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[Xmca-l] Re: (no subject)

Hello, Caitlin,
I'm jumping in quick before the thread vanishes. The last time I wanted to say something, it slipped away beyond reach in two days. I'm into Philosophy too. Play, Games, Education, General Systems Theory, Learning Environment, Vygotsky and I'm definitely into Vygotsky through Mike Cole, this list, and Yrjo Engestrom. So, back to play and "Play" and academics. Well, you know, "The Play's the thing...!" via Hamlet, so it is no accident a play on the stage, a simulation, an enactment, a game board, a stage, a "theatre", a scaffold are all about "representation"then to imitation and then parody. I can do an academic paper on the topic of parody using a fox and a cockrel, which would connect to literature, philosphy, history, and cognitive framing. There are big in literature, philosophy, archetypes, levels of consciousness that comparatists work with. So a few lines of keywords and concepts, and how much time do I have to unpack any of it?

Well, have you ever heard of "Golf in the Kingdom" a novel by Michael Murphy? It is plainly an "homage" at the conceptual level, to Plato's Symposium, in a discussion of golf (as an example) and. ...then to mind. All you ever have to do is remember that an academic Symposium plainly has drinking and Plato's Symposium standing solidly behind it. Socrates and his friends were celebrating the reception of Agathon's play and agreed to a discussion of Eros. We ultimately go through Diotima's abstract ladder. If we take two steps forward to our own time, one to science/fantasy fiction and the other to gender, we get to a place where we have to take on paradox and absurdity, parable and allegory -- and then weaving fantastic theories for academic articles to be published in refereed journals.

I'm sorry that I have not said nearly enough. My lack of linear development greatly impedes my academic career. That said, we could go back to the Medieval philosophers discussing dialectics, a typical exam question for a quodlibet: "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin." An angelic intelligence has to dance, on the head of a pin, or anywhere else, to avoid being excommunicated or burned at the stake. Then there is Shakespeare's Macbeth saying, "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player (!) That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then is heard no more. It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signfiying nothing." General Systems Theory in cooperation with "set theory" (the name is not the thing named) trains one to leap from the general to the specific, one concept to another, one level of analysis to another. The ground and framing provided by one's own discipline set the stage or create the field, but with the skillful and occasional use of "abduction" new information, new models, new avenues appear to refresh the terrain. Please forgive me for "just talking in metaphors" without drawing any of the essential lines and links to hook into your work.

(2013/10/12 6:59), CAITLIN WUBBENA wrote:
Thanks everyone for the positive feedback and great ideas! It's been really
helpful for me and I think I've been more able to mentally conceptualize
where I'm going. If this remains interesting, please continue to provide
feedback and ideas!

Greg-- Play as informal conversation is great verbiage...that gives me some
direction. Let's say informal, intellectually adventurous conversation. So,
I think you've hit the nail on the head...but I want to be careful to not
describe play as in opposition to seriousness. In fact, using Plato's
conceptualizations of play, I want to argue that the inability to play (due
to lack of practice in childhood, I suppose) is precisely what hinders
those strange and serious characters from engaging fully/creatively in
academia. For example, I think of the overzealous grad student who
bulldozes his colleagues during a debate or the uninspired post doc who is
too hard on herself when a project isn't going completely according to
plan. These people are successful insofar as they've arrived at a certain
selective/impressive place (definite snaps to that)...still, I would argue
that they would benefit from being intellectually playful/adventurous so
they can produce serious and creative work that is responsive to their
given context (empathy learned from play in childhood). So, a playful
attitude, I will submit, results in serious (and higher quality!) academic

How does that sound? I suppose I don't think play is in opposition to


On Fri, Oct 11, 2013 at 2:08 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>wrote:


I find it fascinating that you are interested in studying play in the stage
of ADULTHOOD. And more fascinating that you would look in the peculiar
adulthood stage that is filled with those strange and serious characters
called "academics".

Did I get that right? Something about putting play (informal conversation?)
back into academia?

If so, I say "YES"! but am not sure quite how to help...

Or maybe, first, I should ask: what is "play" in adulthood?

Defining by opposition, what does it oppose?
Something else?

What do you think?


On Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM, CAITLIN WUBBENA <cwubbena@gse.upenn.edu
Thanks for your responses. A little more about the project: it's
rooted in a strong experiential piece (I've noticed that kids who grew up
in hyper-structured environments seem to lack empathy, appropriate debate
skills, etc once they get to college. Also, more kids seem to grow up in
these hyper-structured environments...at least in the middle class
[Lareau]. Further, this is often discussed in informal settings like TED
talks [Ken Robinson, free range children]) coupled with a theoretical,
academic piece.

My background is in philosophy--so I'm most immediately drawn to the
theorists I mentioned in my initial post. My idea with this project is to
trace the history of conceptualizations of play in academia to illustrate
the context of this more colloquial conversation that happens on TED
and the like. I will also include "examples" to ground the theoretical
aspect...illustrations of play in Novalis' Novices of Sais and an essay
play/identity formation by CD Wright, for example. Ultimately, the goal
will be to bring the informal conversation (back) into academia.

Long story short, I'm not quite sure where this will go yet. But I
that the nature of the project might allow some room to incorporate a few
conceptualizations of play, as long as they lead to this central idea of
play as necessarily leading to productivity.

As a disclaimer, I haven't had a chance to read Vygotsky yet...in fact, I
just received the email that it has arrived in the library.

On Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 5:42 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
Maybe you could say a little more about what you mean by "play"?
I suspect that you may be talking about an ontogenetically different
from what is at the heart of Vygotsky's work (that's not to say that
two are unrelated, simply that some elaboration is needed...).

On Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM, CAITLIN WUBBENA <
Hi! I am a graduate student at Penn working on my Master's paper in
foundations/philosophy of education. I am taking a course with Andrew
Babson and he recommended I post here for some feedback/advice.

Loosely, my topic is centered on Plato's notion of play/seriousness.
to explore why intellectual play is vital for success in higher ed
envision this particular project (it's a relatively short lit review)
analysis of the historical context that has allowed this conversation
happen in academia. At this point, I plan to cite Plato, Kierkegaard
(Socratic irony), and Dewey. I've also been introduced to Vygotsky
Kendall Walton. The main challenge is bridging the conversation to

Any advice on where to go, books/articles to look into, etc would be
greatly appreciated!


Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Status: O