Title page for ETD etd-07072011-145443

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Rose, Jason Liban
Author's Email Address jasonrose8@gmail.com
URN etd-07072011-145443
Title Emotion and Rhetoric in Bioshock
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Philosophy & Religious Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cogburn, Jon Committee Chair
Rocha, James Committee Member
Schufreider, Greg Committee Member
  • narrative
  • emotion
  • rhetoric
  • videogames
Date of Defense 2011-06-30
Availability unrestricted
In this paper, I tie four concepts together to form a defense both of videogames as art, and of rhetoric as a value-neutral tool of expression, that can be both positive and useful for society. (1) In the first chapter, I explain the Platonic view of rhetoric as an “empty knack” and how it differs from other accounts of rhetoric, ancient and modern. (2) In the second chapter I present a nuanced understanding of the role emotion plays in practical moral reasoning under a computational model of the mind, as described by Antonio Damasio’s neurological somatic marker theory in Descartes’ Error. (3) I will argue in the third chapter that the strong relationship between rhetoric, emotion and reasoning explains rhetoric’s success in human societies throughout history, and allows modern artists to express ideas in powerful new ways. (4) In the fourth chapter I give an account of rhetoric in videogames and how narrative, visual, and procedural rhetoric are all used in videogame design. (5) Finally, in the fifth chapter I use the concepts established in the previous chapters to defend the value of the expressive power of rhetoric through a thorough analysis of the various kinds of rhetoric used in Bioshock to explore these very issues in a philosophically significant way, and what we can learn from it.
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