The 2016 Workshop on the Philosophy of Games

You’ve reached the archival page for the 2016 Workshop. Please visit the main Philosophy of Games page for updates on future workshops and for my own work on games. 

We’re proud to announce the first Workshop on the Philosophy of Games in October 14th-15th, 2016, split between Utah Valley University in Orem and University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Here’s the final workshop schedule and the poster.

Call For Papers

Inaugural Workshop on the Philosophy of Games

Sponsored by Utah Valley University, the University of Utah, Westminster College and the American Society of Aesthetics

Salt Lake City

October 14 & 15, 2016

Games are growing in cultural weight and importance. There are many philosophical questions that can and have been raised about games: What are games? What is their value? Can games be artworks, or possess aesthetic value? Are there ethical issues that arise with gameplay?

In the philosophical world, discussion of these topics has been split over several communities, which rarely speak to each other, including computer game studies, the philosophy of sport, and digital aesthetics. It is the belief of the conference organizers that these various conversational threads have tremendous relevance to one another, but have remained isolated from each other for sociological reasons. Though there have been conferences specifically on the philosophy of sports, of play, and of computer games, there have been no conferences that seek to address these topics in a unified manner. This workshop aims to unite the various strands of work on the philosophy of games. Furthermore, the workshop aims to unite the discussion of the many forms of games, including videogames, sports, board games, card games, role playing games, and more.

Possible topics to be addressed include, but are not limited to, the following:

-What is the ontological structure of a game? Is it to be identified with the rules of the game, the physical apparatus that supports it, or some larger social structure? In particular, are games such as sports ontologically similar to, or distinctive from, computer games?

-What is the definition of a “game”, and how does it relate to other closely allied concepts, such as “artwork”, “sport”, “play”, and “social contract”?

-What are the norms of game-play? Are there norms for good and bad play, above and beyond simply following the rules?

-Is there an aesthetic value to games? Is there a distinctive aesthetic value to the physical aspects of computer games? Is there an aesthetic value to the play experience? Is there an aesthetic experience to the spectators of game-play?

-Is there a moral value to games? Is there a particular moral problem to enacting fictional violence in a computer game which goes beyond the moral problem of seeing fictional violence in a film? Is there a moral problem to consenting to interfere with one another? Is competition, in itself, problematic or good?

-To what extent is game-play a part of normal life, and to what extent is it removed from normal life?

As this is a workshop, papers will be presented in a round-table format in a single stream. Thus attendees will be able to be present for all papers and presenters will be able to expect all attendees present.

Travel funding compensation will be available for presenters and commentators. We aim to provide at least $500 of travel support for each presenter and commentator.

We invite scholars in any field of studies who take a professional interest in the philosophy of games to submit papers to the inaugural workshop on the philosophy of games. This includes, but is not limited to, scholars in the fields of analytic aesthetic, philosophy of sport, and philosophy of computer games, the philosophy of technology, and the philosophy of play.

Submissions should not exceed 3000 words and be prepared for blind review.

The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2016. Please send your submission and any inquiries for further information to  Notification of accepted submissions will be sent out by August 1.


Organizing Committee:

Thi Nguyen

Brock Rough


Advisory Committee:

Andrew Kania

Jerrold Levinson

Christy Mag Uidhir

Stephanie Patridge

Nick Riggle

Mark Silcox

Grant Tavinor

logo3   American Society for Aesthetics

With partial funding from the American Society for Aesthetics:

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this conference do not necessarily represent those of the American Society for Aesthetics