Grand Theft Auto is a well-known example. Luck also argues that many people deem virtual murder to be perfectly permissible. The following is the definition of virtual paedophilia proposed by Luck again, slightly modified from the text :.
Again, the stipulations focus attention on the paradigmatic case. I have no idea whether there are any video games that allow players to engage in acts of virtual paedophilia, but the existence of such video game is, of course, clearly possible. Luck contends that many people, including those who are nonplussed by virtual murder, are disturbed by virtual paedophilia. But why? Luck considers five possible arguments. Each of them alleges that there is some moral principle that allows us to distinguish between the two cases. The first of the five arguments is, rightly, given short shrift.
British virtual murder mystery game dubbed 'outdoor Clue' to hit San Francisco this summer
The is the argument alleging that the important distinction between virtual murder and virtual paedophilia is that one is socially acceptable while the other is not. Something else must be motivating the social acceptability to make this compelling. It starts from the premise that the real moral problem with virtual acts is not so much what they depict, but what they might lead to. Specifically, the problem is that those who engage in such virtual acts will become more inclined to engage in the real versions of those acts.
The problem is that this premise by itself is too general. The key move is to claim is that a virtually immoral act should be prohibited if it significantly raises the likelihood of someone engaging in the real version of the act. The argument then follows:. Luck suggests that the problems with the argument lie elsewhere.
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Start with premise 2. Are we really so sure that virtual paedophilia does significantly raise the probability of actual paedophilia? Luck notes that the evidence is not particularly strong.
Unfortunately, Luck only cites an article by the philosopher Neil Levy from on this. And her article reaches a similar conclusion: the evidence for a causal link is not robust. Couple this with the problem that there is also evidence perhaps equally inconclusive for a causal link between virtual violence and real-world violence and we have reasons for doubting whether the argument can resolve the dilemma. Furthermore, Luck notes a potential counterargument.
Suppose it was found that virtual performances of an immoral act actually reduced the likelihood of real performances. Would we then have to conclude that virtual performances were permissible? The Argument from Moral Character Another argument against the dilemma focuses not so much on the nature of the acts themselves, but on what they do to the individual performing them.
We can call this the argument from moral character. It claims that the important distinction between virtual murder and virtual paedophilia is that the former can have a positive or neutral , virtue-building, effect, whereas the latter cannot. Indeed, the opposite would seem to be true: the person who performs virtual paedophilia will exhibit vicious, improper, and immoral character traits. What are we to make of this?
The more important issue is with premise 5. You are probably already thinking: but surely virtual murder also develops an immoral character?
There is, however, a response to this. It could be that the killing that takes place in video games is merely an necessary instrument for building some positive 9or neutral traits like competitiveness. It is just part of the competitive, strategy-building quality of the game. The same could be true of the killing that takes place in video games.
There are two objections to this response. First, it means that instances of virtual paedophilia that are part of the competitive infrastructure of the gameworld would be permissible. Second, many virtual murders are not part of the competitive infrastructure of the gameworld. The example of Grand Theft Auto springs to mind again. In that game, people wantonly kill pedestrians and other bystanders, without this advancing their cause within the game.
The Argument from Unfair Targetting Now we get into some murky territory. Instead, they focus on differences between the real-world acts particularly their effect on real-world people and then tries to transpose those differences back onto the virtual versions. Basically, they both claim that there is something especially wrong with child molestation, and that this makes virtual depictions of that act worse than virtual depictions of murder.
This argumentative strategy seems is slightly odd to me, but since Luck discusses it I have to do the same. My main beef is that this type of argument looks pretty weak: how can the real-world differences be transferred back onto the virtual cases in this manner? But leave that to one side. This argument claims that one thing that makes child molestation especially wrong vis-a-vis murder is that it singles out a particular segment of the population for harmful treatment.
It then claims that virtual depictions of unfair targetting are sufficiently serious to warrant prohibition. Luck says this has some intuitive support. Imagine a video game that allowed you to play as the Nazis and to plan and implement the virtual extermination of the Jews. A game like this would surely face staunch moral opposition. That gives us the following:.
British virtual murder mystery game dubbed 'outdoor Clue' to hit San Francisco this summer - SFGate
There are three problems with this. Luck asks us to compare the slaughter of twelve adult humans with the molestation of twelve children. Third, the argument would seem to imply that a game involving indiscriminate molestation i. Surely that cannot be? The Argument from Special Status All of which brings us to the final argument.
This argument claims that children exemplify certain key properties intrinsic to the concept of childhood that makes immoral acts against them especially wrong and hence virtual depictions of those immoral acts especially worthy of prohibition. The properties in question are their innocence, defencelessness, immaturity and so on.
All properties that are, rightly, thought to make children worthy of special moral concern. That leads us to the following argument:. MapleStory players create and manipulate digital images called avatars - which represent themselves - while engaging in relationships and social activities and fighting monsters. Bad online behaviour is usually dealt with within the rules set up by the developers of online worlds, which can ban miscreants or confiscate their virtual possessions. Virtual crimes, however, can also have real life consequences.
In August, a woman in Delaware was charged with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through the virtual reality website Second Life. A year-old boy in Tokyo was also charged with stealing the ID and password of a fellow player in order to swindle virtual currency in an online game. Terms and Conditions. Style Book. Weather Forecast. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation.
Tuesday 25 June Woman arrested after virtual murder A woman in Japan has been arrested after she murdered her virtual husband in a computer game. By Ben Leach. Related Articles. How about that? In How about that?