A Kantian view of Suits’ Utopia: ‘a kingdom of autotelically-motivated game players’

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In this paper, I engage the debate on Suits’ theory of games by providing a Kantian view of Utopia. I argue that although the Kantian aspects of Suits’ approach are often overlooked in comparison to its Socratic-Platonic aspects, Kant’s ideas play a fundamental role in Suits’ proposal. In particular, Kant’s concept of ‘regulative idea’ is the basis of Suits’ Utopia. I regard Utopia as Suits’ regulative idea on game playing. In doing so, I take Utopia to play a double role in Suits’ theory of games. First, it highlights the primary condition of possibility of game-playing, namely, the lusory attitude. Second, it provides a normative criterion that serves as a critical principle to evaluate instances of game playing and as a counterfactual assumption that makes game playing possible. I provide further support for my Kantian interpretation of Suits’ Utopia by bringing to light the anthropological assumptions upon which Utopia is built. In doing so, I argue that both Suits’ theory of games, in general, and his Utopia, in particular, lay out the conditions of possibility of game playing, not an analysis on the life most worth living.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-151
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Philosophy of Sport
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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