Individuating games

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Games, which philosophers commonly invoke as models for diverse phenomena, are plausibly understood in terms of rules and goals, but this gives rise to two puzzles. The first concerns the identity of a single game over time. Intuitively one and the same game can undergo a change in rules, as when the rules of chess were modified so that a pawn could be moved two squares forward on its first move. Yet if games are individuated in terms of their constitutive rules and goals, this is incoherent—new rules mean a new game. The second concerns the individuation of games at a point in time. Intuitively, there can be different versions of a single game, where the versions differ in the details of their rules. I offer a solution to this problem that draws on an analogy with individuating languages. The resulting theory should illuminate the metaphysics of games more generally.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSynthese
Early online date3 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • game
  • language
  • meaning
  • rule-following

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