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Game Design

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It seems that the ultimate ontology you're implying with this article is a non-deterministic game we all cannot help but play.

Two things occur to me about the above. Firstly, a specific point about the relationship of ethics to a founding religious system - it can be a vexed question. In some strands of both Mahayana Buddhism and Hindu Tantra, you can attain liberation by pursuing an antinomian 'left-hand' path - where you progress by breaking rules. I read a hilarious account of some westerner trying to find a left-hand tantric master, ending up getting drunk and eating chicken in a Delhi hotel with a local woman. Something similar existed in some of the sufi schools, and also I think in the 'holy fools' in Russia. Does antinomianism stalk all ethical systems like a shadow?

My second point is - does the deck of cards refer to a reality exterior to it - or are these cards all we have, endlessly referring back to themselves? The second view would constitute postmodernism. Or should your piece be read as psychological observation - that culture and upbringing endows us with a particular deck of cards, and whatever happens we are unlikely ever to get very far from the contents of this deck - effectively, we just shuffle the cards a bit?

Good luck in America.

One other things occurs to me, that might be worth discussing - Don Cupitt at one point proposed a deliberately piecemeal ethics, detached from any metaphysical foundation.

Patrick: I would indeed characterise existence in this way. :)

Theo: since antinomianism is an accusation levelled by certain adherents against certain others, I question that it is an ethical issue per se rather than a question of doctrinal enforcement - but this proceeds from my assumption that ethics only exist at the level of an individual, that is, that laws and ethics are seperate issues. I'm certain we'll explore this point in the ethics campaign.

As for piecemeal ethics detached from any metaphysical foundation, I believe it is highly desirable for us to be exploring this area. As Kwame Anthony Appiah suggests, practice is key - we do not have to agree on the metaphysical justifications if we can agree on the ethical content.

Finally, on the question of how to interpret this piece (as psychology, as post-modernism...) I must necessarily fall silent. But clearly, the contents of the deck are not static, as new cards are added every century.

Best wishes!

Chris: Excellent metaphor!

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