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A Disavowal of Games: Keynote for Philosophy at Play

Delighted to announce that I am giving a plenary session at the 2nd Philosophy at Play conference, which is on the 9th and 10th of April 2013 at the University of Gloucester. My keynote is on the second day (10th) and is entitled “A Disavowal of Games”. You can read all about the conference on the Philosophy at Play conference page. Here’s an introduction to my session:

The attempted process of distinguishing ‘games’ from their alternatives has striking parallels to the attempted process of distinguishing ‘art’ from its alternatives – in both cases, difference in a priori values may be responsible for differences in boundaries. Philosopher of art Kendall Walton has suggested that the category of art has in itself prevented understanding of art, and the same argument can easily be extended to games – the disagreement over the category has prevented understanding of games as activities. Using Walton’s make-believe theory of representation, the focus in understanding representative art becomes not ‘art’ but fiction, which in part depends upon various principles of generation, or rules. Walton’s theory can be gainfully applied to play activities in order to appreciate them as consisting of both fiction and rules. These concepts have previously been associated with games by Juul and others, and stripped of previous ontological presuppositions this approach can be used to mount a new aesthetics of play.

Hope to see some of you there!


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