A Naturalistic Philosophy of Play
This is a philosophical work on the subject of play. Organized around a handful of questions, the thesis approaches inquiry by first integrating empirical lines of research and then applying the methods of philosophy. The first chapter is an introductory one that serves to motivate the project and outline its central features. Chapter 2 concerns the question of why humans play from an evolutionary and psychological perspective. The conclusions reached in this chapter form the basis of chapter 3's ethical discussion of why and how we ought to play. Chapter 4 uses an interpretation of Jean Piaget's The Moral Judgment of the Child as a stepping stone to an investigation of how play and moral development are related. Chapter 5 addresses the metaphysics of play by critiquing extant philosophical and biological accounts of what play is before advancing a novel theory based on active engagement and frivolousness. To conclude the dissertation, chapter 6 ties together themes from various chapters.
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