Is it distinctively wrong to simulate doing wrong?

Tillson, John (2018) Is it distinctively wrong to simulate doing wrong? Ethics and Information Technology, 20 (3). pp. 205-217. ISSN 1388-1957

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This paper is concerned with whether there is a moral difference between simulating wrongdoing and consuming non-simulatory representations of wrongdoing. I argue that simulating wrongdoing is (as such) a pro tanto wrong whose wrongness does not tarnish other cases of consuming representations of wrongdoing. While simulating wrongdoing (as such) constitutes a disrespectful act, consuming representations of wrongdoing (as such) does not. I aim to motivate this view in part by bringing a number of intuitive moral judgements into reflective equilibrium, and in part by describing the case of a character that I call The Devious Super Geek who simulates wrong to particular people that he knows personally. I build bridging cases from the case of the Devious Super Geek to capture games in which one simulates wrong to imaginary members of extant, morally salient categories. The surprising conclusions that we are led to include not just that simulated wrongdoing is pro tanto wrong, but that simulated Just killing is pro tanto wrong, and also that the simulated killing of zombies and aliens is also pro tanto wrong. Finally, I described how I proposed to handle some potential objections and attempt to weigh the pro tanto wrong identified in the paper against some countervailing considerations in some all things considered judgements.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This has been accepted for publication. The final publication is available at
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Education Studies
Depositing User: John Tillson
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2018 08:56
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 15:26

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