On the philosophical dimensions of chess

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 41 (4):455 – 475 (1998)
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Abstract

The paper discusses the relation between chess and philosophy, examining, among other things, how far chess might reveal important features of philosophical problemanalysis and argumentation. There is a plurality of scientific, philosophical, and other perspectives from which chess can be viewed. Some attention must be drawn to these various ways of conceptualizing the game, but the main emphasis of the paper lies in uncovering certain philosophically- and metaphilosophically- relevant basic assumptions of chess. It is argued that the thought patterns and reasoning procedures typical of chess seem to merge into those practised in philosophy. Moreover, we face in the common area of chess and other disciplines a multifarious possibility of research programmes, which promise to turn out useful both for the scientific and aesthetic understanding, and perhaps also for the chess tournament practice. Certain philosophical insights inspired by the practice of chess may lead us to transform our views about various complex human phenomena: not only about the nature of calculatory problem-solving and the relation between human intelligence and artificial intelligence, but also about ethical reasoning and even philosophical argumentation itself.

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