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Chris
Outsider philosopher, game designer and author
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Hi Ari, Haraway is always rattling around in my head... although I have only read her notorious Cyborg Manifesto, and dabbled with her most excellent discussion of 'companion species', the doors she opened prove most helpful. Again (and I apologise for the endless referring to Chaos Ethics I shall be doing, it being my major work in moral philosophy right now), I make the point in Chaos Ethics that while she is correct that we were always cyborgs, the ants and beavers were cyborgs before us. And as I think I've already mentioned somewhere in this Campaign, all organic life is a cyborg, because this split between organic and inorganic shouldn't be used to disguise the relationship between beings and things. My grateful thanks for that most excellent article on Chile's Project Cybersyn, which was completely unknown to me! This is a brilliant resource, and very much dovetails with my thinking. Indeed, if there was a motto to the Cybervirtue Campaign it could well be these words used as a title within the piece: "technology alone will not create a better world." Cheers! Chris.
Toggle Commented yesterday on What is Cybervirtue? Version 2.0 at Only a Game
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Hi Ari, Your cyborg thought experiment strikes me as a very specific instantiation of the more general problem of connectivity between selves. I discuss this at the start of Chaos Ethics, and draw against Derek Parfit, who in turn draws against Thomas Nagel, with the concept of series-persons: seeing our lives not as one entity, but as a chain of entities. Parfit wants to use this to argue, effectively, for a lenient way of looking at crime - that the crimes of the earlier series-person should not be held against a later series-person, who is effectively a 'different' person. (You may already be familiar with this reference, of course). What I end up doing is putting this into opposition with Alasdair MacIntyre's point that the unity of self - a consistent narrative across our lives - is actually essential for our moral selves. A quick and dirty way of getting to this point is that if we did follow Nagel/Parfit, it invites irresponsibility by basically saying 'whatever I do now, a future series-person won't be accountable for it'. That's not how I pursue this in the book, which is more about raising questions than answering them, but I do side with MacIntyre on this one: yes, we are different people at different times of our lives, but narrative unity is, as Daniel Dennett also argued, the basis of self. We should not be too keen to undermine that. Now, you turn this discussion to corporations... I shall defer this for now! The posts at the beginning of February will hit this point dead on, and will be a good time to discuss your thoughts and ideas. But I do object to your suggested term 'social cyborg' - corporations are rather anti-social cyborgs... and I am definitely interested in how we might encourage virtue in them. As I say - we shall get to this! All the best!
Toggle Commented yesterday on What is Cybervirtue? at Only a Game
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Ari, Extremely pleased, firstly that my memory still functions despite rather too many decades of a lifestyle not congruent with the function of remembering, and also that I have crossed paths with you again! Over the years I have felt tremendous regret at not having any means of remaining in touch with you since that GDC, and would entreat you to contact me via email (there's a link at ihobo.com), or LinkedIn, or even Twitter, so that I can use my robots to form some kind of more durable connection. The nature of such, of course, is not as robust as actually being engaged via some kind of local community - but it is far better than losing contact forever! Furthermore, your participation in this Campaign could not be more welcome... I expect it will be briskly paced to begin with (as I already have a publisher for a book, and we might be trying to get it out this year, so I have a rush of rapid drafts in the pipeline), but I hope the discussions will go on for quite some time afterwads, and thus allow people to dip in and out as their circumstances allow. Your other comments will have to wait until the morrow, as I need to be winding down, but I look forward to reading them then. With unlimited love, Chris.
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If virtues are the positive qualities of beings, what are the positive qualities of cyborgs? We call the admirable habits of humans ‘virtues’, so we can call the exemplary properties of the systems they form with their robots cybervirtues. What... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Only a Game
Unhappy with the way Tuesday’s Cybervirtue post went down, so I’ve edited it into a cleaner form and I’m rerunning it today. The sections I’ve cut have been edited together into a piece with a different theme that I’ll run... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Only a Game
Ari, Many thanks for being the first player in the Cybervirtue campaign! You say we met at GDC: this matches up with several memories of people I met at GDC but did not get contact details for and have since cursed myself for my carelessness. Would you, perhaps, be someone that I took out for drinks on her Majesty's expenses...? ;) This is the memory that this name evokes in me, anyway. I think there is something about the black library that goes beyond the economic, which is why I wanted to chose this as a starting point - and indeed, your comment brings that out more effectively than my prologue here. I found it striking that some artists, e.g. Fleet Foxes, if memory serves, claimed they would never have been exposed to all their influences without file sharing (and thus, they did not mind their music being shared in this way). New technology invites new thinking, but it doesn't usually get it. This 'campaign' is my attempt to try - and I need help. I hope you will stick around and continue to share your perspective as this exploration continues over the weeks and months ahead! Chris.
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Hi Olivia, It seems to me that someone would have a way of defending that as political, if such was their bent. :) But I fear your appeal to desert islands would go down about as well as my appeal to foxes. Many thanks for commenting! Chris.
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Tale of Tales commented on this piece via Twitter, saying: "Seeing our design ideas talked about in an article about our work sends chills down my spine. It's so rare! So glad you understood and appreciated the importance of the sunset. The narrative was only added for conformity to convention."
Toggle Commented 3 days ago on Sunset at ihobo
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Over on another of my blogs, you’ll find a developing discussion of cybervirtue, the positive qualities of cyborgs – like you and your smartphone. Thoughts, pushback, and further contributions welcome! Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at ihobo
Pleased to report that Jon Cogburn, who is one of the professional philosophers interested in games (rather than professional games designers embroiled in philosophy, such as Ian Bogost, Stefano Gualeni, and myself…), took an interest in the first Babich and... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Only a Game
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This is a critique, not a review. My review is: ‘if you care about artgames, you should buy and play this game’. The moment I finished playing Sunset, I went on to replay Façade, one of several games in 2005... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at ihobo
Over on ihobo today, my critique of Tale of Tales’ 2015 artgame Sunset. Here’s an extract: There are guns in Sunset, but you never see them. Indeed, this is a game that spectacularly eschews conventional spectacle. Throughout the games’ slowly-unfolding... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Only a Game
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If virtues are the positive qualities of beings, what are the positive qualities of cyborgs? We call the admirable habits of humans ‘virtues’, so we can call the exemplary properties of the systems they form with their robots cybervirtues. For... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Only a Game
Hi Tobias, This is one of the most thoughtful commentaries on Ghost Master that I've read. I confess to a great pleasure in reading players of Ghost Master talking about their strategies, and your self-set challenge to lay all three ghosts to rest while still getting a triple pumpkin blows my mind - I thought just getting the triple pumpkin was enough, but wow, that's some serious gamesmanship on your part to up the ante all the way to the very top! It is a great shame that the game was not more of a success, although I have a very real sense nowadays of why this game could not have commercially succeeded at the time. I think, perhaps, it is better that it is the unique artefact that it is rather than it was delivered in a more commercial form... sometimes, it's good to reflect on the achievement of making something special, even if something that was less interesting could have succeeded better in the marketplace. I'm short of time, but about the ghosts that were cut... the 'lay to rest' puzzles were very demanding for the development team, particularly in terms of testing, and we had to make a few cuts for this. Some were cut because of impracticalities of various kinds, and there was always more ghosts planned than were to be delivered (to cover us in the event of problems). Of the ones we lost, I was particular sad about Thorne, because a pirate ghost is such an iconic character. It's very exciting to think that these can be modded back into life! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your appreciation with me - this game will always be special to me, and indeed I don't think I'll ever work on a game as unique as this again. Despite its flaws, it is the game that I feel best shows off what I can achieve as a game designer, and it means the world to me that it still has its fans. All the very best, Chris.
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When pirates make copies of music, television shows, movies, or books, they don’t just keep it for themselves, and they don’t sell them on for money – they share their files freely with their (illegal) community. That means file-sharing pirates... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2017 at Only a Game
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When file sharing first exploded onto the technology scene, it was something many of my friends were involved in. For some, it was just exciting and new – hear The Orb’s new album before it’s released on Napster, get torrents... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at Only a Game
Glad to hear it was only a temporary blip! Hope your Christmas was also a good one.
Toggle Commented Jan 4, 2017 on Choose-Your-Own Winter Festival at Only a Game
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Welcome back to Only a Game, the curious meanderings of philosopher and game designer Chris Bateman! Last year, I published a short-form philosophy book, Wikipedia Knows Nothing, which asks us to consider whether knowledge is best understood as practices (and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2017 at Only a Game
Hi Lam, Cho Dai Dee has substantial variability in the house rules for dealing with straights. These two websites both have solid versions of the rules, but disagree on how to handle straights: "Twos do not rank high in straights, but below the 3, so the highest straight is A-K-Q-J-10 including the ace of spades." https://www.pagat.com/climbing/bigtwo.html "In a Straight, 2 is treated as being low for the purpose of making the Straight but it is always the highest ranked card when comparing two Straights, whereas A can be high or low (both not both at the same time) for the purpose of making the Straight but it is always the 2nd highest ranked card when comparing two Straights" http://whitey.net/en/big-two-card-game-rules.htm The rules as posted here assume that Aces are the highest ranked card for straights, hence the A,K,Q,J,10 is the top straight and the Wheel (A,2,3,4,5) is just behind it. However, I would note that my wife and I never play this way in practice and align more with the second rules description above. Thanks for the query!
Toggle Commented Jan 2, 2017 on Big Two: Rules at Only a Game
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Wishing you all (delete as applicable) an Auspicious Dhanu Sankranti, Happy Milad-un-Nabi, Serene Buddhist New Year, Happy Hannukah, Merry Yalda, Solemn Zaratosht No Diso, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice, Blessings upon the followers of Bahá'u'lláh, and Felicitations on the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2016 at Only a Game
The Last of the Continental Philosophers was a four part dialogue between veteran Nietzsche scholar Babette Babich and ‘outsider philosopher’ Chris Bateman, looking at why continental philosophy is something every academic philosopher claims for their own while the practices of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2016 at Only a Game
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What started as a discussion about the (doomed?) state of continental philosophy turned last week to the reasons that analytic philosophers claimed the ‘continental flag’ for themselves. Now, the discussion concludes by moving into the relationship between analytic philosophy and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2016 at Only a Game
Over at The Journals of Doc Surge, Chris Billows has written a blog-letter to conclude our exchanges over philosophy and psychology over the last two years. Here’s an extract: Philosophy is the eldest thinking system and is deserving of respect.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2016 at Only a Game
Hi Nate, It is interesting to hear you say that you have 'only ever practiced analytic philosophy' - I think there is a strong impression that this style is what contemporary philosophy is about, rather that it being one set of practices among many. Babette's conception of continental philosophy as raising problems is one with significant merits - but it is hard for most people to appreciate why you would want to do this! Yet if we don't, we run the risk of not really seeing into the corners of our worlds. This, for me, is why there is a greater need for continental thinking at this time (while I still assert the usefulness of analytic methods): we have problems that we are not engaging with, and they need to be laid open and thought about, not treated as something that can be solved purely by analysis. Many thanks for your comment here! Chris.
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Hi Janet, Your raise a lot of interesting tangents here... rather than attempt to respond to them all, I shall pick up a few points. "My reading of this "divide" is through Foucault. Divide itself assumes the DISCOURSE of a linear, continuous, progressive, historical world and we know that the world is ruled by EVENTS!" If we come at this through Foucault, we have a very clear way of understanding this divide: as two discrete discursive formations (cf. Archaeology of Knowledge). This indeed is precisely how I understand the divide - not as part of a 'continuous, progressive, historical world', but as communities of practitioners who have different practices. You seem to want to assert a false dichotomy here: Foucault suggests a different understanding here; two discursive practices that diverged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, one of which is under pressure to maintain any viable, employed practitioners. The open question here is whether this dispute represents an internal pressure inside a single discursive practice (as you seem to be asserting) or whether we have two discrete discursive formations. I favour the latter interpretation, because the network of discourses being folded-in are pulled from different spaces (the sciences for analytic, and humanities for continental). What has to be determined from a Foucauldian perspective is whether the contradiction between these discourses is intrinsic (e.g. systematic vs. methodological natural philosophy in the 17th century) or extrinsic (Linneas vs. Darwin/Natural History vs. biology). My sense of it is that an initial intrinsic contradiction between methods has now produced an extrinsic contradiction. I welcome discussion on this point, which is in no way settled. Does continental philosophy talk about the same objects as analytic philosophy? This is a question Foucault would ask here. And I believe there is a significant discussion to be had in this regard, particularly in terms of the question: is it that analytic philosophy does not talk about personal, phenomenal experience or that it cannot? "Analytic philosophy quickly bores me with its "gray prose" and I rarely finish one." I understand this criticism, although I get on fine with its prose style. The mirror-flaw in continental philosophy is the creation of a custom lexicon of terms that makes it harder to understand. ;) Many thanks for the suggestion to read Diane Rubenstein, and it is great to hear that Babette's work is "revered among younger dazzling minds" - what we will do when the current crop of continental philosophers are hired out by analytics in the English speaking world, I have no idea. So while it is exciting to be challenged by the suggestion that continental is the more dominant discourse, and I am open to persuasion on this point, I am not yet convinced. Thanks for your detailed commentary! Chris.
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