The Philosophers' Magazine
May 10, 2004 5:44 PM   Subscribe

Interactive Philosophy Games :: Construct a God, explore your morals, take a new look at what it means to be alive, plus Shakespeare vs. Britney Spears. Or, you can just read it for the articles.
posted by anastasiav (13 comments total)
anastasiav hangs her head in shame at the weirdness of formatting in this post. I have no idea where those extra spaces came from. I'm so sorry.
posted by anastasiav at 5:55 PM on May 10, 2004

Oh boy, I love this kind of stuff. I pitted Shakespeare against Jane Austen in "Shakespeare vs. Britney", and Shakespeare won by a nose at 57 to 55.
posted by greengrl at 6:07 PM on May 10, 2004

the weirdness of formatting in this post

ok, y2karl.

*hides behind beth*
posted by quonsar at 6:10 PM on May 10, 2004

Very nice. This is good.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:19 PM on May 10, 2004

A situation arises where you can either save your own child from death or contact the emergency services in order to save the lives of ten other children. You cannot do both, and there is no way to save everyone. Which course of action are you morally obliged to follow?
Good grief, does this mean that the people who assembled the game didn't get completely sick of this sort of wankery their freshman year of college? :-)
posted by quarantine at 6:53 PM on May 10, 2004

Great post.

I'll be sending friends there to play some of these games. Then I'll be judging their results. If I don't agree with their choices I will send a donation on their behalf to an East Timorese child that 50% of the time will cure the child of blindness and 50% of the time will be a bottle of poison that “messes up their neural pathways”, leading to a loss of memory and also a change in personality traits. I have yet to decide if I'll be morally responsible for anything.
posted by snarfodox at 6:56 PM on May 10, 2004

Very nifty! These are much fun. Thanks, anastasiav.
posted by lobakgo at 8:59 PM on May 10, 2004

The games are interesting, but the subtext irritates me a little. There seems to be an underlying assumption that consistency and moral parsimony (i.e. simple no-special-preferences moral systems) are philosphically 'better'. Who would you rather save from drowning: your partner, or 100 well-known spammers? TPM would say you logically ought to save the spammers.
posted by raygirvan at 8:58 AM on May 11, 2004

I love these games, I went through all of them a few weeks ago. It's easy to have a consistent position on God when you're an atheist!

raygirvan, I don't this that assumption is any more than underlying. I think they betray the belief of many "philosophers" that logical consistency is paramount. But in the wrap-up of one of the games that literally state that one isn't necessarily "better" than the other.

If anything, I found there's an assumption that everyone has an image or model of God! Again, my position is pretty consistent because I believe that a personified "God" doesn't exist, but that different traditions project what they consider the best qualities of man and the universe onto that title. So why do I have to choose one model or another?
posted by billpena at 9:28 AM on May 11, 2004

I'm thinking this is a double post, but they've added a few new games since last I saw it so it's a good refresher.

I like how the Taboo game asks at the end for certain particulars about you to compare with other respondants, and they make a distinction between university degrees of (other) and (Philosophy). I know a few Philosophy grads, and their studies have certainly directed their perspective on issues.

Interesting too how all the consistent constructed gods contain the caveat about not likely being in the Abrahamic tradition. Too bad they're too busy debunking that particular god to take a wider view to encompass some of the other religions of the world (who can be pretty inconsistent in their own way).
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:51 AM on May 11, 2004

billpena: OK. I did the tests a few months back. I just got the impression that some of the initial questions made it pretty clear that consistency and parsimony were the "good" replies, despite the disclaimer at the end.

And anyway, some of the questions seem loaded to trap you into contradictions: for instance, whatever you choose in #1 of the Philosophical Health Check ("There are no objective moral standards; moral judgements are merely an expression of the values of particular cultures") you'll run into trouble, because you can't choose a more complex position, such as believing that some moral issues, empirically, appear universal and others cultural.
posted by raygirvan at 5:02 PM on May 11, 2004

This was once one of my favorite sites, thanks for reminding me, it's been a while since I checked back for new material.
posted by dejah420 at 7:59 PM on May 11, 2004

Hey, did anyone find the pattern in the science card game? (Which I deliberately lost because I couldn't be arsed to play through it all and wanted to read the article at the end, which was pretty interesting but still didn't reveal the answer.)
posted by Tlogmer at 10:19 PM on May 11, 2004

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