In Shaun P. Young (ed.), Jeopardy! and Philosophy: What is Knowledge in the Form of a Question? Open Court. pp. 27-39 (2013)

Authors
Brendan Shea
Rochester Community And Technical College
Abstract
Competitive quiz shows, and Jeopardy! in particular, occupy a unique place among TV game shows. The most successful Jeopardy! contestants—Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, Frank Sparenberg, and so on—have appeared on late night talk shows, been given book contracts, and been interviewed by major newspapers. This sort of treatment is substantially different than, say, the treatment that the winners of The Price is Right or Deal or No Deal are afforded. The distinctive status of quiz shows is evidenced in other ways as well; for instance, consider the widespread public outrage that accompanied the discovery of fixed quiz shows in the 1950s of the fact that, when IBM wanted to find a task to test the latest developments of artificial intelligence, they chose the game of Jeopardy. In this essay, I’ll take a look at Jeopardy! as an exemplar of a certain sort of game, and will suggest that part of what gives Jeopardy! its distinctive status is that it is a qualitatively good game—that is, it is a game that that fulfills just those functions a game is supposed to fulfill. I’ll begin by showing how Jeopardy! meets Bernard Suits’ (1967, 1988, 2005) definition of games, according to which games are characterized as activities that have certain sorts of rules and in which participants are required to have the right attitude toward these rules. Among other things, I’ll talk about the role played by some of Jeopardy’s distinctive rules (“remember to phrase your answer in the form of a question”) and about the possible differences a monetary reward makes to game players’ attitudes. I’ll then go on to talk about what distinguishes Jeopardy! from other, superficially similar sorts of games. I’ll concentrate on three factors in particular: (1) the fact that the skills required by Jeopardy! have value outside of the game, (2) the fact that observers in Jeopardy! can “play along” with the contestants on TV, and (3) the fact that success in the game is determined, to a very great extent, by the skills of the participant and not by other facts (such as luck). To close, I’ll talk more generally about the distinction between good games and not-so-good games, and will discuss why it is that good games are worth taking seriously. In this section, I’ll discuss some recent work on the value of games and sports, and will make some suggestions about how these accounts might be tailored to account for the specific virtues of a game like Jeopardy.
Keywords Philosophy of Games  Bernard Suits  Value Theory
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Tricky Triad: Games, Play, and Sport.Bernard Suits - 1988 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 15 (1):1-9.
What is a Game?Bernard Suits - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (2):148-156.
Games and the Good.Thomas Hurka & John Tasioulas - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes( 80:217-264.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Two Kinds of Games.Filip Kobiela - 2011 - Acta Universitatis Carolinae Kinanthropologica 47 (1):61-67.
Game as Paradox: A Rebuttal of Suits.David Myers - 2012 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 39 (1):155-168.
Logic Games Are Complete for Game Logics.Johan van Benthem - 2003 - Studia Logica 75 (2):183-203.
Explaining Fairness in Complex Environments.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2008 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (1):81-97.
Defending the Morality of Violent Video Games.Marcus Schulzke - 2010 - Ethics and Information Technology 12 (2):127-138.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-12-19

Total views
60 ( #173,289 of 2,439,094 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #50,838 of 2,439,094 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes