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Child's Play: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

When Oct 24, 2002
from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
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Independent Scholar and Courtesy Professor, 
Department of Philosophy, University of Oregon

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone is an independent and interdisciplinary scholar affiliated with the Department of Philosophy, University of Oregon. Her most recent publications include studies of kinesthetic memory, an evolutionary semantics, death and human morality, bonobos, and paleolithic cave art. She is currently working on her third--and final--"roots" book, THE ROOTS OF MORALITY.

Child's Play: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Where competition drowns out the bodily play originating in infancy and typical of young children, it undermines its own foundations, foundations that are phylogenic as well as ontogentic. In doing so, it transforms its otherwise low-profile place in early life and gives rise to an altogether other social activity whose ethos is driven by a premature aggression and whose asocial end is one-dimensionally self-serving. Competition in such instances is not a matter of play become serious, but a matter of no play at all.

Substantiation of this complex claim is through ethological research on both rough and tumble play and locomotor-rotational play in young humans and non human animals; through psycho-ethological studies of laughter and its phylogenetic correlates as kinetic markers of play in young human and nonhuman animals; and through specification of the beginning moral precepts and moral significances that come to light when child's play is duly examine and its integrity preserved.

October 24, 2002