The Philosophy of Games: C. Thi Nguyen on the Philosophy vs. Improv Podcast


Thi Nguyen (pro­nounced “TEE NWEEN”) teach­es at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Utah, and his first book, 2020’s Games: Agency as Art, makes a case for games being treat­ed as a seri­ous object of study for phi­los­o­phy. Thi sees game analy­sis as not just a sub-divi­sion in the phi­los­o­phy of art (aes­thet­ics), but in the phi­los­o­phy of action. How do games relate to oth­er human activ­i­ties with con­straints, like cus­toms, lan­guage, and more specif­i­cal­ly per­for­ma­tive acts with­in lan­guage (like say­ing “I do” dur­ing a mar­riage cer­e­mo­ny, where you’re not just describ­ing that you do some­thing, but actu­al­ly tak­ing action)?

On this record­ing (episode 24 of the pod­cast), Thi joins phi­los­o­phy pod­cast­er Mark Lin­sen­may­er of The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life and impro­vi­sa­tion­al com­e­dy coach Bill Arnett of the Chica­go Improv Stu­dio to talk about games and improv, and to engage in a cou­ple of improv scenes that explore the con­nec­tion between the two.

This is the third phi­los­o­phy guest for the Phi­los­o­phy vs. Improv pod­cast, which alter­nates between guests from the improv world, guests from the phi­los­o­phy world, and no guest at all. The over­all for­mat involves a les­son from each host, which they teach to each oth­er (and the guest) simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. This often results in unex­pect­ed syn­chronic­i­ty giv­en the con­nec­tions between two dis­ci­plines that stress the analy­sis of lan­guage, liv­ing delib­er­ate­ly, and quick think­ing.

For anoth­er philo­soph­i­cal­ly rich episode, see episode #20 in which St. Lawrence Uni­ver­si­ty’s Jen­nifer L. Hansen appeared to dis­cuss the many aspects of the con­cept of “The Oth­er” in phi­los­o­phy.

Phi­los­o­phy vs. Improv is a pod­cast host­ed by Mark Lin­sen­may­er, who also hosts The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast, Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast, and Naked­ly Exam­ined Music

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.