Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Alternative Culture: Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher

Socrates Jones (in green), accompanied by his daughter Ari, debates Thomas Hobbes
A game of philosophy
Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher allows you to take the role of an accountant whose lack of interest in analytic thinking frustrates his daughter, a student of philosophy. When an car accident sends the duo to the afterlife, Socrates Jones must argue his way back to the land of the living against the famed moral philosophers.

A Phoenix Wright clone? Nonsense!
Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher is a thinking game that shares many similarities with the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series (References to Phoenix Wright are made in the game). Sporting similar features like clarifications, objections and an assistant, Socrates Jones nevertheless has its own unique charm.

Instead of using evidences to support your objections (as in Phoenix Wright), Socrates Jones has to expose the contradictions of his opponents.

While Phoenix Wright is pitted against dishonest witnesses and determined prosecutors, Socrates Jones has to content with Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mills.

The good
The game does a fantastic job simplifying difficult philosophical concepts, such as the social contract, Act Utilitarianism and even the categorical imperative.

The philosophers portrayed even subscribed to the stereotypes we have about them. For instance, Immanuel Kant walked away from an argument due to his rigid timetable.

Another fantastic point is that the game forces you to think about morality in a deep way.

The bad
One thing that frustrates me in the game is that despite the developers' best intentions, not all the best arguments were captured. For instance, I wanted to explore the theology of Euthyphro (that all religions assert a common good) further, but was not allowed to.

I also wished that more philosophers were added, such as Confucius, Aquinas, Hagel, Hume and everybody's favourite, Nietzsche.

The game also seems to limit you to the philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre. MacIntyre (1988) argued for the recognition that we will never find a complete answer to the question of morality.

Theological review
I loved this game. It is a fantastic introduction to moral philosophy, and made me as a Christian reconsider my paradigms. Part of me wishes to meet Martin Luther in the game though.

I give this game 89/100

References
MacIntyre, A. (1988) Whose Justice? Which Rationality?

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