BSP Podcast: Jonathan Tuckett – The Dasein of a Video Game Character

podcast update

Season two of our podcast continues with another presentation from the British Society for Phenomenology Annual Conference 2017 in Brighton.

Season 2 episode 34: 27 June 2018

This recording is of Jonathan Tuckett’s presentation ‘The Cartesian Meditation of Pneuma: the Dasein of a Video Game Character’. You can listen to this episode on the BSP’s Podbean site, and you can also find it on iTunes and all good podcasting apps by searching ‘BSP Podcast’.

Abstract: “’A few seconds ago there was nothing. But now, here I am! There’s only one logical conclusion. I am God and this is my universe.’ The opening line to Pneuma: Breath of Life sets the scene for a video game that attempts something very odd for a video game to make the theme of its main story: Descartes’ cogito ergo sum—“I think, therefore I am”. Yet, this is exactly what this puzzle game seems to do; going so far, as the opening line indicates, as to critique Descartes’ formulation to suggest that the Cogito would think itself to be God. To a seasoned philosopher this “conclusion” may seem questionable, indeed some of the meditations that Pneuma proceeds to make from its position of deity would strike us as absurd and philosophically unsophisticated. But, as this paper means to show, this would be the very point of the game’s philosophical exploration: to show the absurdity of the Cartesian Meditation itself. Once this point is recognised, Pneuma reveals itself not to be an exploration of the Cogito, but an exploration of the being of Dasein. As such, contained in the seemingly absurd meditations of Pneuma are novel reflections on Heidegger’s notions of being-toward-death, authenticity and the they-self.”

The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at the University of Brighton, UK during September, 2017. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found here.