Thesis

I’ve been writing my bachelor’s thesis since spring and it is nearly complete. It should, since I have to present it next month. I started with the vague idea that I want to write something related to gaming and I’ve more or less accomplished that. The topic is ‘Play in the philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer’.

I look at what Gadamer says about aesthetics, since it relates to his theory of play. The German word for play is spiel, and it means both to play (act), and play (a game) - and also child’s play. One of his points is that experiencing art is a similar phenomenon to playing a game, and I find myself in agreement. There seems to be a bigger conceptual gap in Finnish, where playing a game and the act of playing in theatre are not semantically related. That makes what Gadamer says interesting and intriguing.

What about role-play then? I find there are similarities in the way Gadamer writes about playing and what role-playing theorists have written. Especially what (and how) Pohjola writes reminds me of Gadamer. There has been a lot of talk of immersion, even to the point that Holter suggests that the term is not useful any more. I disagree, although I also disagree with Pohjola about most of what he has written. I think Gadamer has something to give to the study of role-play and I hope I can elaborate what that something is within a month. Since study of role-play is quite an young field it could be useful to diversify the foundation of academic field it draws its influences - especially when those influences seem visible everywhere expect lists of reference.