Playing with your self: A philosophical exploration of attitudes and identities in games

Miller, Liam (2016). Playing with your self: A philosophical exploration of attitudes and identities in games PhD Thesis, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2017.52

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Author Miller, Liam
Thesis Title Playing with your self: A philosophical exploration of attitudes and identities in games
School, Centre or Institute School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2017.52
Publication date 2016-12-21
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Gil Burgh
Aurelia Armstrong
Total pages 166
Language eng
Subjects 2203 Philosophy
Formatted abstract
The following thesis is situated at the intersection where philosophy and video games meet. Video games are unique cultural artefacts that ask participants to engage in activities that have little to no point beyond the intrinsic desire to 'play the game'. The domain of philosophy is helpful here for two reasons: firstly, philosophy provides a frame with which to view video games in the context of our world in an attempt to understand the motivation to engage in such activities. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, there is something similar about the kind of engagement that occurs when someone plays and when someone engages philosophically.

Through an analysis of several key texts about play and games (Huizinga, Suits), it will be shown that games can be defined as both an activity and an attitude. As activities, games open a temporary space where action can occur, where games can be played. As an attitude, however, games open temporary spheres of knowledge and belief, where players can experiment and manipulate identities. At its heart, the playful attitude is an educative attitude, in that it allows for the extension of the self into new areas of knowledge and belief.

In this thesis I explore these ideas by looking at the connections between games and education, communities of inquiry, personal identity, and autonomy. One particular focus, from John Dewey, is on rethinking our educative institutions as domains or communities where identities are constructed; how our habitat constructs our habits, and how we, through our habits, construct our habitats. The aim here is to add to the idea that games, and particularly video games, offer a unique way to engage with, and change, the world. Through games, for example, we are able to explore domains of knowledge and structures of belief without having to adhere to, or deny, them.
Keyword Play

Document type: Thesis
Collections: UQ Theses (RHD) - Official
UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
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Created: Thu, 15 Dec 2016, 22:54:36 EST by Liam Miller on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)