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The Grasshopper - Third Edition


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Table of Contents

  • Introduction by Thomas Hurka
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • The Players
  • One: Death of the Grasshopper
  • Two: Disciples
  • Three: Construction of a Definition
  • Four: Triflers, Cheats, and Spoilsports
  • Five: Taking the Long Way Home
  • Six: Ivan and Abdul
  • Seven: Games and Paradox
  • Eight: Mountain Climbing
  • Nine: Reverse English
  • Ten: The Remarkable Career of Porphyryo Sneak
  • Eleven: The Case History of Bartholomew Drag
  • Twelve: Open Games
  • Thirteen: Amateurs, Professionals, and Games People Play
  • Fourteen: Resurrection
  • Fifteen: Resolution
  • Appendix 1: The Fool on the Hill
  • Appendix 2: Wittgenstein in the Meadow
  • Appendix 3: Words on Play

About the Author

The late Bernard Suits was Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo.

Thomas Hurka is a Canadian philosopher who serves as the Jackman Distinguished Chair in Philosophical Studies at the University of Toronto.


Like Erasmus's Praise of Folly and Diderot's Rameau's Nephew, Suits's The Grasshopper sparkles with wit and fun; and outranks those wonderful works in clear, firm philosophical conclusions. Defying certain discouragements, Suits constructs an illuminating definition of games, which he defends in lively dialogues, amusing parables, and cascades of subtle analytical distinctions. That is achievement enough to make a new classic in the history of philosophy. Suits offers more: an application of his definition in a discussion of how much we may have to rely on games-deliberately using relatively inefficient means to reach freely stipulated goals-if life is to continue to have meaning. We may be able to regain thereby the meaning lost as advances in technology enable us to escape one by one the tasks that necessity used to impose on humankind." - David Braybrooke, Dalhousie University / The University of Texas at Austin

"The Grasshopper is an amazing book. Philosophically profound, yet genuinely funny. While primarily an articulation and defense of a highly plausible definition of games (and we all know what Wittgenstein said about that), it also manages to raise some of the deepest and most challenging questions about the meaning of life. All in the form of dialogues between an insect and his disciples! There is simply nothing else like it." - Shelly Kagan, Yale University

"Philosophers are not generally known for fine writing, but once in a generation or two a book appears out of nowhere, unclassifiable, inspired, amazing, mesmerizing, wonderful, classic..." - Philosophy and Literature

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