2022 Abstracts Stage 3

Philosophy’s contribution to a potentual reform of the jury system

Within crminal law trial by jury continues to be the “gold standard means of delivering justice” as the combined wisdom of twelve jurors is thought to be able to overcome the challenges of interpreting the facts of the case and evaluating evidence. However, while recent polls have demonstrated the public’s support for this system, cases such as Derek Bentley have, have caused some to question whether this is a reliable or effective way of delivering justice. Therefore, the aim of this project was to consider whether our current jury system ought to be replaced by a judiciary of judged. This essay initially began by demonstrating how applying Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutic model of interpretation could help jurors overcome the challenge of having to reconstruct what happened. Moving on to consider the problem of intent, it examined whether Kant’s deontological ethics could help jurors reconstruct and judge the defendents intetions. The essay then moved onto Hegel’s critique of Kant, before demonstrating how John Austin’s study of excuses could provide a linguistic anlalysis of Hegel’s critique. Finally, it turned to consider Hegel’s theory of action to see whether this theory could provide sufficient guidance on the subject of intent.

2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Is the paradox between an authored narrative and player choice responsible for the illusion of internal justification in video games? A look into narrative and player agency, given the circumstances of the relationship between ‘winnable’ video games and the identity we attribute to ourselves as players – with reference to Dennaton Games’ Hotline Miami.

I aim to explore the concept of how we act morally in videogames and what motivates us to do so. I chose to use this game, Hotline Miami, a top-down, two-dimensional pastiche of ultra-violence, stealth and surreal story-telling, played from a canvas of 80s synth subculture particularly notable in the soundtrack and visuals. It is a neo-noir crime drama blearily glimpsed through a psychedelic haze, which follows the nameless protagonist the player controls. It is comprised of numerous chapters, most of which begin with the nameless protagonist waking up in his apartment and being tasked to complete a certain amount of massacres against an unspecific criminal organization at the behest of your answering machine. As hallucinations and reality become increasingly impossible to differentiate, moments of lucidity where you are given the opportunity to reflect on your actions become disturbingly non-existent.

In my project, I want to investigate whether the concept of player choice holds any value and if a video game can provide the territory for a meaning philosophical investigation today. With the factor of responsibility and authored narrative surrounding us, are we able to resist and rationally control our enjoyment of a game wherein you are tasked with committing immoral acts? The philosophers I will use are: Paul Ricoeur and his mimetic narrative of culture and Slovaj Zizek and his views on personal identity in the artistic video gaming world.