Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

December 6, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Game Experts Rank Their Top 5 Games of the Decade

This year marks the end of the second decade of the 2000s. In honor of this, we thought we’d take a look back at our decade with an end-of-year series. The internet loves lists, especially year-end ones, and we’ll feed that love a little bit this December. We’ll be hosting seven lists of expert Decade-Best picks. We’ve done movies, and you can look forward to writing, television, music, traditional visual arts, and one surprise list at the end. Each will include philosophers working in these and related areas, but also other academics whose work concerns these topics and people working in the relevant media. But up today: games! We asked our experts to rank their top five games of all kinds, so let’s see what the 2010s gave us to play with. Our contributors are: Christopher Bartel, professor in Philosophy at Appalachian State University Thi Nguyen, associate professor in Philosophy … Continue reading

August 21, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Playing Games with History: Philosophers on the Ethics of Historical Board Games

In a recent New York Times article, journalist Kevin Draper brings us up to date on some recent controversies in the world of historical board games. The article centers on the cancellation of Scramble for Africa, a historical board game which was to let players take the role of European powers exploring and exploiting Africa, trying to get the most resources. Joe Chacon, the designer of Scramble for Africa, was accused of not treating this situation with appropriate seriousness. In his game, the savagery that was part and parcel of that exploration seems to be dealt with in minor and trivializing ways. The players must put down rebellions, and can slow their opponents by inciting native revolts. Random events include “penalties for atrocities” and rewards for ending slavery. Butchery is gameified. The article raises a number of fascinating questions. What are the ethics of gaming history? Can we ever gameify our troubled past, and … Continue reading

March 6, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Is Commander Shepard Female? Determining Canon in Video Games

What follows is a post in our JAAC x AFB collaborative series, where we highlight articles from the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. This post features Marissa D. Willis’ recent paper, “Choose Your Own Adventure: Examining the Fictional Content of Video Games as Interactive Fictions“. “Video games don’t tell stories,” he told me. “They’re just games.” So said a friend of mine when I told him I was writing about video games as works of fiction. And despite his mansplaining my own topic to me, my friend was giving voice to the very problem which I hope to address. Despite the fact that more people are playing video games these days than ever before, and game makers continue to create more inventive and engaging narrative works every day, my friend is not alone in his opinion.

July 3, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Why Fashion is More Than a Mere Consumer Object

What follows is a guest post by Laura T. Di Summa (William Paterson University). Perhaps we can agree on the fact that philosophers have not, for the most part, taken fashion very seriously. There seems to be something wrong, specifically, about being fashionable – about trafficking in the world of glossy magazines, runways, and looks and styles that change, frequently, and at a price. There seems to be something wrong about wearing the very clothes we find in those magazines, about buying them, and about investing energy (and money) in keeping up with them.

April 27, 2016
by Aesthetics for Birds
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ASA Funds Workshop on the Philosophy of Games

 ASA Funds Workshop on the Philosophy of Games The Board of Trustees of the American Society for Aesthetics has approved funding up to $5,000 in support of the Workshop on the Philosophy of Games, to be held October 14-15, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Conference Organizers are C. Thi Nguyen (Utah Valley University) and Brock Rough (University of Maryland). The conference will explore a variety of issues: What are games? What is their value? Can games be artworks or possess aesthetic value? Are there ethical  issues that arise with game play? The CFP is here. DEADLINE for paper submission: July 1, 2016 As more information becomes available, it will be posted on the ASA web site and ASA Facebook pages. The conference will feature ten presentations, in a round-table workshop format. Travel funding reimbursement of $500 will be offered for each paper, with one $1000 travel grant for the best graduate … Continue reading