The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia

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Broadview Press, Nov 9, 2005 - Philosophy - 179 pages
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In the mid twentieth century the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein famously asserted that games are indefinable; there are no common threads that link them all. "Nonsense," says the sensible Bernard Suits: "playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles." The short book Suits wrote demonstrating precisely that is as playful as it is insightful, as stimulating as it is delightful. Suits not only argues that games can be meaningfully defined; he also suggests that playing games is a central part of the ideal of human existence, so games belong at the heart of any vision of Utopia. Originally published in 1978, The Grasshopper is now re-issued with a new introduction by Thomas Hurka and with additional material (much of it previously unpublished) by the author, in which he expands on the ideas put forward in The Grasshopper and answers some questions that have been raised by critics.
 

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A small book with a powerful punch.
Each chapter is a story to illustrate another proof of this statement: "playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles'
Philosophically deep while holding interest.
Well done!

Contents

Introduction
7
Preface
21
The Players
24
CHAPTER ONE Death of the Grasshopper
25
CHAPTER TWO Disciples
31
CHAPTER THREE Construction of a definition
37
CHAPTER FOUR Triflers cheats and spoil sports
57
CHAPTER FIVE Taking the long way home
61
CHAPTER NINE Reverse English
89
CHAPTER TEN The remarkable career of Porphyryo Sneak
95
CHAPTER ELEVEN The case history of Bartholomew Drag
109
CHAPTER TWELVE Open games
119
CHAPTER THIRTEEN Amateurs professionals and Games People Play
129
CHAPTER FOURTEEN Resurrection
141
CHAPTER FIFTEEN Resolution
149
Introduction to the Appendices
161

CHAPTER SIX Ivan and Abdul
67
CHAPTER SEVEN Games and paradox
77
CHAPTER EIGHT Mountain climbing
85
Appendix 2
174
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About the author (2005)

Bernard Suits is Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, the University of Waterloo. Thomas Hurka is Jackman Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, the University of Toronto; his works include Principles (a collection of his Globe and Mail columns), Perfectionism, and Virtue, Vice, and Value.

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