Utopia and the meaning of life: ludic reason versus instrumental reason in Bernard Suits’ work

Francisco Javier Lopez Frias, Xavier Gimeno Monfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper, we explore the existential aspects of Bernard Suits’ Utopia. We first provide a philosophical analysis of the concept of ‘utopia.’ Then, we analyze two key distinctions in Suits’ work: (a) technical versus autotelic rationality, and (b) play and game playing. By drawing on the analysis of both distinctions, we contrast two types of approaches to life. One is guided by the imperatives of instrumental reason, the other by those of ‘ludic rationality’ or ‘ludic reason.’ In doing so, we regard Utopia as a heuristic tool that Suits deploys to argue that the life guided by ludic reason is the most worth living. To conclude, we argue that the existential lesson of Suits’ Utopia is that individuals must go about their lives searching for challenges to overcome for their own sake, not for the instrumental goals achieved through them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-154
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Play
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 4 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology

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