Philosophy as Play

Colin McGinn

in Truth by Analysis

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199856145
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919567 | DOI:
Philosophy as Play

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This chapter addresses the question of whether philosophizing is an intrinsically valuable activity. Philosophizing does have intrinsic value as an activity because in philosophy the goal is not separable from the method: philosophical knowledge is knowledge gained by philosophizing—as scientific knowledge is not knowledge gained by following scientific method. We must define philosophical knowledge by reference to the means for acquiring it—this is the essence of philosophical knowledge. We philosophize for the sake of philosophizing, as we play games for the sake of playing games. Philosophizing is not work in the sense that we would dispense with it if we had the chance, as we would “technical” forms of labor—but of course that doesn't mean it involves no effort or training or self-sacrifice or skill. Putting it very intuitively, philosophizing is “playing with ideas”—and we will want to do that even if the “philosophical truth” is obtainable at the touch of a button.

Keywords: philosophizing; philosophical knowledge; intrinsic value; self-sacrifice; philosophical truth

Chapter.  10726 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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