Evaluating the State of Nature through Gameplay

Teaching Philosophy 37 (1):57-72 (2014)

Ryan Pollock
Grand Valley State University
In this paper I present an in-class game designed to simulate the dynamics of the state of nature. I first explain the mechanics of the game, and how to administer it in the classroom. Then I address how the game can help introduce students to a number of important topics in political philosophy. In broad terms, the game serves to generate discussion regarding to main questions. (1) How does civil society come about? (2) Is the state of nature and the arrangement which arises from it fair? In so doing I suggest how the game can further student understanding of figures such as Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Marx, and Rawls.
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DOI 10.5840/teachphil201312129
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