Computer games, education, and the good life

Authors/others:Coeckelbergh, Mark (University of Twente)

Given the popularity of computer gaming and the educational and ethical problems they raise, we need a way of evaluating games. We should be concerned with particular games but also with games as a medium. We need normative criteria that allow us to judge to what extent the medium and the messages meet educational and ethical standards. This can inform the design, regulation, and practice of computer gaming. This chapter contributes to this task by articulating the epistemic, moral, and ethical aims of education and by applying these criteria to computer games. It is assumed that education aims at the development and flourishing of individuals as human beings who have the potential to grow in wisdom and moral beauty and who cannot reach those goals without others. From this perspective, this chapter identifies the goals of education in terms of knowledge and experience, moral development, and the good life and explores how computer games can contribute to these goals. It is concluded that to the extent that we want games to be educational, we are justified to demand that they promote the wisdom, virtue, independence of thinking, care, pleasure, and - generally and ultimately - the good life of ourselves and of others. Understanding this intimate connection with the good life reveals education as something that is central to what being human is all about.

Number of pages:7
Date of publication:2010
Publication Type:Chapter
Host publication's title:Educational Games
Host publication's editors:Edvardsen, Frej