Zack Garrett

Ph.D. Candidate
University of Nebraska - Lincoln

@tall_shrimp
zackgarrett127@gmail.com
itch.io Profile


Conferences

Research
- Logica 2017 - Hejnice, Czech Republic - ``Semantic Nihilism and Supervaluationism''

Teaching
- AAPT 2016 - Saginaw, Michigan - ``Reducing the Burden of Practice for Introductory to Logic Students''
- AAPT 2018 - Greensboro, North Carolina - ``Designing Video Games for Teaching Philosophy''

Comments
- Pacific APA 2016 - San Francisco, California - ``Drifting to Bermuda'' by Max Hayward



Dissertation








Writing Sample






Logikapp

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.


Try Logikapp Here


Logikapp contains the following features:

Categorial Logic
- Venn Diagrams for Statements
- Venn Diagrams for Categorical Syllogisms
- The Square of Opposition
- Proving Validity for Immediate Inferences

Propositional Logic
- Symbolization of English Sentences
- Truth Tables
- Natural Deduction


Classes Taught

all classes were taught at University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Phil 110: Logic and Critical Thinking
An introduction to the principles of formal reasoning and their application. The class is 20% informal logic, 30% Aristotelian categorical logic, and 50% propositional logic.

- Summer 2015
- Summer 2017
- Summer 2018

Phil 211: Introduction to Modern Logic
A more advanced introduction to formal logic. The class is 40% propositional logic and 60% predicate logic.

- Summer 2016

Phil 106: Philosophy and Current Issues
- Fall 2016
An introduction to ethics with a focus on current issues including abortion, climate change, and mandatory vaccination.

- Fall 2017
An introduction to ethics through the lens of political philosophy. All topics centered around the trade off between freedom and security.

Phil 101: Introduction to Philosophy
- Spring 2018
An introduction to philosophy through paradoxes and puzzles. The topics of the class included, but were not limited to, the liar's paradox, the sorites paradox, the problem of the criterion, and the grandfather paradox.





Goal

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.




Philosophy Game Jam

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:

Philosophy Game Jam




Mortal Logic


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.

Try Mortal Logic Here






Mary's Room


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.

Try Mary's Room Here





The Moral Trail


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.



Other Games


All of my other games can be found on my itch.io account.

itch.io





Languages

Natural Languages
- English (fluent)
- Japanese (intermediate)
- Chinese (intermediate)
- German (beginner)

Programming Languages
- C# (fluent)
- javascript (fluent)
- php (intermediate)



Tools

Game Design
- Unity
- Watson Unity SDK
- Photon Networking

Web Design
- jQuery