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Document Details :

Title: The Vital Importance of Play for Humanity
Subtitle: Nietzsche's Fourfold Philosophy of Play in The Birth of Tragedy
Author(s): PRANGE, Martine
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 85    Issue: 1   Date: 2023   
Pages: 33-59
DOI: 10.2143/TVF.85.1.3292008

Abstract :
This article examines the value of 'play' ('Spiel') for human existence, as addressed by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) in his book The Birth of Tragedy. Whilst 'play' has a wide range of meanings in Nietzsche’s philosophy, of which the ontological or cosmological sense of 'world play' is the one most discussed in the Nietzsche studies, I focus on a lesser contemplated topic, i.e., Nietzsche’s view of the value that play — which I define here broadly as a life-giving and joyful inner or outer activity carried out for its own sake — has for human life. I argue, first, that play is of vital importance because it has the ability to transform human life from a life experienced as worthless to a life deemed worthwhile, and, second, that this transformative capacity binds the four senses in which play comes to the fore in The Birth of Tragedy as: 1. 'aesthetic play'; 2. the 'play with figures' artists play whilst dreaming; 3. 'theatre play'; 4. human suffering as 'comical play for the Gods', which Nietzsche also presents as 'aesthetic theodicy'.

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