C Thi Nguyen Profile picture
Philosophy professor. I write about games, trust, art, and porn. My new book is on games as the art of agency: https://t.co/nU3h712Yn7. He/him.
25 Dec 20
My spouse’s Christian family very excited to know I studied some medieval Christian philosophy. Less excited to find out that it involves intricate arguments about the whether ideal rationality involves the ability to choose randomly.
(If yer curious, it’s because there’s a massive puzzle for medieval philosophers about how a perfectly rational God could choose a time to create the universe in, because if there is no universe yet, all times are equally good and there is no best time.)
Also they do not seem particularly excited about the technical debates about the definition of “give”, required to figure out whether, if God gave us free will, if he also thereby gave us the ability to do evil.
Read 6 tweets
20 Nov 20
This is super interesting, and close to something I've been thinking about. If a certain kind of messaging is cheap to create but costly for your opposition to deal with, then you have a strategic reason to put out tons of it.

My version of this is filed as "mental spam".
I was thinking about mental spam in relation to the "sea-lioning" worry.

If rationalist bro can just raise any question in public, and demand that their opponent must answer it, then this creates a really cost-effective strategy for interference.
Raising a question is easy. Answer it is hard, especially to an unsympathetic audience. The view that "everybody has a right to raise questions, and you must answer all questions" creates an opportunity for brutally gaming the public discourse, and attacking cognitive resources.
Read 8 tweets
17 Nov 20
We just took our big national aesthetics conference virtual. We experimented with all kinds of weird "social sessions" to make Zoom less miserable. Surprise of all surprises - they worked? And people loved them? And they thought it made the community feel real?

A thread:
The surprise hit: the "3 minute nutty talk session". Late night session, Zoom room, people just showed up and improvised a wild 3 minute talk on... anything. Followed by 3 minutes of lightning Q&A. We had talks about the ethics of squirming on Zoom, on the art of movie trailers.
The shocking thing? It was AWESOME. People were in hysterics, going all out with sincere ideas and swinging for the fences. Some of the ideas were silly, some were big but inchoate ideas, some started off tossed off but gathered steam. People said it was the conference highlight.
Read 13 tweets
1 Jul 20
My book, GAMES: AGENCY IS ART is out! It's about:

How game designers sculpt agency.
How games let us record, transmit, and explore new forms of agency.
How real games make us more free.
How gamification undermines our freedom. Image
The core ideas:

1. Games aren't just stories, environments, or spaces for free play. Game designers sculpt agency itself. They tell us what our abilities will be in the game. They set our motivations in the game by setting the win conditions.

Agency is the artistic medium.
2. And when we play a game, we slip into this alternate agency. Often, we put our normal values out of mind. We become totally absorbed in winning. We become, for a moment, a different person, with different goals and abilities.
Read 11 tweets
27 Apr 20
A long thread about online synch classes:

I've been having a very different experience with my online class than others. I don't find online synch discussion as miserable, and my students reported digging it.

I DIDN'T USE VIDEO OR AUDIO FOR THEM, ONLY TEXT CHAT.

A thread:
Almost all the students said they loved the (optional) online discussion. I have a proposed theory, based on one data point. I think I conducted an accidental experiment. (Note: on a small discussion-heavy upper-div epistemology class full of majors.)
A lot of folks shared and agreed with the following article, about why Zoom discussion classes are so miserable and exhausting.

insidehighered.com/advice/2020/04…
Read 20 tweets