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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 37, Issue 1, March 2014

Ryan Pollock
Pages 57-72

Evaluating the State of Nature through Gameplay

In this paper I present an in-class game designed to simulate the state of nature. I first explain the mechanics of the game, and how to administer it in the classroom. Then I address how the game can help introduce students to a number of important topics in political philosophy. In broad terms, the game serves to generate discussion regarding two main questions. (1) How does civil society come about? (2) Is the state of nature and the arrangement which arises from it fair? In so doing I suggest how the game can further student understanding of figures such as Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Marx, and Rawls.

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