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ERIC Number: EJ1002796
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
On the Value of Make-Believe
Silcox, Mark
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v46 n4 p20-31 Win 2012
The practice of make-believe has traditionally been viewed as valuable by psychologists and philosophers more or less exclusively as a mechanism for social initiation, a tool for everyday problem solving, or a method for children to learn about adult responsibilities. This instrumentalist approach has influenced the development of a wide variety of approaches to the pedagogical use of make-believe, from classroom experiments in play therapy to the influential "New Games" movement. This article examines the alternative hypothesis that games of make-believe should be conceived of as ends in themselves. It is suggested that a general explanation of the inherent value of imaginative play would provide support for Kendall Walton's claim that to describe any artwork as representational is just to treat it as a prop in some game of make-believe. Also discussed are attempts made by Ron Edwards and Bernard Suits to provide general accounts of the value of make-believe. Their work hints at the existence of some surprising connections between this issue and certain broader and more fundamental philosophical concerns about the human good. (Contains 25 notes.)
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A