Philosophy Club Talk by Dr. Megan Fritts, “Gamified Pedagogy and The Crowd: Can Easy Learning Erase the Individual?”

We hope that you’ll join us on Thursday, March 18th at 4:30 p.m. on Zoom for a USU Philosophy Club Talk by our Visiting Assistant Professor, Dr. Megan Fritts. Zoom Link and Talk Description Below.

https://usu-edu.zoom.us/j/85881794026?pwd=Q3JoWkx4NHZPWXRZcnFDa2N1bFdrQT09

“In Thi Nguyen’s paper “How Twitter Gamifies Communication” (forthcoming), he argues that the algorithmic features of the social networking site Twitter make the site popular and addictive largely because it “gamifies” how we communicate with one another. This gamification occurs by providing users with artificial incentives and goals (e.g. likes and retweets), resulting in “value clarity”—namely, unlikely in real life, in games we have clarity about what to value, because the game designers tells us what to value. Nguyen argues that the artificiality of this value-clarity poses a problem for how we communicate with others. The problem is that, when users accept the “seduction” of value-clarity, we trade our original, complex goals of discourse for different, simplistic ends.In this paper, I build on Nguyen’s critique, shifting the focus to “gamified” pedagogy, and argue that his critique is similar to one offered by Kierkegaard against “the crowd” in the work The Point of View. Specifically, I argue that Kierkegaard’s description of crowds as “untruth” is similar to Nguyen’s description of gamification. Individual values, for both Kierkegaard and Nguyen, are too opaque and complex to be utilized by a collective. “Crowds”, therefore, involve group acceptance of a simplistic set of values that no individual in the group originally held. For both thinkers, accepting a simplified set of values can be dangerous, though they disagree on what this danger consists in. I further argue that this should make us wary of efforts to “gamify” pedagogy, despite the appeal of doing so.”



Author: rachelrobisongreene

Rachel Robison-Greene is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University where she regularly teaches courses in ethics, metaphysics, and logic. She earned her PhD in philosophy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2017. Rachel was the 2019 Tom Regan Animal Rights Fellow and serves as a board member and Secretary of the Culture and Animals Foundation. She is the author of Edibility and In Vitro Meat: Ethical Considerations and the co-author of Conspiracy Theories in the Time of Coronavirus. Her research interests include the nature of personhood and the self, animal minds and animal ethics, environmental ethics, and ethics and technology. Rachel also dedicates much of her time to public philosophy projects. She has written over 120 articles in public philosophy, including articles for the BBC, The Philosopher’s Magazine, The Prindle Post, and 1,000 Word Philosophy. She sits on both the Diversity and Rules Committees for the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl and has served as a case writer for the National Bioethics Bowl and the National High School Ethics Bowl. She is a co-founder of the Utah Prison Ethics Bowl Project which is a program that brings ethics education and debate into the Utah Wasatch and Timpanogos prisons. She has also conducted philosophy for children programs in K-12 classrooms and has hosted 20 Ethics Slam events designed to help to model quality philosophical reasoning to communities all over the state over the course of four years. She enjoys traveling and spending time in nature.

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