Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 13 (3-4):392-405 (2018)

Avery Kolers
University of Louisville
In The Grasshopper, Bernard Suits argues that the best life is the one whose essence is game-play. In fact, only through the concept of game-play can we understand how anything at all is worth doing. Yet this seems implausible: morality makes things worth doing independently of any game, and games are themselves subject to moral evaluation. So games must be logically posterior to morality. The current paper responds to these objections by developing the theory of Ludic Constructivism. Constructivist theories such as Kant’s explain normativity in a way that is both objective and cognitivist but also mind-dependent. Roughly, constructivists ground normative structures in rational procedures. But rational agency is diverse: it is realized in different ways and to different degrees by different agents. Yet Kantian Constructivism requires a strong identity of rational procedures across rational agents. Ludic Constructivism avoids this challenge by rejecting this strong identity of agency, instead building a normative framework out of the ingredients of Suits’s definition of game-play. We want to play the best games we can. In order to do so we must play games with a certain structure: they must be nested multiplayer games in which everyone who is capable of self-originating activity is engaged as a fellow player rather than a plaything. Nested games – games that are constructed out of other games – go best when each game contributes to the value of each other game in the nest. Such game nests are “reciprocating value-maximization structures”. Our lives go best when we design, play, and revise the game of our Individual Life and we also embed that game within the highest-order nested game of Fate of Humankind. In this way, Ludic Constructivism delivers a normative system that expands Kant’s Kingdom of Ends, and a life that meets Aristotle’s conception of pleasure.
Keywords Suits, Bernard  Kant, Immanuel  Games  Practical reason
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DOI 10.1080/17511321.2018.1454501
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References found in this work BETA

Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory.John Rawls - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (9):515-572.
Two Distinctions in Goodness.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (2):169-195.
Constructivism in Metaethics.Carla Bagnoli - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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Groundwork for the Mechanics of Morals.Avery Kolers - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):636-651.

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