Journal Article: “On Game Definitions”

Dear Colleagues,

I would humbly like to draw your attention to a new article, “On game definitions,” written by myself, and published in the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. Although the focus is on games in general, and not on videogames in particular, it does relate to extant discussions of game definitions in the game studies literature, and could therefore perhaps be of some interest to the members of this community.

The article defends a Wittgensteinian approach to game definitions. It also adopts a pragmatic argumentative view of definitions which treats all definitions as implicit arguments in support of particular points of view on how to classify reality. Definitions do not reveal the “essence of gameness”; instead they are argumentative tools for influencing the linguistic habits of a given community. It is argued that definitions should not be evaluated in terms of their truth or falsity, but in terms of their adequacy and acceptability. To this end, a set of pragmatic evaluation criteria are proposed. Finally, the costs and benefits of adopting this particular approach to definitions are also weighed.