Purdue University Graduate School
Jason Rose - A Philosophical Analysis of the Play Concept.pdf (1.73 MB)

A Philosophical Analysis of the Play Concept

Download (1.73 MB)
posted on 2021-12-03, 18:16 authored by Jason Liban RoseJason Liban Rose
This philosophical dissertation concerns the nature of play, a nebulous concept that is nonetheless vitally important to understanding the human being. Play is older than the spoken word and represents a mode of being in the world for many animals, including us. Many thinkers have attempted to unravel the mysteries of play but it has long resisted attempts to fully capture it. I begin Part One by defining play – a trickier proposition that one might expect – and examining the biological origin of the instinct for play in boredom and fun. Part One is a genetic account of play. Part Two contains a memetic account of play – these five chapters look at personal, human play in particular. They cover five philosophical topics: how the play concept has been used in the history of philosophy, the phenomenological experience of play, the relations between play and reason, the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of play, and the relation between play and the production of culture. By examining the discourse surrounding the concept of play in these spheres of human activity, this treatise provides a thorough philosophical understanding of play as a foundation upon which future studies of the play concept can build.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Philosophy and Literature

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Daniel Smith

Additional Committee Member 2

Arkady Plotnitsky

Additional Committee Member 3

William McBride

Additional Committee Member 4

Samantha Blackmon