“What is a Game” He Asked

Recently, in reading the book; “This is Your Brain On Music,” by Daniel J. Levin, the author was discussing how humans commit things to memory based on their perceptions of the world from their many observations and experiences. In putting forth his well-founded argument on page; 141 where he talks of philosopher Wittgenstein “who dealt a blow to Aristotle” by using the definition of a game; stating there was no one complete definition for all games? Is this so? I think not.

Let me go ahead and give a crack at it; “A Game is a simulated set of events that a player attempts to control for entertainment or training.” Now then, some might question my definition here because often people say that politics and business are a game. However, in response and in advance of such critique, I’d say that politics is a simulated set of events, and so is business. After all, money is not real, it merely represents something that is; such as the value of labor, capital, equipment, assets, risk, opportunity, etc.

So, I hereby challenge Wittgenstein posthumously to get his butt back here to Earth and have a philosophical discussion on this topic. Because, the way I see it is this. Sure there is a definition to fit all games, although it may need to be vague to accompany each type of game. In fact, I’d say my definition here with a few tweaks would indeed suffice.

By the way here are some definitions often used in the dictionary and available to consider when pursuing this challenge of Wittgenstein’s to help you come up with a definition which fits all games. As you can see, each of these definitions below (from the dictionary) are clearly lacking;

  • “activity engaged in for diversion or amusement: play”
  • “a procedure or strategy for gaining an end: tactic”
  • “a physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other”
  • “any activity undertaken or regarded as a contest involving rivalry, strategy, or struggle”