Philosophy Sports – Competitive Persuasion Games to revive Public Reason

Philosophy Sports began as a series of games of competitive persuasion staged in the Greater Vancouver area in late 2017. Since then, the concept  has undergone considerable development in local school and college classrooms. What began as a concept became a boardgame on its way to becoming an app, available on a phone near you.

Competitive games of persuasion provide intensive interactive philosophy experiences that feature social reasoning (collaborative argument construction), confrontation of divergent perspectives, live dialogue, plus real-time phone voting and measured persuasive effects. Participants evaluate supporting claims and overall conclusions by revisable live e-voting, which allows for measurement of effective persuasion. Designed for the post-truth era, these philosophy games aim to revivify public reason and deepen civil discourse in the spirit of fun and fair competition. They represent a radical new way to play philosophy and enact democracy.

These games improve arguments through play, and develop players through friendly competition governed by the sporting values of betterment, fun, inclusiveness, respect, and fair play. Contrary to the adversarial model of debate, in which only those who lose learn, in these truth games one wins only by changing one’s mind. Only reasonableness is rewarded, undercutting the idiosyncrasy of standard modes of public participatory philosophy.

The boardgame is Tug of Logic. It has been played by high school students from across Canada. Find out more here.

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