The neglect of reason: a plea for rationalist accounts of the effects of virtual violence

Johnny Soraker

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The purpose of this paper is to discuss how experiencing virtual violence might lead to changes in our moral judgments through a process of rational deliberation. This perspective is proposed as a complementary alternative to the dominant tendency in current research to exclusively focus on how virtual violence affects our emotions as behavioural dispositions. I will propose and consider a rationalist, descriptive account that is based on sound principles for case-based reasoning. The controversial notion of ‘virtual rape’ will be used as an example of how the rationalist and emotivist accounts ask fundamentally different questions and how the proposed account can yield an increased understanding of how experiences in virtual worlds can change our moral judgments. This approach can, in turn, yield increased understanding of how games and virtual worlds ought to be designed in order to foster rational deliberation. The ultimate aim of this paper is to make a plea for increased focus on rational deliberation in virtual world research, which calls for increased interdisciplinarity and active collaboration towards a more nuanced and constructive debate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging ethical issues of life in virtual worlds
EditorsCharles Wankel, Shaun Malleck
Place of PublicationCharlotte, NC
PublisherInformation Age Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-1-60752-378-9
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

PublisherInformation Age Publishing


  • METIS-269418
  • IR-94149


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