Autonomy, Heteronomy, and Bioethics in BioShock

Görgen, Arno; Krischel, Matthis (2019). Autonomy, Heteronomy, and Bioethics in BioShock In: Görgen, Arno; Nunez, German Alfonso; Fangerau, Heiner (eds.) Handbook of Popular Culture and Biomedicine (pp. 283-300). Cham: Springer International Publishing 10.1007/978-3-319-90677-5_21

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Abstract The digital game BioShock addresses questions about human enhancement, unbounded biomedical research and unregulated technology. Our analysis is situated in an interdisciplinary field between media studies, the history of ideas, and bioethics. We focus on the processes of generating meaning and knowledge while playing a game, and therefore on the context in which the game is played and how it may be understood by different audiences. What marks this medium as potentially more powerful than movies or novels is that the player interacts with the game and participates in both the narrative and the ludic experience. In this chapter, we explore how the theme of autonomy/heteronomy is addressed in ludic terms in the game and give two examples of narrative elements that address autonomy within the context of bioethics and medical ethics. We show that in BioShock the medium of computer games has been used as a thought experiment, examining the consequences of unregulated medical research and practice.

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Book Section (Book Chapter)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute of Design Research


Görgen, Arno0000-0001-9319-4497;
Krischel, Matthis;
Görgen, Arno0000-0001-9319-4497;
Nunez, German Alfonso and
Fangerau, Heiner




Springer International Publishing




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Date Deposited:

10 Dec 2019 09:35

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2020 13:28

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