Philosophy at Play 2017: a taster of papers

Here are a few teasers for you of what was on offer at the 4th Philosophy at Play conference on 11 and 12 April 2017. You can find more information on the conference itself here.

Keynote speakers

Peacemaking through Ludic Ubuntu, Dr Mechthild Nagel, SUNY Cortland

In western philosophy, ethical thinking and criminal justice tends to be individualized. It is the individual who makes errant judgments and will be punished according to codified law. With the concept of ludic Ubuntu, I introduce an alternative path to conflict resolution and peacemaking. Criminal justice ethics based on Ubuntu is a sociocentric approach that captures the Southern African sociocentric imagination while drawing on a Nietzschean approach to playfulness, being caught between Dionysian and Apollonian aesthetic elements. With the five-stage spiral model of ludic Ubuntu, I will introduce cross-cultural peacemaking strategies.

The paradoxes of the philosophy-play nexus, Dr Wendy Russell and Dr Malcolm MacLean, University of Gloucestershire

Working in the space created by a philosophy-play relationship is, at times, paradoxical. It challenges the common sense of play as spontaneous and frivolous, and of philosophy as one of the most demanding of disciplines: in short, philosophy is hard and deliberate(d) work; play is not. Yet, over the last decades or so play seems to have emerged from its limited, marginalised sphere to take on a sense of being the (old) new big thing.

This brief presentation offers an overview of how this paradox is explored in the third book to come out of the Philosophy at Play conference, due to be published in December 2017. It will also open up a space to consider the emerging international community of the philosophy of play and the play of philosophy, in particular to extend the invitation for the fifth conference in 2019 to be hosted somewhere other than the University of Gloucestershire.

Papers listed by author

We had 35 papers from presenters from 17 different countries across a whole range of topics:

           Author Title
1 Chris Bateman Do toy guns kill people
2 Rosana Kohl Bines Boltanski and Benjamin at play
3 Noel E. Boulting ontologies of play – conceptions of play
4 Kate Brelje The Complexity of Play: A Response to Guyer’s Analysis of Play in Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man
5 Edgar Cabanas Experiencing designs and designing experiences of play
6 Ivan Davidov 玩 [wán] instead of Ludus: The Metamorphosis of Playfulness in Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, and Farmville
7 Ivan Davidov Machina Ludens: Biomimicry Indicates Playful AI to Achieve Integration
8 Charles Djordjevic Play, language and understanding
9 Andrew Edgar The charms of role-play
10 Imara Felkers Tell me, where have all the flowers gone? The role of fantasy in reality
11 Alba Giménez Serious Games: War, simulacra and the display of violence in Harun Farocki’s Immersion
12 Stefan Gualeni and Johnathan Harrington Leaving Virtual Selves: De-Roling from Play within Digital Games
13 Ali Harmer Musical play of two- to four-year olds in practice: Playful interactions as becomings
14 Johnathan Harrington and Stefan Gualeni Yours truly – playing with a personal narrative identity
15 Miroslav Imbrisevic What is Wrong with the Strategic Foul?
16 Kevin Kennedy Ownerless Illusions: Robert Pfaller and The Disappearance of Play in Contemporary Culture
17 Alice Koubová and Petr Urban Ethical Dimensions of Care and Play
18 Grant Lambie Decaff coffee, fat-free cake and play-less playgrounds
19 Vincent Leroux Games in Leibniz’s theoretical work: what is a game for Leibniz?
20 Stuart Lester Play as protest – becoming democratic
21 Oliver Milne and Viktor Ivanković Mechanics Taking Over: Reasoning About Game-World Representations
22 Ellen Mulder Strange twists of the body?
23 Ivan Mussa Bergson plays with the Tao: Survival and invention in the gameworld interface
24 Marleena Mustola The Case of a Used Piece of Gum – Children’s Play with Agentic Objects
25 Jennesia Pedri Playful Bodies: Toward a Genealogy of Children’s Play
26 Mari-Jatta Rissanen Encountering Contemporary Photography – Young Children’s Aesthetic Agency
27 Elena Sarno The ludic conspiracy in filmmaking: playing with the rules, causality and story in narrative cinema
28 Kent Sjöström Ludic representations
29 Yujia Song Why So Serious? – Play and Intellectual Virtues
30 Adam Toon Scientists at play
31 Brandon Underwood Living on the Edge: Zhuangzi, play and 遊 (you)
32 Rita Santoyo Venegas


Digital Play as Epistemological Experience
33 Laura Walsh Play, resistance and the phenomenological approach to accounting for value
34 Debby Watson Approaches to playfulness and children with profound impairments
35 Martin Weichold The Game of Morality



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