How to play well with others

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Many games are essentially social, yet dominant theories of games struggle to accommodate this. This chapter argues that Bernard Suits’s rightly influential theory lacks a plausible explanation of what it is for two or more people to play a game with one another. It then develops an alternative approach which takes a more interpersonal approach, emphasizing the role of commitment in its account of multi-player games. It argues that this approach has several advantages over rival approaches. It concluded by extending this approach to deal with single-player games. The chapter argues that “game” and cognates are, in one useful sense, family resemblance terms, but in a way that can accommodate what is insightful in Suits’s approach, thus getting the best of both worlds.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGames, Sports, and Play
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophical Essays
EditorsThomas Hurka
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198798354
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • family resemblance
  • play
  • game
  • commitment
  • cheat
  • Bernard Suits

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