Philosophy thread for all levels of interest


#1

Hey everyone!
Since waypoint is interested in the critical thinking of video games with atleast some leanings towards the philosophical I thought that I would start a thread about philosophy.

I’m always interested in expanding my reading list and finding new authors. So please tell me what you are reading atm or what your favorite author is.

Also if you’re curious about philosophy but don’t know much about it feel free to ask anything and hopefully I or someone else is equipped to answer :slight_smile:

As for me I’m a 22 year old Philosophy student from Sweden. I’m currently writing about Hannah Arendt’s political thinking with focus on her book “The human condition” (wich have been referenced on Waypoint and there is a piece about Arendt on Waypoint aswell).

P.S. Bonus points for Philosophy related to video games or philosophy featured in video games.


Philosophy Book Club
#2

this is way below your level but i remember taking an intro level philosophy class and hating kant and liking hume but i have zero recollection as to why


#3

im replying just to make sure im following this thread, i have a dual major in computer science and philosophy but i’ve been letting my philosophy knowledge collect dust, and if there’s anywhere that i’m going to find people willing to talk about it esp. in connection to games, i’m here for it.

my main focus was philosophy of aesthetics, i took classes specifically on philosophy of literature and philosophy of music (i think my favorite class, it involved a live performance of 4’33" by my professor), but im excited to see what people that are more fresh into the subject have to say


#4

I have a dusty Philsophy degree that I harken back to semi-regularly. My main field of interest was epistemology (aka the theory of knowledge, or how we know) and I was leaning hard into existentialism and absurdism by the end of my program. Love whenever Austin dives deep into a game bc I miss the interaction between fellow students and my profs. Nothing like it out in the real world can compare.


#5

I’m studying History in college and as time goes on I’m starting to get really into Philosophy. I’ve never read any academic work of phylosophy so all my contact with it has been through art(movies, novels and games mostly)

I’ve always been interested in learning a bit more of nihilism and after Westworld and NieR Automata I’m really enjoying consuming works about what means to be human and AI becoming sentient(I guess that’s existentialism?)

Some friends and I planned in taking some class of philosophy this semester, but unfortunately it didn’t happen…


#6

A wild guess is that you like analytical philosophy (the school of philosophy that is more interested in being like modern natural science, and wich Hume usually is counted in). I think there is great value in Kant but I still don’t really enjoy reading him. Most teachers agree that Kant is a must-read but I would argue that he is a bad introduction to philosophy.

Sorry if this was a more serious answer than you expected :slight_smile:


#7

I’m pretty firmly in the Continental camp. I study sociology, and incorporate a lot of Critical Theory into my analysis, so I’ve become pretty good at referring to everything as a Panopticon.


#8

Last semester I wrote an essay about Simone de Beauvoir. Existentialism is one of my favorite philosophical schools of thought and Beauvoir is one of the greatest authors of the last century :slight_smile:


#9

I study at the only university in Sweden that teaches continental philosophy (and it is great). On critical theory, I’m taking a course on critique atm and we are reading a lot of Walter Benjamin, for this week I’m reading “Marx critique of Hegel and German ideology”.


#10

How are you liking Benjamin? I’ve been meaning to dive into the Frankfurt School for a while (especially Habermas, Adorno, and Marcuse).


#11

I’ve a good drinking buddy who is a Dr if Philosophy and teaches game design at Uni. I mainly talk with him over a few drams and that counts as my philosophical teachings.

Here he is here in the middle of a paxaus panel on No Man’s Sky which I found interesting


#12

I’m still mid Nier: Automata but it’s clearly made for anyone with any interest in existentialism, as there are characters named after famous existentialists. Additionally, the Zero’s Escape series tackles some philosophy of mind and discusses a number of thought experiments, particularly in Virtue’s Last Reward.

On the literature side of things, I’d recommend Gadamer’s “Truth and Method” and Nietzsche’s “The Birth Of Tragedy” to start thinking about how we approach understanding media in different ways.


#13

I think Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” and Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment are fantastic reading for anyone interested in how modern media works.

I do Cultural Studies, but my philosophy background is far shakier than it should be. Foucault is tremendously important to me, but the most important insights that have really changed how I view culture and society have come from or out of the Birmingham School, e.g. Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, and Antonio Gramsci (haven’t read a lot of Gramsci yet). I also think that Baudrillard can be very interesting, even if he appears to be less fashionable nowadays.


#14

If you want to learn a bit more about existentialism I would recomend Simone de Beauvoir’s “The ethics of ambiguity”. It’s a great read for beginners, she writes in a very calm and understanding way. She also doesn’t name drop a lot and when she references other philosophers like Sartre, Marx or Kirkeagaard she gives enough context for it to still be understandable. (She does talk a bit about nihilism in the book aswell , but in a very critical way)


#15

I can only attest to having read Dutch books, but ‘De bedreigde vrijheid’ from Johan Op de Beeck is pretty interesting (pretty contemporary).

It’s essentially about freedom of speech in Belgium, but not the old debate in which it’s just misunderstood. Rather it looks into weird dichotomies: like how tolerant should we(/the state) be against intolerance, can you save democracy with undemocratic measures, etc.

It generally argues the state should always chose the side of democracy, sometimes at the expense of emotional connection to issues. It argues for the most efficient way of protecting it while allowing debate. Nuance should become king, opinions can and should be allowed to thrive and be as diverse as people themselves. If the opinions become undiscussable, they lose their worth. Rather interesting read.


#16

Thanks for the recommendations! I’m familiar with Gramsci, but not so with Williams or Hall. Do any of their works stand out as something you would absolutely recommend to someone also interested in Cultural Studies?


#17

I just started a philosophy major but have already taken some classes, with my most recent one looking at humor and comedy through philosophy. It was really interesting, cept for the dude who argued that making and laughing at a rape joke doesn’t mean you’re actually supporting or agreeing with it.


#18

It’s been exciting watching more and more theorists come to games as critical objects in the past few years. It’s not totally new. Media theorists like Alexander Galloway and McKenzie Wark were writing about the phenomenon of gaming a decade+ ago, and some of it is very good. Still, a lot of that writing felt a little out of touch with the actual experience or cultural positioning of games, and engaged more with an idealistic vision of the changes in epistemology and ontology that the rise of ‘gaming’ heralded—frequently in ignorance of what gaming actually is, or does.

There’s been more and more exciting academic writing about games, though—it’s a cool time to be someone peeking in the window of academia. N. Katherine Hayles and Samuel Weber curate a great series through UMinnesota Press called “Electronic Mediations,” that has writing from some really wonderful authors: Vilem Flusser, Ian Bogost, Stanislaw Lem. A lot of N. Katherine Hayles’ own writing is incredible. Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux wrote an essay on Dwarf Fortress (“Dwarven Epitaphs: Procedural Histories in Dwarf Fortress”) that I can’t recommend enough. And a lot of recent exciting writing from people like Donna Haraway or Benjamin Bratton is interesting to read in the context of a deepening digital culture, even when it doesn’t explicitly engage with games.

In the same vein, it’s been exciting to see some interesting art approach games/simulations from a conceptual angle. Ian Cheng has an exhibit up at PS1 right now of simulations he’s built using Unity (if anyone’s in NY, worth checking out—if not, it’s streaming on Twitch). New Museum just launched an AR/VR app, Ed Atkins had a big show at the kitchen last year. Digital worlds are blowing up.

If anyone can recommend more theorists doing interesting work on games, I’d love to hear about it!


#19

I think the typical answer would be to start with Williams’ Keywords and specifically the article on “Culture” is a fantastic rundown of the evolution of this complex concept. Williams’ also wrote an essay called “Culture is Ordinary” (or it might be a book chapter, not sure right now, might be from Culture and Society) that was really formative. I think if you are interested in Cultural Studies as a method of analysis of cultural texts, Stuart Hall’s Representations is a great starting point. Very easy read, with exercises and everything.


#20

not at all, i realized after the fact i sounded dismissive when i didn’t intend to

that’s actually a pretty accurate read of how i tended to analyze philosophy - i bonded more with analytical approaches.

actually, i’d be interested in books/readings on intro-level analytical philosophy, if you know of any.