4 Masaryk U. J.L. & Tech. 59 (2010)
Re: Public Philosophy and Interactive Fiction

handle is hein.journals/mujlt4 and id is 61 raw text is: H. Alkin, T. Haider & A. Kirchner: Re:Public

RE:PUBLIC
PHILOSOPHY AND INTERACTIVE FICTION
by
HANNES ALKIN, TOBIAS
HAIDER & ANDREAS KIRCHNER*
During a project in 2008/09 at the University of Vienna, a group of people dis-
cussed Plato's Republic and tried to implement the results in a piece of interactive
fiction written in the programming language Inform 7. Interactive fiction (IF) is
software that allows the user to engage with the plot of a story. By means of In-
form 7 - which is based on regular English sentences - it is quite simple to build up
an imaginary world and express ideas on various levels. The participants working
on the project contributed different sets of competences and possibilities. This fact
introduced a new layer of complexity: the creation (the software) itself became an
interactive process between the creators. Problems arose which are located on the at
times conflicting levels of task sharing, philosophizing, narrating and program-
ming. The project addresses questions regarding the potential of IF and collabora-
tion from a range of different perspectives: Can philosophical ideas be expressed in
IF? And is there an added value for the producers and/or for the players of the res-
ulting game/work? Our experiences show which valuable results such a project
may produce and which limitations it involves. Moreover, we outline some of our
results with respect to the collaborative work done in the course of our project,
which made extensive use of wiki software and version management. Thus, our ex-
periment is a contribution to new media research that itself makes heavy use of new
media.
KEYWORDS
Plato, Politeia, interactive fiction, new media, Inform 7
The authors are students at the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Vienna. Contact:
http://philo.at/re-public. E-mail: tobias haider@gmx.at

2010]

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