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Popular Journal article by Henry Shevlin

Brutality is common in video games, but not sexual violence. Why? Aeon (2018)

As the philosopher Morgan Luck pointed out in 2009, we’re still likely to be discomfited by certain kinds of virtual brutality: child abuse, torture, racism and sexual violence, to name just a handful of nasty examples. It’s not immediately clear whether this difference in disgust tracks anything of moral significance. After all, virtual sexual violence and virtual murder are alike in that they don’t involve real victims, and both would be uncontroversially wrong if done in real life. This creates what Luck called ‘the gamer’s dilemma’: how can we be so sanguine about virtual bloodletting, but react with appalled horror to the idea of simulated paedophilia or sexual violence?

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