Games, Sports, and Play: Philosophical Essays

ISBN : 9780198798354

Thomas Hurka
256 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Aug 2019
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This volume presents new philosophical essays on a topic that's been neglected in most recent philosophy: games, sports, and play. Some contributions address conceptual questions about what games and sports have in common and that distinguishes them from other activities; here many take their start from Bernard Suits's celebrated analysis of game-playing in his book The Grasshopper and either elaborate it or propose an alternative to it. Other essays discuss normative issues that arise within games and sports, such as about fairness, for example in the treatment of male and female athletes. Yet others consider broader evaluative questions about the value of games and sports, which some see as enabling the display of distinctive excellences. Games, Sports, and Play includes a posthumous essay by Suits defending his claim, in The Grasshopper, that life in utopia would consist primarily in playing games. The volume's chapters approach the topic of games, sports, and play from different angles but always in the belief that there is rich terrain here for philosophical investigation.


Thomas Hurka: Introduction
Part I: The Concept 'Game'
1 Thomas Hurka: Suits on Games: Slightly Revised, Slightly Restricted
2 Peter King: Winning, Losing, and Playing the Game
3 C. Thi Nguyen: The Forms and Fluidity of Game Play
4 Michael Ridge: How to Play Well With Others
Part II: The Concept 'Sport'
4 Mitchell N. Berman: Sport as a Thick Cluster Concept
6 David Papineau: The Nature and Value of Sport
Part III: Fairness in Sports and Games
7 Leslie Francis: The Metaphor of a 'Level Playing Field' in Games and Sports
8 Lauren Bialystok and Mark Kingwell: The Fragility of Fairness: Rethinking the Ethics of the Women's Category in Sports
Part IV: The Value of Games and Sports
9 Shelly Kagan: Grasshopper, Aristotle, Bob Adams, and Me
10 Bernard Suits: Return of the Grasshopper: Games and the End of the Future

About the author: 

Thomas Hurka is Chancellor Henry N. R. Jackman Professor of Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of many works in moral and political philosophy, including Perfectionism (1993), Virtue, Vice, and Value (2001), The Best Things in Life (2011), and British Ethical Theorists From Sidgwick to Ewing (2014). Much of his research has concerned the human good, or which states and activities make our lives most desirable. He has held Guggenheim and Killam Research Fellowships, and was awarded the 2017 Killam Prize in the Humanities by the Canada Council.

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