Return of the Grasshopper
Games, Leisure and the Good Life in the Third Millennium
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In this sequel to Bernard Suits’ timeless classic philosophical work The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia, published in its full and unabridged form for the first time, Suits continues to explore some of our most fundamental philosophical questions, including the value of sport and games, and their relationship to the good life.
In Return of the Grasshopper, Suits puts his theoretical cards on the table, exploring the in-depth implications of his definition of utopia, assessing the merits of a gamified philosophy, and explaining how games can provide an existential balm against the fear of death. Perhaps most importantly, for the first time in print, Suits reveals his underlying worldview: that humanity is forever fated to endure a cyclical existence of privation, brought on by material scarcity, and boredom, resulting from material plenitude. An essential companion to The Grasshopper, this edition includes an introductory chapter that puts Suits’ life and work into context, helping the reader to understand why Suits has had such a profound influence on contemporary philosophy and how his ideas still provide powerful insight into the human condition.
This book is important reading for anybody with an interest in the philosophy of sport, leisure and play, political philosophy, ethics, existentialism or utopian studies.
Table of Contents
Bernard Suits’ Return of the Grasshopper: A Philosophical Context and Novel Directions for Future Research
Francisco Javier López Frías and Christopher C. Yorke
1 Return of the Grasshopper
2 Utopia Lost or Mislaid
3 Three Ways to Play a Game Without Knowing It
4 Three More Ways to Play a Game Without Knowing It
5 Life’s a Game and All the Men and Women Merely Players
6 At Death’s Door
7 The Smoking Gun
8 Utopia Found
9 Utopian Doctors and Lawyers
10 Lusory Luddites
11 The Scarcity Machine
12 The End of the Future
13 Aesop Revisited
Appendix 1: An Introduction to Grasshopper Soup
Appendix 2: Deconstructionist Digression
Appendix 3: A Perfectly Played Game
Bernard Suits is a foundational figure in the philosophy of sports and games. A philosophy professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada, for most of his life, he is best known for his seminal book The Grasshopper: Games, Life, and Utopia. Bernard Suits died in 2007.
Christopher C. Yorke is Philosophy Instructor at Langara College and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada. He has written his doctoral dissertation and several academic journal articles on the subject of Bernard Suits’ utopia of gameplay.
Francisco Javier López Frías is Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Penn State University, USA, and a Senior Research Associate in the Rock Ethics Institute, with a courtesy appointment in the Philosophy Department.
'Return of the Grasshopper is a long-awaited and much anticipated addition to our literature. It bears testimony to Suits’ remarkably fertile mind and his twin philosophic gifts for making bold assertions and raising puzzling questions. In this rich collection, Suits does both in a most provocative way.'
Scott Kretchmar, Professor Emeritus, Penn State University, USA
'This is the book that followers of the Grasshopper need! Return of the Grasshopper expands on Suits’ thoughts on utopia, death, and the good life in fascinating and tantalizing ways. Additionally, López Frías and Yorke’s introduction offers a clear and engaging background to Suits’ life and works.'
Christopher Bartel, Professor of Philosophy, Appalachian State University, USA
'A must-read for Suits scholars and anyone who was captivated by his whimsical presentation of ideas about games, language, and utopia in The Grasshopper. Suits’ sequel shows, once again, that analytic philosophy can address important questions--and be a lot of fun.'
J.S. Russell, Faculty Emeritum, Langara College, Canada and former editor of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport
'No philosopher combines whimsy and profundity as successfully as Suits. This volume is a true gift.'
Gwen Bradford, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Rice University, USA