In Fall 2015 I started putting together tools to reduce the amount of writing I had to do in demonstrating natural deduction to students in class. The idea was to remove the wasted time of writing the problem so that I could show students multiple solutions to the same problem. This idea expanded into the creation of a website to provide students with the ability to practice a number of different kinds of problems using an interface that prioritized efficiency. By prioritizing efficiency in the user interface, the student has a better experience in completing the problems and can complete more problems in less time.
Video games are a so far untapped resource for teaching philosophy. They offer a means for engrossing a student
in a thought experiment and give students agency in ways they might feel lacking in an introduction to philosophy class.
They also provide a means of doing public philosophy, drawing more people to philosophy through their tangential interest in the
content of the game.
I want to help promote the development and use of video games in the teaching of philosophy. To this end I have been making my own philosophical games. I have also presented at the 2018 meeting of the American Association of Philosophy Teachers to demonstrate to other philosophers that anyone can make a video game.
In an effort to meet the goals mentioned above, in January of 2019 I will be hosting a game jam for the creation of philosophical video games.
I hope that the jam will bring interest within the philosophical community to the opportunity video games give us for teaching philosophy. In
addition, the influx of philosophical games will hopefully motivate members of the public to study some philosophy.
Check out the game jam's page here:
Mortal Logic is a digital version of obligationes, a medieval form of disputation. In the game, one player asks yes and no questions
and the other answers. The asker's goal is to drive the answerer into a contradiction. Each turn, the asker may ask a question and, if desired, derive
something from the set of sentences that the answerer has accepted. The game teaches players about validity, consistency, contradiction, and the socratic method.
The game uses a pixel art style with all of the art, excluding fonts, created by me. It is coded in C# using the Unity Game Engine. Tracking of user progress is done with php.
In Mary's Room the player takes on the role of Mary who has no color vision. As the player progresses, she will receive a remote control that both changes Mary's color perception and
allows her to gain knowledge of the physical facts about the colors in her environment. To escape her imprisonment, Mary must solve a series of puzzles involving colors. To do so, she can
either make use of the right kind of color vision (i.e. the color vision of a dog or monochromatic color vision) or she can use the remote to sample the colors of objects around her.
The student is left to reflect on whether the new qualia Mary receives are examples of new facts Mary comes to know. They player will notice that they can solve the puzzles without
the qualia, as long as they have the physical facts. The qualia certainly make the puzzles easier, though.
The game mostly uses 3d assets purchased from the Unity Asset Store. The remote control and a few random assets were created by me. Most of the game is coded in C#, but I make extensive use of shaders I created.
In the Moral Trail, the player controls a caravan traveling across the USA to avoid the encroaching zombie apocalypse. The only control the player over the caravan is the power to set the moral rules
that every member of the caravan must follow. The player can make the rules consequentialist, deontological, or virtue theoretic, or some combination of the three. As the game progresses, the player will
be presented with the decisions made by the members of the caravan. Sometimes the decision will match the players intuitions, and sometimes it will not. The game teaches players about the various ethical
theories, the counterexamples those theories face, and how to amend theories to overcome counterexamples.
All of the art assets, excluding fonts, are my own creation. As with the other games, it is programmed in C# using the Unity Game Engine.
All of my other games can be found on my itch.io account.