Intentionality and virtual objects: the case of Qiu Chengwei’s dragon sabre
Madary (Michael)
Source: Ethics and Information Technology, 16 (2014) 219-225
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. This article offers an analysis of intentionality for virtual objects and explores some of the ethical implications of this analysis.
  2. The main example which serves as a motivation for the article is the case of a Chinese gamer who, in 2005, committed murder in retaliation for the theft of a virtual object, the theft of his virtual dragon sabre.
  3. The intentional analysis reveals that the way in which we experience virtual objects shares a structural similarity with the way in which we experience physical objects. Both virtual and physical objects are accessible through action and intersubjectively available.
  4. The final part of the article introduces three ethical points based on the intentional analysis.
    1. First, virtual objects can have the same ethical significance as physical objects.
    2. Second, it will be important to consider empirical results on the factors which influence one’s subjective level of immersion in the virtual world.
    3. Finally, the intentional analysis of virtual objects suggests specific questions for future research.


For the full text of the penultimate draft, see Madary - Intentionality and virtual objects.

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