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

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Thi Nguyen (pronounced “TEE NWEEN”) teaches at the University of Utah, and his first book, The 2020s Games: Agency as art, argues that games are treated as a serious object of study for philosophy. Thi sees game analysis as not just a subdivision in the philosophy of art (aesthetics), but in the philosophy of action. How do games relate to other human activities with limitations, such as customs, language, and more specifically performative actions within the language (such as saying “I do” during a wedding where you are not just describing that you are doing something, but actually taking action )?

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

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

For another philosophically rich episode, see episode # 20, where 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.


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