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The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast

Feb 11, 2024

There’s great pleasure to be found in make-believe. Instantly shifting our perspectives and belief systems gives rise to new possibilities – possibilities that are unavailable to the serious and sober-minded. Yet, as time passes, so does our desire to play. Adults – and, perhaps more so, philosophers – are instructed to ‘grow up’, to build their lives and views on sensible grounds, and leave their disposition for laughter, disruption, and mischief in the playground. For C. T Nguyen – Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah – this is a foolish mistake.

C. T Nguyen is one of the most innovative aestheticians of our time. As well as being published across philosophy’s leading journals, Nguyen’s work – which focuses on art, games, and agency – has earned him several notable prizes, including the American Philosophical Association 2021 Award, for his book Games: Agency as Art.

In this episode, we’ll be speaking to Nguyen about intellectual playfulness. For Nguyen, playfulness should be understood as a virtue and not a vice. When we explore philosophical ideas through our usual perspectives, we close ourselves off from a rich set of alternative possibilities, and risk re-directing good-faith inquiry into bad-faith results. Playfulness, however, allows us to escape these traps in our thinking, and open ourselves up to the possibility of creativity.

This episode is produced in partnership with the Aesthetics and Political Epistemology Project at the University of Liverpool, led by Katherine Furman, Robin McKenna, and Vid Simoniti and funded by the British Society of Aesthetics.


Part I. The Ideal Thinker

Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion