The Grasshopper

In the mid twentieth century the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein famously asserted that games are indefinable; there are no common threads that link them all. "Nonsense," says the sensible Bernard Suits: "playing a game is a voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles." The short book Suits wrote demonstrating precisely that is as playful as it is insightful, as stimulating as it is delightful. Suits not only argues that games can be meaningfully defined; he also suggests that playing games is a central part of the ideal of human existence, so games belong at the heart of any vision of Utopia.

Originally published in 1978, The Grasshopper is now re-issued with a new introduction by Thomas Hurka and with additional material (much of it previously unpublished) by the author, in which he expands on the ideas put forward in The Grasshopper and answers some questions that have been raised by critics.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
The Grasshopper 1
Title Page 2
Contents 6
Introduction 8
Preface 22
The Players 25
CHAPTER ONE Death of the Grasshopper 26
CHAPTER TWO Disciples 32
CHAPTER THREE Construction of a definition 38
CHAPTER FOUR Triflers, cheats, and spoil sports 58
CHAPTER FIVE Taking the long way home 62
CHAPTER SIX Ivan and Abdul 68
CHAPTER SEVEN Games and paradox 78
CHAPTER EIGHT Mountain climbing 86
CHAPTER NINE Reverse English 90
CHAPTER TEN The remarkable career of Porphyryo Sneak 96
CHAPTER ELEVEN The case history of Bartholomew Drag 110
CHAPTER TWELVE Open games 120
CHAPTER THIRTEEN Amateurs, professionals, and Games People Play 130
CHAPTER FOURTEEN Resurrection 142
CHAPTER FIFTEEN Resolution 150
Introduction to the Appendices / Appendix 1 162
Appendix 2 175