4 Playing well

In Emily Ryall (ed.), The philosophy of play. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. pp. 54 (2013)
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Abstract

Ludwig Wittgenstein famously compares units of language to games, but his pupil Rush Rhees finds that analogy limiting. Unlike uses of language, says Rhees, games are not part of a larger whole and do not have a point, which means that games, unlike language, cannot lead to growth in understanding. Treating language like a game, according to Rhees, is characteristic of sophistry. But this paper claims that sophistry is not like playing a game but like playing the spoilsport. Wittgenstein’s fluid understanding of the distinction between games and non-game play allows his conception of language-games to avoid the charge of sophistry.

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David Egan
Hunter College (CUNY)

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