an in-between move

Cool kids read The Bellman.


Don't read this blog!

I mean, thanks for dropping by my little corner of the blogospheric backwaters, but the blog you should be reading is The Bellman. The stuff I post there is much, much less likely to be imbued with dormitive powers.


[German, from zwischen, intermediate + zug, move

Literally an "in-between move". A move in a tactical sequence is called a zwischenzug* when it does not relate directly to the tactical motif in operation. |source|

image copyright TWIC

From this position, black played a zwischenzug: 19…d5
(Linares 2002, 1-0)


about your blogger

David Rowland studies philosophy at the University of Illinois - Urbana / Champaign, where he's an active member of the Graduate Employees Organization. He used to play a lot of chess, but wasn't all that good. He has a blog. And email.



Dumb joke blogging, almost topical edition
Ivan and Abdul
Skepticus clarifies the question
Statement by the President
Nice to have backup
4 days...
A quick Korsgaard post
Progress, scholarship
A tentative answer


error log

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$zwichenzug$ sell-out zone





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strip mining for whimsy
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Six views about reasons
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And another thing
Tiffany's argument for strong internalism
Internalism v. Externalism
What do internalists believe anyway?
Rationalism and internalism
The experimental method in philosophy
Advertising to children
On moral skepticism
A linguistic argument
More on Williams
Williams on reasons
General and particular
Normativity and morality
Political intuitions
What it is, what it was, and what it shall be
Objectivity and morality
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Moore on torture
On the phenomenology of deliberation
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more Deliberation Day
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He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, cont.
He made a porch for the throne where he might judge
Every shepherd is an abomination
Droppin' H-bombs
ad hominem

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Parsing Skepticus

In partial answer to his own question, Scepticus drew a distinction between 'game playing' and 'playing in general.' According to this distinction, an activity counts as play just so long as it is a sort of leisure rather than a sort of work. The difference between merely playing and playing a game, apparently, has to do with whether or not the leisure activity is rule governed in the appropriate way.

Let me briefly mention an obvious objection to this way of carving things up. The Grasshopper's dream collapsed every human activity, and especially activities generally considered to be work, into instances of playing games. If we're going to accept the possibility of this hypothesis, then it seems very odd to understand playing games as being the subset of a type of activity that is opposed to work.

The answer to this dilemma, of course, is that the Grasshopper means to be a radical skeptic about the possibility of there being any activities that fit into the category of work. That category, it seems, would be filled out by activities which are valued instrumentally, whereas play consists of activities that are valued for their own sake. So one part of the Grasshopper's thesis is that every activity that is valued is valued for its own sake. Another part of the thesis is that those cases in which we commonly make the mistake of thinking that an activity is instrumentally valuable are cases of game playing, which is to say that they are cases of rule governed activities which are valued for their own sake.

Lurking slightly below the surface of this is the thought that the perception of instrumental value is a byproduct of game playing. To see something as instrumentally valuable, the thought goes, is to see it as contributing to the accomplishment of some goal. But for an activity to have a goal requires that the activity be, in at least some minimal sense, rule-governed. And then it is a game.

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