Kill the Beast!

The ethics of animal games in the virtual reality

Flux-lecture by Ellen ter Gast

In this lecture, bioethicist Ellen ter Gast will reflect on gaming with animals in an age of changing morality.

Why do humans play with animals? The most simple answer to that question can be found in the bible. Because we can. Because it is part or our unique human nature, given to us by God. “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26, 28).

In both the real and virtual world we like to take care of animals (horses, dogs). We take them to contests (dog shows, rodeo, show jumping and racing). Fight with them (the gladiator and the toreador). And hunt them for food and fun. We have been doing this ever since we learned how to domesticate animals.

However, in the last century there has been a radical change in the way we think about animals and animals rights. As a result, many of the traditional games we play are no longer morally acceptable. Does this modern morality also apply to the virtual world? How do ideas about animal rights affect the practice of game developers? Is it immoral to play angry birds?

When? Thursday December 12 2013 at 5pm

Where? HKU Hilversum

(Language: ENG)