According to C. Thi Nguyen, associate professor of philosophy at the University of
Utah, game playing can be a cure for the unease of living in the world. The experience
is satisfying because of the internal logic of the game, rather than its service to
any real-world application. Games allow the players to solve problems in ways that
are pleasurable, interesting and beautiful. But be advised, as Nguyen argues in his
critically acclaimed book, “Games: Agency as Art,” game playing is the opposite of love.
To further explore game philosophy, Nguyen will join the University of Utah’s Tanner
Humanities Center for an Author Meets Reader event, Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. in
the Jewel Box of the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building on the U campus. Examining
the history of games and game scholarship, Nguyen will explain how game players immerse
themselves in an artificial aesthetic environment, adopt a new form of agency and
take on temporary goals for reasons that are internal to the experience of playing
the game. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required. Zoom option available here.
For the event, Nguyen will be speaking with Jeremy Rosen, acting director of the center
and Alf Seegert, associate professor of English, whose research focuses on fantasy literature and
storytelling in video games. The subject will be Nguyen’s enlightening research behind
“Games: Agency as Art” - awarded the American Philosophical Association’s 2021 Book
Prize - which positions games as a unique art form where designers tell players who
to be and what to care about during the game.
"Games are central to human experience and are flourishing in our contemporary media
landscape,” said Rosen. “Thi’s book offers a lucid and insightful argument for how
to understand what we do when we enter the world of a game.”
Nguyen received his doctorate in philosophy from the UCLA and has published his research
in top-tier journals, including Mind, the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy,
and Philosophical Studies and has contributed articles to the “The New York Times,”
“The New Statesman,” and “Boston Review.” His research focuses on how social structures
and technology shape rationality and agency, and his writing examines topics of trust,
expertise, group agency, community art, cultural appropriation, aesthetic value, echo
chambers, moral outrage porn, and games.
The Author Meets Readers series connects humanities scholars and their research with lifelong readers and
learners. Individual sessions run for one hour, are facilitated by the Tanner Humanities
Center Director or campus and community experts, and feature insights into the research
and writing process, the impact of humanities scholarship on culture and society,
and an audience discussion.
About The Tanner Humanities Center
The Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah is proud to be celebrating
35 years of promoting humanities inquiry and exchange. The Center supports innovative
scholarly projects and creates opportunities for interaction among scholars, students,
and lifelong learners. It offers programs in three major areas: public outreach, educational
enrichment, and academic research. The activities reflect a vision of the humanities
as not only relevant, stimulating, and cutting-edge, but also essential for developing
critical thinking, tolerance, and respect on campus and in the community.
Jana Cunningham, University of Utah College of Humanities
email@example.com | 801-213-0866