see Nietzsche or Dennett. For religion, the relationship between Theravada Buddhism and the Hindu traditions it grows out of walks in a similar direction. Plenty of religions have moved to set aside gods - but it turns out, it wasn't ever the *gods* that were the problem... Take care, Chris.
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Thanks for the kind words, Zidders! It was a shame that Sick Puppies closed, but I'm still glad that this game was made - I've worked on over 40 videogames, but there's only three or four that I really value, and this is one of them. All the best!
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2014 on What's Stopping a Ghost Master Kickstarter? at ihobo
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Over on ihobo today, a reply to Jed Pressgrove's blog letter about defining RPG genres, exploring the plurality of what the role-playing game genre entails. Here's an extract: It is worth being clear that generating a character - valorised in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at Only a Game
Dear Jed, Your letter to me, The Game of Defining RPGs, was warmly received for many reasons, but not least of which was your willingness to play with my methods - to play my game, if you will. While others... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at ihobo